Saturday, March 03, 2007

MORE PICS – 10,000 Train Passengers STRANDED; Extended CRANE Fell Across TRACKS EARLY Morning at KTMB Commuter Station Section 19 SHAH ALAM

ABOVE: The crane that lost its balance and fell across the tracks, cutting off the electric supplies and it took more than 7 hours around 10.00 am to restore back the services

March 02, 2007 14:30 PM

Crane Falls On Rail Tracks, 10,000 Passengers Stranded

COLLASPED… A crane fell and landed across the railway tracks at the Shah Alam KTMB commuter station at Section 19. The incident resulted in 10,000 passengers stranded in the morning when rushing to work.

ABOVE: Three Cranes were used to rescue the fallen crane BELOW

SHAH ALAM, March 2 (Bernama) -- About 10,000 passengers in the morning rush to work were stranded and 40 commuter trips were disrupted when a crane fell and landed across the railway tracks at the Shah Alam Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) commuter station at Section 19 here early Friday.

KTMB Corporate Communication Manager Shahriza Embi (ABOVE)said the crane fell while being used for roof installation work at the platform at the station about 2.50am. However, she said work to remove the crane from across the tracks was immediately carried out as well as to repair the cables to restore the commuter service.

ABOVE: After centering and affixing the cables on the fallen one; one, two & a three, the fallen one (BELOW) was tilted back in position after a few attempts

She said three cranes were used to lift the crane from the tracks adding that KTMB contractors took about seven hours to facilitate the work and checks on its safety.
Shahriza said KTMB provided buses to transport passengers from the Padang Jawa station to the Batu Tiga station for those going to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa for those going to Port Klang this morning. She said the commuter service was restored at 10.30am today.

ABOVE & BELOW: Closed-Ups of the tilted crane

MORE PICS – BUS SLAMMED INTO TRAILER Km89.7 N-S Expressway; 2 Killed (impaled by Steel Rods) & 4 Seriously Injured; BUS 1 of 5 on Way to Langkawi

ABOVE: Right on target, when following too close, driver said after the accident; "There is nothing I can do" BELOW: Another top view; the construction steel rods impaled and pierced through the two killed sitting in the front right
GURUN, Fri.: Bus passenger Mohd Kamal Idris's decision to move to the front of the vehicle to chat with the driver proved to be fatal. The 51-year-old Kampung Kuala Sentul headman and Umno branch chairman from Maran, Pahang, was killed instantly when the bus slammed into the back of a trailer carrying a huge cache of steel rods early today. Mohd Kamil, who was seated on the steps near the driver, was pierced by the rods which crashed through the bus windscreen.

ABOVE: The broken windscreen of the bus becomes the "door" into the bus through which the dead (BELOW) wear taken out

Also killed was Maran Umno division vice chairman Datuk Saiful Bahri Mokhtar, 45, who was seated at the front seat on the left. He was also pierced by the rods. Saiful is the nephew of Pahang deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Tan Amiruddin Ishak. The victims had to be extricated from the wreckage. A huge crane was later used to pull both vehicles apart. At least two other passengers were seriously injured while 15 others were given outpatient treatment. The accident occurred at about 4.40am along Km89.7 of the North-South Expressway where the bus carrying 39 passengers was on its way to Kuala Perlis. It was part of a convoy of five chartered buses from Maran carrying 200 officials and members of the Maran Umno division to Langkawi for a three-day course over the weekend organised by Malaysian Islamiah Dakwah Foundation.

ABOVE: The inside wreckage mess and BELOW: Another injured being carried away

Also trapped in the wreckage were division office clerk Mohd Azhar Abdul Jabbar, 32, and executive secretary Nor Asmidatul Aida Nordin, 28, who were seated beside and behind Saiful respectively. Norasmidatul Aida was the first to be pulled out from the wreckage at 6.50am while Mohd Kamal's mangled body was pulled out at 8.45am. The victims' remains were flown back to Kuantan aboard an Air Force aircraft. Nor Asmidatul Aida and Mohd Azhar were warded at the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sungai Petani together with division secretary Nor Azhar Latif, 45, and Nor Azman Ismail, 40.

When met at the scene, bus driver Mahadi Akin, 44, who escaped unhurt, said Mohd Kamal was seated at the back of the bus but moved to the front after they passed through the Juru toll plaza. "He said he was bored and came to sit on the floor next to me and we started chatting." The driver said they were travelling on the left lane behind the trailer which suddenly applied the emergency brakes. "I tried to swerve to the right lane but there were a car and a bus. There was nothing I could do," he said. Mahadi who has been driving for 15 years, was later detained by police for investigation.

ABOVE: The UMNO Chief who was killed was taken by RMAF hercules C130 and taken back to Kuantan and then to hometown and after the prayers was buried (BELOW) at about 9 pm the same night

Passenger Mahadi Daud, 44, said Mohd Kamal could not sleep. "We were seated right at the back of the bus. We were chatting but I fell asleep later,” Mahadi said. "I didn’t know that he went to the front. After the collision, I assumed he had gotten out until we did a head count and somebody told me what happened. If only he had stayed put, he would've been alive today. When met at the hospital, Mohd Azhar, who broke both his legs, said he managed to offer some comfort to Saiful while they were waiting to be rescued. "He was impaled by steel rods and was bleeding. He couldn't speak but I reminded him gently to recite the Kalimah Syahadah. "I was also in pain and I didn't realise that he was dead until somebody told me.”
= = =
March 02, 2007 16:59 PM
Two Umno Maran Leaders Killed In Road Crash
SUNGAI PETANI, March 2 (Bernama) -- Maran Umno vice chief Datuk Saiful Bahari Mokhtar and Sentul village head Mohd Kamal Idris were killed and 18 others injured, including four seriously, in a crash involving a bus and a trailer at Kilometre 89.7 of the North-South Highway (north bound) early Friday. They were in a convoy of five buses, carrying more than 200 Umno leaders from the Maran division, to Langkawi to attend a four-day course which was supposed to begin today.

Kedah Traffic Chief Supt Mah Khye Beng said the accident happened at 4.40am when one of the five buses crashed into the trailer which was laden with iron pilings????. He said Saiful Bahari and Mohd Kamal, both???? 50 years old, died at the scene. The seriously injured were Maran Umno secretary Nor Azhar Latif, 45; the division's Wanita executive secretary Nor Asnidatul Aida Nordin, 31; Nor Azhar Abdul Jabar, 32, and Nor Azman Ismail, 40. The driver of the affected bus, in his 30s and who was not injured in the crash, had been detained for investigation, he added.

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim were among those who visited the victims at the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital here today. The bodies of Saiful Bahari and Mohd Kamal are expected to be flown back to Maran by a Nuri helicopter from the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Butterworth at 2.30pm today. Meanwhile, Maran Umno Puteri Chief Datuk Shahaniza Shamsuddin said she was supposed to be on the ill-fated bus, but had hopped onto another bus when the convoy stopped at the rest area at Tapah, Perak about 1.15am. Grateful that she escaped the ordeal, Shahaniza was however saddened by the tragedy that befell Saiful Bahari and Mohd Kamal.

Following the incident, Sahaniza said the course in Langkawi had been cancelled. A passenger in the bus which crashed, Norehan Abdul Raof, 42, a staff at the Maran Umno's office, said she was jolted from her sleep when the bus over-turned after crashing into the trailer. With injuries on her face and leg, Norehan managed to get to Saiful Bahari, who was seated infront, and got him to recite some prayers before he succumbed to his injuries. The convoy left Maran about 8pm yesterday and was scheduled to be in Kuala Perlis at 10am today for the welcoming ceremony to be attended by Shahidan, which the programme, according to Shahidan's Press Secretary, Syed Omar Syed Mohamad, had been cancelled. The dead victims and the injured had been taken to the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Malaysia's Economy 2006 Expands 5.9%;; US Slow Growth Curbs Export;. RUBBER & OIL PALM Boast Agriculture Sector; 2007 Economic growth 5.5 % Projected

This call by Opposition leader to “cushion off” the loss is a bad call on good governance on the government and should not be entertain at all. To cushion off means to compensate the investors for the loss by the taxpayers is just unthinkable. This is NOT a natural disaster like the recent floods where the government compensated those badly affected. Those who heeded the PM call went in with their eyes widely open (of course abetted by their remisers) just like the proverbial lemmings going for their migrations to be drowned (in this case “burnt”).

What is most unusual is for the government news agency Bernama to given prominence to this opposition call (and this is not found in Bernama Website, still embargo perhaps). Are there a lot of government staffs or big shots properly burned that need crutches? The scars developed will take years to heal.
Another great contradiction is the assumption that the majority of “small investors” are affected. The DAP Sec General had a press statement that “
such goods news may be an inspiration to the rich and those with cash to invest but not to the many small businessmen and workers”. See H E R E.

So who got severely burnt, the affordable and the rich UMNO Greedyputras? Thy need your money to cushion their losses?

= = = = == = = == =

Opposition Wants Govt To Cushion Losses; Business; March 01, 2007 15:15 PM

(you still cannot find this news item in the Bernama's Business website) and what is the ulterior motive?

IPOH, March 1 (Bernama) -- The government should cushion the losses suffered by small-time investors arising from the RM70 billion losses in the stock exchange over the past two days, Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said today. Lim said the unusual Cabinet meeting tomorrow should cushion the losses suffered by retail investors who acted on the Chinese New Year advice of the Prime Minister to enter the stock market to ride on the momentum to exceed 1,350 points for the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI).

"Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had a special Chinese New Year message for Malaysians to enter the stock market to ride on the momentum of the good economic times," he said at the Pasir Pinji DAP branch Chinese New Year gathering last night. Text of his speech was released by the Perak DAP today. According to Lim, who is also the MP for Ipoh Timur, Abdullah said the KLCI, which was at the time at a high of more than 1,258 points, could surpass the 1,350-point level following positive indicators of the country's economic growth, namely the trillion ringgit total trade last year, increasing foreign and domestic investments, and rising ringgit.

"Although there had been widespread scepticism about the slew of good economic news, the small investors cast aside their doubts when the Prime Minister openly urged Malaysians to enter the stock market," he said. "The small investors cast aside their doubts, reservations and scepticism and entered the stock market in a big way after the Chinese New Year holidays, lifting the KLCI to close at 1,283 points last Friday," he added. Lim said the KLCI then suffered its biggest drop in five years, plunging by 35.79 points to 1,237.08 on Tuesday and another 40.63 points to 1,196 points at the close of market yesterday. "The bulk of the RMRM69.45 billion losses in the past two days had been borne by the small investors," he said.
= = = == = ==

March 01, 2007 15:10 PM
Bursa Malaysia: Market Fall A 'Healthy Correction'
By Jackson Sawatan

SINGAPORE, March 1 (Bernama) -- Bursa Malaysia's chief executive officer Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff said Thursday Malaysia's economic fundamentals are intact, notwithstanding the condition of the stock market over the past few days. He described the sharp fall in Bursa Malaysia yesterday and the previous day as "quite a healthy correction" from the market. "We believe the fundamentals are intact. The results season is in full swing now and what we have read in the papers is certainly very pleasing with many companies increasing their earnings from last year," he told reporters here.

Yusli was here to give an update on the upcoming Invest Malaysia 2007, Malaysia's premier investment conference for institutional investors. "We remain very confident about the prospects of our market going forward," he added. The benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) dropped 40.63 points, or 3.3 per ent, at 1,196.45 yesterday (28 Feb 07), extending the previous day's 2.8 per cent fall. It was the biggest one-day decline since Sept 21, 2001. Share prices on Bursa Malaysia were traded higher today, opening at 1,204.67 points and ending the morning session at 1,194.65.

"One of the core areas we are focusing on at Bursa Malaysia is to make sure that the velocity and liquidity improve as we go forward," Yusli said.Meanwhile, director and research head of RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd, Lim Chee Sing, said the correction in the market over the last two days, which continued this morning, was not something unexpected. "We feel that correction is long overdue. But after this we will see the fundamantals coming back to drive the market to a higher level," he said. On the Invest Malaysia 2007 conference scheduled from March 21 to 23 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Yusli said it would serve as a platform to showcase Corporate Malaysia as well as for the government to make announcements.

"This year we hope there will be similarly significant announcements (as in the two previous conferences). We are looking forward to something significant which will help the market to develop further," he said. "At Bursa Malaysia, our major objective is to make sure that we have a developed market in the near future and for us to be able to get there, we need to get certain things in place in terms of policy," he added. Yusli said for the first time, the conference would be held on the back of strong foreign interest in the market which had seen near record volume over the last few months.

= = = = =March 01, 2007 12:06 PM

Don't Waste Time Speculating On General Election - PM
From Ahmad Kamil Tahir
SANA'A, March 1 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi reminded all quarters especially Malaysian political parties not to be over-zealous in speculating the date of the next general election, and neglect their responsibility to the people. "Don't speculate and waste time over it," said the Prime Minister at a news conference for the Malaysian and Yemeni media Wednesday. Abdullah also hinted that the election may be held in the near term.

"What is important is to achieve what has been planned under the Ninth Malaysia Plan," he said when asked for preparations taken by leaders of political parties, including within the Barisan Nasional, to mobilise their election machinery. In anticipation of the general election, some quarters have made the necessary preparations, including training their members to be mentally equipped. Earlier, some economic experts and academicians have predicted, now was the best time to hold the general election given that the Malaysian economy was currently in a strong position, with the people growing more confident towards the government.

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's Economy Expands at Slowest Pace in a Year

Updated : 28-02-2007 Media : Bloomberg; Story By : Stephanie Phang
Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia's economy grew at the slowest pace in a year in the fourth quarter as exports eased amid weaker demand for electronics from markets such as the U.S. The $147 billion economy expanded 5.7 percent from a year earlier after gaining 5.8 percent in the third quarter, the statistics department said in a faxed statement in Kuala Lumpur today. Economists expected growth of 5.6 percent. ``Growth moderated in the fourth quarter largely on the back of softer export demand,'' said Leslie Tang, an economist at UOB Kay Hian Pte in Singapore. ``It is the same symptom that exporting economies like Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore are experiencing. We are hopeful that it will be short-lived with a revival coming as soon as the second quarter of 2007.''

Slowing growth in the U.S., Malaysia's largest overseas market, is curbing demand for goods such as Intel Corp. semiconductors and Dell Inc. notebook computers that are produced in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy. The pace of expansion in the U.S. may ease to 2.7 percent this year from 3.4 percent in 2006, the White House said Feb. 5.

Cooling global growth is also hurting other Asian electronics exporters. South Korea's government expects growth to ease to 4.5 percent this year from 5 percent in 2006 due to a global slowdown. Exports, which account for about two-fifths of South Korea's economy, may rise at the slowest rate in five years in 2007, the commerce ministry said last month.

Overseas Sales
Malaysia has reported smaller gains in overseas sales and manufacturing production as faltering U.S. demand damps demand for Asian goods. In December, export growth slowed to 6.2 percent from November's 18 percent increase. Manufacturing output rose 8.8 percent in December from a year earlier, slowing from a 10.5 percent gain in November. Full-year growth was 5.9 percent, beating a Sept. 1 government forecast of 5.8 percent and accelerating from 5.2 percent in 2005, the statistics department said today. Malaysia may experience ``slightly lower growth in 2007 at 5.5 percent, characterized by slowing external demand and manufacturing but supported by government spending,'' said Saifuddin Morat, an economist at Aseambankers Malaysia Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur.

Rising investment, together with government spending, may help bolster economic growth amid slowing overseas demand for made-in-Malaysia electronics this year. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has planned $57 billion in government spending under a five-year public development plan announced last year, which may boost construction and investment activity.

Government Projects
``For growth to be higher remains to be seen as it all depends on implementation on key government projects in the Ninth Malaysia Plan, as well as further signs of improvement in the private consumption and investment spending,'' said Wan Suhaimi Saidi, an economist at Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. ``The jury is still out there.'' Economic growth may slow to 5.5 percent this year, lower than the government's 6 percent forecast, according to the median estimate of 21 economists.

Malaysia's central bank this week kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent for a seventh straight meeting amid easing inflation. The central bank may cut rates in the second half of this year to ``give the economy whatever help it can get,'' Joseph Tan, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank Plc in Singapore, said on Feb. 26. Malaysia's benchmark composite index posted its biggest loss in more than five years today, following a global stock market rout triggered by a plunge in Chinese shares yesterday. The ringgit fell on speculation demand for emerging-market assets will wane.

`Bad News'

``If you're looking at it from a market perspective, I think people don't mind a slower GDP figure provided this is the last quarter of it,'' said Wong Shou Ning, who helps manage $136 million in investments at Kenanga Investment Management Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur. ``But now with the market slowdown, I don't know whether bad news will be made to look even worse.'' Manufacturing, which accounts for more than 30 percent of Malaysia's economy, expanded 4.3 percent in the three months to December, slowing from the third quarter. Manufacturing expanded 7 last year, compared with 5.1

percent in 2005. The moderation in the final quarter ``was attributed to a decline in demand for electrical and electronic products,'' the statistics department said. Exports of goods and services increased 4.1 percent, after rising 10.5 percent in the third quarter. Exports amount to more than 100 percent of gross domestic product in Malaysia, where electrical and electronics goods account for about half of overseas sales.

Manufacturing Investment

Malaysian investment grew 9.8 percent in the three months to December, after gaining 3.5 percent in the previous quarter. Investment grew 7.9 percent last year.

Approved manufacturing investment rose to a record 46 billion ringgit ($13.2 billion) last year, as higher energy prices spurred investment in petrochemical and biofuel projects and electronics makers such as Motorola Inc. planned expansions, the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority said Feb. 13.

Services grew 7 percent in the fourth quarter, according to today's report. The industry grew 6.5 last year. The agriculture industry rose 6.5 percent, helped by ``robust'' palm oil and rubber production, for a full year growth of 6.4 percent, the department said. Mining expanded 1.9 percent, after declining the previous four quarters, and fell 0.2 last year.

The construction industry gained 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Construction fell 0.5 last year.

= = = = =another round of Impressive figures NOT cooked up

February 28, 2007 19:41 PM

Economy Expands By 5.9 Pct In 2006, Grows By 5.7 Pct In Q4

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's economy last year grew at 5.9 percent, beating earlier forecasts as the fourth quarter growth of 5.7 percent rounded up a year of increased activities in all major sectors. The encouraging growth figure which was higher than the government's earlier prediction of 5.8 percent compared with 5.2 percent in 2005 was marked by Malaysia's impressive trade sector which chalked up a value in excess of RM1 trillion. For this year, prospects remain favourable.

Releasing the gross domestic product figures here today, the Statistics Department said on the production side, the fourth quarter growth was boosted mainly by the sturdy growth of services and agriculture sectors. Services, underpinned by higher expansion in finance, insurance, real estate and business services sub-sectors, grew by 7.0 percent in the fourth quarter, agriculture rose by 6.5 percent, manufacturing moderated to 4.3 percent, construction rose 0.6 percent and mining 1.9 percent. Bank Negara Malaysia, in a separate statement, said the Q4 expansion was more broad-based with all sectors of the economy now recording positive growth. The central bank said it was underpinned by stronger consumer sentiment and sustained business confidence, with the private sector the main contributor to growth supported by the external and public sectors.

The department said positive growths which were recorded across all the five main sectors of the economy translated to an eight percent growth in nominal prices. In terms of final expenditure, growth was mainly driven by higher gross fixed capital formation expenditure and private consumption, the department said. Value added in the agriculture sector continued to increase further by 6.5 percent, supported by the robust performance of the oil palm and rubber production, which expanded by 10.3 percent and 7.5 percent respectively. Other activities in the agriculture sector, which includes fishing, forestry, livestock and other agriculture, collectively grew by 3.7 percent against two percent a year ago.

Higher commodity prices of oil palm from a year ago propelled the agriculture sector to attain a growth of 15.3 percent in nominal prices in the fourth quarter of last year, the department said. For the mining sector, it rebounded to a positive growth of 1.9 percent after a period of declining growth in the past four quarters, supported by higher output of crude oil and natural gas. The manufacturing sector moderated to 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006 due to a decline in demand for electrical and electronic products.

Bank Negara said the growth of the electronic and electrical (E&E) and the chemical industries moderated as external demand for laptops, computers and plastics moderated. On the other hand, strong external demand for resource-based products supported the growth of the rubber, wood and petroleum industries, it said. As for construction, it recorded a positive growth of 0.6 percent after 10 quarters

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Malaysia's economy grows 5.9% in 2006, exceeding gov't forecast

Updated : 28-02-2007 ; Media : Kyodo News; Story By : N/A ; via
(Kyodo) _ Malaysia's economy expanded 5.9 percent in 2006, slightly above the earlier projection of 5.8 percent, the Statistics Department said Wednesday. The figure for gross domestic product growth in 2006 was better than the 5.2 percent recorded in 2005, and was mainly boosted by high demand overseas for
Malaysia's palm oil and rubber, as well as electronics and electrical products.

The department did not provide a figure for GDP itself. It said GDP for the October-December period registered growth of 5.7 percent, a slight dip from the July-September quarter growth of 5.8 percent. The economy grew 5.9 percent in the January-March period before surging upward to 6.2 percent in the second quarter.

For the whole of 2006, the robust performance of rubber and oil palm production helped enable the agriculture sector to rise by 6.4 percent compared to 2.5 percent in 2005. The manufacturing sector, which made up a third of the GDP, also went up by 7.0 percent compared with 5.1 percent the previous year. The services sector scored 6.5 percent growth. The construction and mining sectors, however, remained lackluster, posting negative 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent growth, respectively. The government is targeting growth of 6.0 percent in 2007.

= = == == = = = =What others are saying….

Malaysiakini LETTERS: Upbeat economy: Ask yourself this; Alex Ong Feb 28, 07 4:17pm

The relevant economic indicators announcement by Abdullah administration reveals the 'good times' are back for Malaysians. These impressive economic performance indicators are not artificial, but they are deceptive about the well-being of the Malaysian citizens from all walks of life. The current stock boom has caused the 10 richest Malaysians to be 44.74% richer with their combine wealth of RM103.27 billion. These 10 richest Malaysians practically own wealth equivalent to 35% of the Malaysia's foreign reserves (RM299.8 billion). This a very clear indication of the mismanagement of the nation's wealth by the BN regime where only a handful of people are controlling a majority stake of our national economy. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer! Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's comments over the weekend that the KLCI would reach the 1,350 level also significantly boosted retail investors' confidence. How could Abdullah make such a precise prediction?

It must be that government-owned institutional investors are obviously being roped in to boost the 'feel good' factor. Money is being pumped into the main 'Index Counters' (about 17 of them) that are heavyweights on the KLCI. If you push up these heavyweight counters, the whole KLCI will move up. The chain effect is that retail investors are lured into a frenzied buying of penny stocks that also propels Bursa Malaysia's trading volume to its highest ever of 4.7 billion shares, ignoring the fact that many second-liners are indeed on the verge of being made PN17 companies. On another front, in Malaysia, private finance initiative programmes are just the political gimmicks that transfer the wealth of the nation into the hands of few political rent seekers.

At the end of the day, the money has to come from EPF and Malaysian Pensions Fund. It would be better for government to create professionally-managed public enterprises rather than allowed rent seekers to take over the wealth of the nation or grant them licences to exploit the consumers. High toll rates and increased electricity tariffs have been very unfair to Malaysian citizen and taxpayers. The Consumer Price Index computation is also definitely a very deceiving indicator that fails to reflect the reality of life that people are facing. A simple 'economy' rice lunch in Kuala Lumpur (rice with two dishes) plus mineral water is now RM6.20. Just a year ago one could have a good lunch for under RM4.50.

The toll from Gombak to Bentong is now RM8 as compared to RM6.50 a year ago. The price of vegetables and fruits have increased more than 50% while a MAS air ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu is now RM245 compared to RM178 previously, an increase of 37.5%. The CPI is meaningless if the people are consistently under pressure to make ends meet. There are still more than 70% of the urban poor who cannot make ends meet and the majority of them are wage earners and civil servants. Disregarding the deceptive facts and figures, ask yourselves a simple question: How have the current economic conditions benefitted you?

1. Has your personal wealth increased by 47% like the 10 richest Malaysians?
2. Is your salary increment sufficient to cover the current rise in your cost of living?
3. Do you have extra money to spend and more to save in your bank account?
4. Are you the victim of the forced selling of your long-term investment shares in Sime Darby, Golden Hope, Southern Bank, Johor Port and Malakoff?
5. If the economy is so good, why haven't the government and private employers given big bonuses to ease the financial burden of the people who include about one million civil servants and 11 million EPF contributors?
6. If the economy is so good, why have cars sales decreased drastically and high-rise residence property market over-hanged?
7. Do you think the government has lost its sense of social responsibility as privatisation projects only benefit politically-linked personalities?

The honest answers to the above from the people at large will show that the BN government's announcement that 'good times are back' is deceptive and unaccountable for. It is a classic symptom of a coming general election. The national economy has to be supported by fundamental increases in productivity, real values and profitability. The illusion of a 'feel good' feeling created by the Abdullah administration will surely fade away.

= = = == = =

LETTERS: 'Feel good' figures all point towards a general election

Suria Kenchana Feb 28, 07 4:14pm

I refer to the letter Stock market not a yardstick for economic performance and fully agree with the writer on his views. At the same time, I will not question the statistics given by the government here. The reality behind this hotly-debated subject is that the apparently strong macroeconomic aggregates and the rally in the stock market has been driven by the external sector and not by the domestic sector as is normally the case. This fluke of luck happened by default as a substantial amount of FDI and hot money has been deflected from Thailand in view of the recent political developments in that country. Strong performance of the other sectors -particularly in the prices of petroleum, palm oil and tourist arrivals - have further helped to bear the fruit. Aggressive views have also been taken by hedge funds on the exchange rate of the ringgit, up to RM3.20 against the greenback by the end of this year. The massive liquidity in the international money market only helps to fuel the inflow of short-term money into our economy even more. The fact that the total growth of loans and advances last year had been dismal is another telling indicator that the performance of the domestic economy has not been what the statistics suggest. The bottom line is that

the so- called rally in the stock market now is not likely to be sustainable. Alan Greenspan, the former US Federal Reserve chairman, has said that he would not overrule the possibility that the American economy would be moving towards recession by the third quarter of this year. This means that the Malaysia Securities Exchange Berhad (MSEB) index would slide back to about the 950 level by then. So what are the great celebration and jubilation all about? Of course, it is about setting the right tone and tempo for the next general election. The opposition parties seem to speculate that it would be soon. But the question is how soon? The right answer is probably as soon as the non-bumiputeras have sufficiently cooled down after they were insulted and provoked by the Umnoputras during their last annual conference held late last year. How long can Pak Lah wait before calling for the next general election then? Ideally, the target date should be after the celebrations of our nation's 50th anniversary but before the start of the fasting month in October. That a lot of money will be thrown around to celebrate the forthcoming National Day is a forgone conclusion. It would be done in a grand and

colourful way to entertain the tourists while at the same time wooing support from the locals for the impending general election. Meanwhile, whilst the stock market is still strong we should just ride with the tide. Reserve decision-making on your voting rights until the last moment.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

KLCI Fell 8.2% - 28th Feb 2007; NOR YAKCOP: Confident of M’SIA Stock Market; No Change-Economic fundamentals; CORRECTION Due To External Factors

Bursa's Fall: No Cause For Worry Given Investor Confidence - PM

From Ahmad Kamil Tahir

SANA'A, March 1 (Bernama)--Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says there is no need to worry over yesterday's fall on Bursa Malaysia, given the investor confidence in the local bourse.

As long as there was confidence in the Malaysian market, investors would continue to invest, he told a news conference for the Malaysian and Yemeni media here Wednesday. Malaysian and regional stock markets dipped sharply for the second day yesterday following a major sell-off in China on Tuesday which spread across markets worldwide.

As the market dived, Bursa Malaysia and Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop both moved to reassure investors that the sell-off was due to external factors while economic fundamentals in Malaysia had not changed. The benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) dropped 40.63 points, or 3.3 per cent, at 1,196.45, extending the previous day's 2.8 per cent fall. It was its biggest one-day decline since Sept 21, 2001. The negative sentiment also hurt the ringgit, which eased 0.2 per cent to 3.5017 against the U.S. dollar, the lowest since Dec 19, last year.= = == =

: 1st March 07 2.19am

February 28, 2007 22:17 PM
KLCI Recovers From Sharp Losses, Down Only 3.28 Pct

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Bernama) -- The local stock market closed lower for the third day in a knee-jerk reaction to the overnight sharp fall on Wall Street and following the trend in regional markets. However, after a situation described as panic selling in the morning, where the key Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) was down by as much as 101.07 points at one stage, the market showed recovery in the afternoon.

The KLCI cut its losses and close the day 3.28 percent or 40.63 points lower at 1,196.45. Analysts said the country's economic fundamentals are still relatively strong with inflation and interest rates at a relatively low and competitive level to spur growth and further provide support to the share market. "What really happened in the market? The sharp losses were just because investors in local and regional markets overreacted to Wall Street and China. They panicked rather than looked at the situation rationally," said one of the analysts. He said that events in the past two days were the best example of the herd mentality of investors as they followed each other blindly to pull down the market and magnify the negative sentiment.

"Actually, our market fundamentals are still intact," he added. Taking a positive angle of the market, the analyst said the downturn so far this week had enabled the market to correct itself from an overbought situation built over the past few months. Another analyst agreed, saying that technically the sharp pullback had enabled the market to cool off the extremely overbought situation across the board. "The market's supply and demand factors have now almost reached equilibrium and moving forward, we expect that mild technical rebound will appear following the sharp pullback but trading is expected to be choppy," he said. According to the analysts, the current support level for the key index will be at 1,150 with resistance at 1,210.

Meanwhile, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said there was no need for the country to impose any capital control measures in light of developments in the stock market. Nor Mohamed said the country was not worried about the losses in the local bourse as Malaysia's economic fundamentals have not changed. "Our market has corrected somewhat but the fundamentals are strong. And I am confident about the Malaysian economy and stock market," he said. In a move to calm down jittery investors, Bursa Malaysia Bhd's chief executive officer Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff also stressed that the market fundamentals remained strong. "The sharp fall in the morning session was only a knee-jerk reaction to the regional market slides caused mainly by the sharp declines of the China indices yesterday," he said.

ABOVE: Despite the fall in the last two days, YTL group of companies are holding fort, with overall improvements for POWER - UP 25%; CEMENT - UP 96%; E-SOLUTIONS - UP 536% and LAND & DEVELOPMENT - UP 67% , according to the EDGEDaily

"With regards to our market performance during the first half of today's trading, I would like to reassure investors that the fundamentals remain strong and we maintain our optimistic outlook on the market's performance over the medium term," Yusli said. Most of Southeast Asia's stocks also continued to suffer losses today with

Singapore's benchmark Strait Times Index declining by 3.96 percent at 3,104.15, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index down 2.85 percent to 17,604.12 and Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index dropping 2.65 percent to 19,652.

ABOVE: Thai Stocks down 2% and BELOW: Jakarta Stocks Down 1%

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Malaysia's Nor Is “Confident” About Stock Market

Updated : 28-02-2007; Media : Bloomberg; Story By : Soraya Permatasari and Angus Whitley; via
Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) --
Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop said he's ``confident'' about the country's stock market after the key index fell as much as 8.2 percent.
``I am not worried because the
economic fundamentals of Malaysia have not changed,'' Nor told reporters today in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. ``They are still robust and the correction in the last two days has been due entirely to external reasons.''
Stocks and currencies across
Asia slid after the biggest decline in Chinese equities in 10 years yesterday sparked a global sell-off. Malaysia's benchmark share index today headed for the biggest loss since April 2001, adding to a 2.8 percent decline yesterday.

Central bank data today will show the economy grew faster last year than the government's 5.8 percent estimate, Nor said. There is no plan to impose capital controls, he said. Bursa Malaysia Bhd., the operator of the nation's stock exchange, called the market's decline a ``knee-jerk'' reaction to regional slides.

``Our economy is stable and the outlook for 2007 remains positive,'' Bursa Chief Executive Officer Yusli Mohamed Yusoff said in a statement today. ``We maintain our optimistic outlook on our market's performance over the medium term.'' Second Finance Minister Nor also said he expects Proton Holdings Bhd., Malaysia's state-owned national carmaker, to pick a partner by the end of March.

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February 28, 2007 19:24 PM

Nor Mohamed Not Worried About Stock Mart Fall

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 28 (Bernama) -- Second Finance Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop (ABOVE) said Wednesday he is not worried about the fall in Bursa Malaysia, stressing the country's economic fundamentals have not changed. Noting that "we are still a robust economy," he said the correction over the last two days had been due entirely to external reasons. Nor Mohamed also said Malaysia would not impose any capital control measures in light of developments in the stock market.

"Our market has corrected somewhat but the fundamentals are strong. And I am confident about the Malaysian economy and stock market," he told reporters after attending a function at the Ministry of Finance here. The local bourse fell sharply on Tuesday with the market barometer Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) down 2.81 percent following a sell-off in regional stocks triggered by a sharp fall in China stocks. At the close,

the KLCI fell 40.63 points to 1196.45, the Second Board Index was down 2.68 points to 98.05 and the FBMEmas was down 288.55 points to 7,944.23. Nor Mohamed brushed aside worries of a liquidity crisis caused by the selling.

"I don't think there will be a liquidity crisis. Certainly in our case there is no liquidity crisis," he said, ruling out any systemic risks. Asked whether state investment agencies would support the market, he said they were in the business of investing. "I am sure agencies like the Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Bhd and the others know value when they see one. "And I think it's true they have been buying yesterday and today because the see values in the stocks," he said. Asked whether the current development in the market was temporary, Nor Mohamed said:

"I basically think that markets go up and down, there is some profit-taking, some correction along the way." But for the long term, we are very upbeat and our market is robust." He said economic figures to be released by Bank Negara Malaysia would show that growth for 2006 would exceed the 5.8 percent forecast earlier. "For 2007, the government is confident of achieving a growth target of six percent while inflation will be brought down to below three percent. "The earnings of big companies, including government-linked companies are expected to be better this year than in 2006," he said. He said the losses suffered by Proton Holdings had been expected.

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Malaysia shares dive 8 pct early on China sell-off

Updated :
28-02-2007 ; Media : Reuters ;Story By : N/A ;via
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Malaysia's main share index fell 8.1 percent in early trade on Wednesday, extending losses after China's market crash on Tuesday. The benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index <.KLSE> was down 7.44 percent at 1,145.06 percent at 0111 GMT. The index of 100 blue-chip shares had opened down 3.84 percent.
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Malaysia's Genting slides on casino concerns

Updated : 28-02-2007 ; Media : Reuters ;Story By : N/A ; via
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Shares in Malaysian leisure and gaming group Genting Bhd (GENT.KL: Quote, Profile , Research) slumped on Wednesday on concerns about the future of its Singapore casino project.
Singapore said on Tuesday it had not yet awarded a casino licence to Genting, though the firm won a tender in December for the right to build and run a $3.4 billion resort there. Genting shares were down 9.7 percent at 35 ringgit at 0108 GMT. Shares in its subsidiary, Resorts World Bhd (RWBW.KL: Quote, Profile , Research), also slid. They were down 11.5 percent at 13.80 ringgit

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Updated :
28-02-2007 ; Media : Bloomberg ; Story By : Ian C. Sayson

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia stocks fell by the most in almost six years, sending the ringgit lower and extending a global sell-off sparked by a plunge in Chinese and U.S. shares yesterday.` `There's no way that we will be decoupled from what happens to the major markets,'' said Wong Shou Ning, who helps manage $136 million at Kenanga Investment Management Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur. ``Markets are global. It's like a tidal wave, you can't run.'
Tenaga Nasional Bhd. and Malayan Banking Bhd. led the decline among the nation's biggest stocks. Proton Holdings Bhd. slumped after reporting a third straight quarterly loss while Dufu Technology Corp. Bhd. gained on its first trading day. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index tumbled 74.17, or 6 percent, to 1162.91 at the
12:30 p.m. local time break, set for its biggest loss since April 4, 2001. The measure plunged as much as 8.2 percent earlier. The index dropped 2.8 percent yesterday.
``The whole market is taking a hit,'' said Scott Lim, who helps manage $400 million as chief investment officer at CMS Dresdner Asset Management Sdn. in
Kuala Lumpur. ``Smart investors should be looking for bargains. This panic will ease once the market in China stabilizes.''
Malaysia's currency, the ringgit, fell 0.3 percent to 3.505 against the U.S. dollar as of 12:07 p.m. local time, the most since Dec. 19, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Among Asia's currencies, the ringgit is the second-biggest gainer against the U.S. dollar this year; it ranks fourth worldwide. ``The currency's movement is part of the panic,'' Lim said. ``There has been no change in the country's fundamentals. People are taking advantage of the situation to take profit.''

Whole Market Hit

Today's loss pared the gains in the nation's main stock index this year to 6.1 percent. The 100-member measure closed last week at its highest since
Jan. 5, 1994, boosted by a 17 percent gain from end-2006. The smaller Second Board Index fell 6.9 percent to 93.78 today, while the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Emas Index declined 6.4 percent to 7703.91. Declining stocks beat gainers 1118 to 21.
Tenaga Nasional,
Malaysia's biggest power producer, lost 70 sen, or 5.7 percent, to 11.50 ringgit, set for its biggest slide since May 31, 2002.

Malayan Banking Bhd., the nation's biggest lender, declined 70 sen, or 5.4 percent, to 12.30 ringgit, the lowest since Jan. 30 and shaving this year's gain to 4.2 percent.``Malaysia will probably be one of the hardest hit because it is also one of the best performers in the region this year'' said Wong, who also owns shares in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. ``I don't think this means the long-term end of the rally. Nothing has changed in Malaysia's economy today compared to yesterday.''

Proton Posts Loss

Telekom Malaysia Bhd.,
Southeast Asia's second-biggest phone company, fell 60 sen, or 5.8 percent, to 9.80 ringgit, the lowest in almost five weeks. MISC Bhd., the Malaysian shipowner of the world's biggest fleet of liquefied natural gas tankers, declined 50 sen, or 5.4 percent, to 8.80 ringgit, after slumping as much as 6.5 percent.
Proton, a Malaysian carmaker in talks to sell a stake to General Motors Corp., fell 55 sen, or 7.5 percent, to 6.75, after declining as much as 14 percent. Today's decline cut the stock's gain this year to 2.3 percent. The local carmaker said yesterday after trading closed that it posted a 281.5 million ringgit ($80 million) loss in its third-quarter ended Dec. 13, compared with an 86.5 million ringgit profit a year ago.

Dufu Technology, a Malaysian maker of precision machining components, jumped 14.5 sen, or 21 percent, to 84.5 sen, after surging as much as 36 percent earlier today. The company sold 34 million shares at 70 sen each in its initial public offering. The following stocks fell. Stock symbols are brackets after company names.
Maxis Communications Bhd. (MAXIS MK),
Malaysia's biggest mobile-phone operator, fell 50 sen, or 4.2 percent, to 11.50 ringgit, trimming a loss of as much as 6.7 percent earlier.
Net income at Maxis jumped 51 percent to 642 million ringgit in the three months ended Dec. 31 from a restated 425 million a year earlier on larger sales at its Aircel Ltd. unit in India and higher earnings at its Malaysian operation. Profit beat the 481 million ringgit median estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS MK), the country's largest carrier, declined 40 sen, or 6.9 percent, to 5.40 ringgit, trimming this year's gain to 15 percent. Credit Suisse Group today cut its 12-month share price estimate for the airline by 1.4 percent to 7.15 ringgit.
TA Enterprise Bhd. (TAE MK), a Malaysian stockbroker and property developer, fell 26 sen, or 15 percent, to 1.52 ringgit, set for its biggest loss since
Aug. 9, 1999.
The company said it hasn't made a ``firm decision'' to list its property unit on the
Hong Kong or Singapore stock exchange, or to set up a property trust worth more than 1 billion ringgit. The company made the statement in response to a stock exchange query on a Feb. 26 Business Times report.

UMW Holdings Bhd. (UMWH MK), the local assembler of Toyota Motor Corp. cars, lost 35 sen, or 3.7 percent, to 9.15 ringgit, its lowest this month. The company said yesterday after trading closed that fourth-quarter profit fell 14 percent to 87 million ringgit as sales declined 7.6 percent to 2.57 billion ringgit, because it sold fewer
Toyota and Perodua cars.

Unisem (M) Bhd. (UNI MK),
Malaysia's second-biggest semiconductor packager, tumbled 14 sen, or 7.5 percent, to 1.74 ringgit. The manufacturer had a 29 percent increase in fourth- quarter to 15.6 million ringgit in the three months ended Dec. 3, its smallest profit in a year as its European unit reported losses.

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Malaysian Stocks Drop, Post Biggest Loss in Over Five Years
Updated :
27-02-2007 Media : Bloomberg; Story By : Ian C. Sayson

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysian stocks fell, sending the index to its biggest loss in more than five years after oil prices advanced for a fifth day and following a sell-off in Chinese shares. ``The rise in oil prices and the sell-down in China is having an impact on sentiment in the region as a whole,'' said Mushtaq Ibrahim, who manages about $1.4 billion of assets at Amanah SSCM Asset Management Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. ``This is a healthy pullback for Malaysia stocks considering the market's sharp gains.''

Tenaga Nasional Bhd. and Malayan Banking Bhd. led the decline among the nation's biggest stocks. Lion Industries Bhd., which invests in steel, property, timber and beverages, fell after profit plunged last quarter on higher taxes. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index declined 35.79, or 2.8 percent, to 1237.08 at the close of trading in Malaysia, after falling as much as 4.1 percent intraday. Today's decline may have wiped out about $7.9 billion in market capitalization. The smaller Second Board Index dropped 6.9 percent to 100.73, while the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Emas Index lost 3.3 percent to 8232.78. Losers beat gainers 1,121 to 42 as the value of today's trade reached the highest in 10 years.

Tenaga Nasional, the biggest component of Malaysia's key stock index, fell 10 sen, or 0.8 percent, to 12.20 ringgit, a six-day low. Malayan Banking, the nation's largest lender, fell 10 sen, or 0.8 percent, to 13 ringgit, trimming this year's gain to 10 percent. The main stock index had its biggest loss since a 3.5 percent decline on Sept. 21, 2001. The measure, made up of Malaysia's 100 biggest stocks, gained 13 percent this year and climbed last week to its highest since Jan. 5, 1994. The benchmark, the fourth biggest gainer in Asia this year after main stock measures in Vietnam, China and Pakistan, rose 22 percent in 2006.

`In the Money'
``If you are already in the money in a big way, which you probably are if you were in Malaysia as early as last year, it is a good time to take some of those gains,'' Ibrahim said. Telekom Malaysia Bhd., Southeast Asia's second-biggest phone company, declined 30 sen, or 2.8 percent, to 10.40 ringgit, its biggest loss since May 19. Maxis Communications Bhd., Malaysia's biggest mobile phone operator, fell 30 sen, or 2.4 percent, to 12 ringgit, trimming this year's gain to 18 percent. Sending shares lower, oil prices advanced 0.2 percent to $61.52 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, extending a 5.7 percent gain in the previous four days.
In addition,
China's stocks tumbled the most in 10 years as some investorsjudged record gains in key indexes as excessive. The Shanghai and Shenzhen 300 Index, which tracks yuan- denominated A shares listed on China's two exchanges, plunged 9.2 percent at the close.

Prolonged Rally
``The rally was quite prolonged, so the fall today is a little bit sharp. The market needed a breather,'' said Teng Chee Wai, who helps manage the equivalent of $533 million at Hwang- DBS Investment Management Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. ``There are also rumors of China tightening.''

Among other declining stocks, Lion Industries tumbled 25 sen, or 15 percent, to 1.41 ringgit, its biggest lost since May and trimming this year's gain to 37 percent. Net income in the three months ended Dec. 31 fell 65 percent to12 million ringgit ($3.44 million), compared with 35 million ringgit a year earlier, the company said yesterday after trading closed.

Lion Diversified Falls
Lion Diversified Holdings Bhd. declined 45 sen, or 6.5 percent, to 6.45

ringgit, extending a three-day, 5.5 percent retreat. The company, which agreed to buy shares in Megasteel Sdn. for 338 million ringgit, saidyesterday profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 plunged 86 percent to 62 million ringgit. Megasteel is a unit of Lion Corp., which is 23 percent- owned by Lion Diversified.

Road Builder (M) Holdings Bhd., a construction company with investments in toll operations, ports and hotels, fell 32 sen, or 7 percent, to 4.24 ringgit, its biggest loss since May. UBS AG cut its rating for the stock to ``neutral'' from ``buy,'' saying it is no longer a cheap exposure to IJM Corp., which is taking over Road Builder.

IJM, which has offered to issue two of its shares for each share of RoadBuilder, fell 55 sen, or 5.9 percent, to 8.80 ringgit, its biggest decline since May 22. UBS also cut its rating for IJM to '`neutral.'' ``IJM shares have doubled over the past 12 months, in line with order book expansion,'' Ridzuan Mohamed, an analyst at UBS, said. ``However, we believe it will take two years before earnings per share growth catches up.''

Raised Forecast

Following the market's decline, Malaysian Airline System Bhd. fell 15 sen, or 2.5 percent, to 5.80 ringgit, after rising as much as 4.2 percent earlier today. The nation's largest carrier may exceed its earnings target this yearby 14-fold after cutting jobs and unprofitable routes helped it return to a 121.5 million ringgit profit in the fourth quarter, the company said yesterday after trading closed.

Malaysian Air expects a profit of between 300 million ringgit and 700 million ringgit this year, higher than its earlier 50 million ringgit target, the company's managing director, Idris Jala, said yesterday. ``The company's results are good,'' said Christopher Eng, an analyst at OSK

Research Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur. ``It shows that the airline is on target for a turnaround.'' He raised his 12-month share price estimate for the stock by 11 percent to 7.80 ringgit, indicating a 35 percent gain from today's close.

On the broader market, shares worth 4.29 billion ringgit were traded, almost three times the six-month daily average and the biggest since Feb. 26, 1997. ``Most people have looked too far ahead, this pullback will allow fundamentals to catch up,'' Amanah's Ibrahim said. Before today's decline, ``the market has performed very strong by any standards. ''The following stocks either rose or fell. Stock symbols are in brackets after company names.

AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA MK), Southeast Asia's largest discount airline, fell 6 sen, or 3.4 percent, to 1.70 ringgit, its biggest loss since July 13.Malaysia's Johor state government plans to offer landing rights at its Senai Airport to all airlines to attract more flights to the region, the Bernama

state news agency said, citing Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman. AirAsia is one of only two airlines that fly to the airport, Bernama said. Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd. (CMS MK), Malaysia's sixth-biggest builder, fell 15 sen, or 7.3 percent, to 1.90 ringgit, after advancing 3.5 percent yesterday. The company plans to submit a $488 million bid for a highway project in Indonesia in a joint venture with toll-road operator PT Jasa Marga, the Business Times reported, citing people familiar with the proposal.

Courts Mammoth Bhd. (CRTM MK), a retailer of electronics and electronic appliances, fell 12 sen, or 11 percent, to 98, its biggest loss since April 4, 2006. The stock had its rating lowered to ``sell'' from ``hold'' by Deutsche Bank AG on concerns the company's credit sales will continue tosuffer should it implement a stricter credit policy, which it needs to improve the quality of its receivables.``Investors should sell the stock,'' Pauline Chong, a Deutsche analyst, said in a note today. The ``outlook remains opaque and management isn't transparent.'' Genting Bhd. (GENT MK), the owner of Malaysia's only licensed casino, fell 75 sen, or 1.9 percent, to 38.75 ringgit. The company denied a newspaper report that said it plans to sell a stake in a palm-oil producer to focus on the gaming business. On Feb. 23, the Business Times reported Genting may sell its 55 percent stake in Asiatic Development Bhd. to companies including Wilmar International Ltd. in Singapore, PPB Group Bhd. and state-owned

Permodalan Nasional Bhd. KLCC Property Holdings Bhd. (KLCC MK), the owner of the Petronas Towers and the Suria mall in Kuala Lumpur, declined 16 sen, or 4.5 percent, to 3.40 ringgit, following a two-day, 3.8 percent loss. Aun-Ling Chia, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, cut the stock's rating to ``hold'' from ``buy'' after cutting by 7 percent the 2007 profit estimate for the property company.

Utama Banking Group Bhd. (UBG MK), which owns a third of Malaysia's Rashid
Hussain Bhd. (RHB MK), fell 10 sen, or 4.5 percent, to 2.12 ringgit
. Utama said talks to sell its Rashid Hussain stake to Kuwait Finance House are no longer exclusive. Rashid Hussain owns 65 percent of RHB Capital Bhd. (RHBC

MK), Malaysia's fourth-biggest bank. Rashid Hussain fell 8 sen, or 4.7 percent, to 1.63 ringgit, its lowest since Feb. 6. RHB Capital fell as much as 2 sen, or 0.5 percent, to 4.46 ringgit before trading unchanged at 4.48 ringgit. EON Capital Bhd. (EON MK), which is trying to take over Rashid Hussain, fell 5 sen, or 0.8 percent, to 6.55 ringgit, following a two-day loss. EON Capital may have to sweeten bids worth 6.4 billion ringgit for Rashid Hussain to beat Kuwait Finance, Winson Ng, an analyst at CIMB Investment Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur, wrote in a report. EON will probably have to raise its offer to 1.90 ringgit for each Rashid Hussain share, compared withits 1.80 ringgit bid on Feb. 7, Ng said.____

Business; February 27, 2007 22:10 PM

KLCI Down 2.81 Pct Following Sell-Off In China Stocks

By Farazira Amira Yusof
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- The local bourse fell sharply on Tuesday with the market barometer Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) down 2.81 percent, the biggest single-day loss in two years following a sell-off in regional stocks which was triggered by sharp fall in China stocks, dealers said. The KLCI went down as much as 52.68 points to 1,220.19 intraday, before closing 35.79 points down at 1,237.08. It opened 0.56 of a point higher at 1,273.43.Declining stocks outweighed advancers by 1,123 to 42 on volume of 3.699 billion shares.

"The correction was expected after last Friday's run-up but not the big losses seen today," a dealer from one of the local brokerage said. The biggest one-day loss was recorded on Jan 12, 1994 when the key index dropped by 68.09 percent to 1,134.31. The dealer said that investors were overreacting on the sell down in China which spilled over into the regional bourses. The Shanghai stock market suffered its biggest one day fall in 10 years with the Composite Index closing 268.81 points or 8.84 percent lower. "From year-to-date, we are the third best regional performer after Shanghai and Vietnam Stock Exchange, that is why when China falls, we are badly hit," the dealer said. Meanwhile, another dealer said that there was forced selling by foreign funds in the market and lack of support as investors continued to be concerned about the performance of Wall Street which was weak following signs that the oil price was on the rise again.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down by 15.22 points to 12,632.26 as crude oil price climbed to US$61.59 per barrel. The dealer said that the cautious market could also be attributed to the settlement period or T+3 after last week's record high volume. "Actually, it was the time for investors to settle their transaction as the market had recorded a high volume of 4.782 billion shares last Thursday," said the dealer. Moving forward, the dealer said that the market will continue to see profit taking correction amid weaknesses in overseas markets.

"The market is likely to consolidate due to lack of investors interest. Perhaps, the announcement of gross domestic data (GDP) later tomorrow will provide some support to the market," the dealer said, adding that the current psychological support level will be at 1,180-1,200-points.

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IMF chief warns of yen carry trades

POSTED: 0802 GMT (1602 HKT), February 27, 2007
Weakening yen has increased Japan's account surplus
Depreciation of dollar could help reduce U.S. account deficit, IMF has said
Huge deficits in U.S., surpluses elsewhere could trigger recession, IMF warns
Japan should pursue anti-deflationary policy, Rao says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The head of the International Monetary Fund warned the increasing growth of yen carry trades could deepen global economic imbalances, and he urged Japan to make clear that deflationary pressures are being rooted out. Carry trades are when investors borrow in a low-yielding currency, such as the yen, to invest in higher-yielding assets. The yen has been a popular currency to fund these trades since Japanese interest rates are just 0.5 percent and the yen is trading at a 20-year low on a trade-weighted basis.

IMF Managing Director Rodrigo Rato (ABOVE), addressing graduates from Harvard Business School in Washington Monday, said the size of the carry trades was unknown. But they were evident in capital flows into countries like Brazil and Turkey and in the growth of yen-denominated mortgages in countries ranging from South Korea to Latvia, he added. Meanwhile, capital flows out of Japan have risen, partly due to carry trades, he added. "The carry trade is not a consequence of global imbalances. Rather, it reflects globalization of financial markets and the current environment of low volatility and wide interest rate differentials," Rato said. "But it could lead to more entrenched exchange rate misalignments that worsen global imbalances," he added.A depreciation in the yen increased Japan's current account surplus to almost 4 percent of gross domestic product in 2006. The IMF has warned that huge deficits in the United States and surpluses in other countries like China, Japan and oil-rich countries needed to be reduced, or they could trigger an abrupt slide in the dollar, or even a recession. To address imbalances, the IMF has said some depreciation of the dollar will help reduce the U.S. current account deficit. He urged China, which has a fast-growing trade surplus, to allow its currency to rise against the dollar.

But Rato said developments with the yen and carry trades were new concerns that could trigger a sudden shock in financial markets. "I am concerned that investors and the countries into which funds are flowing are not sufficiently attentive to the risks," Rato said. He said there was no simple solution to the problem, noting that the Bank of Japan had increased interest rates by a quarter of one percent last week. Rato said that with Japan just emerging from years of deflation and inflation "still uncomfortably" close to zero, the Bank of Japan needed to be cautious about raising rates. "These are circumstances that will change over time as Japan is able to apply a more normal monetary policy, but it will be some time for that to happen," Rato said.

"We think Japan should pursue an anti-deflationary policy and monetary policy," he added. He said the situation had many consequences for emerging and industrial economies alike and more flexibility in the Chinese yuan, as well as structural and fiscal changes in the rest of Asia would help. Meanwhile, Rato repeated that the global economy was headed for another strong year, with growth close to 5 percent -- the strongest five-year span for the world's economy since the late 1960s. He said risks to the outlook had diminished, with worries about a downturn in the U.S. housing market now easing, oil prices lower and no evidence of sharp increases in inflation pressures.

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Nikkei tops 18,000, as yen falls
POSTED: 1520 GMT (2320 HKT), February 22, 2007

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- Japanese stocks rose on Thursday, led by Sony and other exporters, as the yen hit a record low versus the euro and fell against the dollar after the central bank signalled future interest rate rises would be slow in coming. Gold was steady after soaring to a nine month-high on Wednesday on active fund buying in commodities as U.S. equities held near record highs, while oil hovered at $60 a barrel after jumping more than 2 percent overnight on supply disruptions. MSCI's measure of Asian stocks excluding Japan rose more than 0.5 percent to an all-time high of 413.89. Japan's Nikkei average rose more than 1 percent to top 18,000 for the first time since May 2000. "The Nikkei could aim for around 19,000 toward April, boosted by possible upward revisions of corporate earnings," said Katsuhiko Kodama, a senior strategist at Toyo Securities.

Advantest Corp. and Canon Inc. jumped about 2 percent while Sony rose 1.4 percent as the weak yen makes their exports more competitive and boosts profits when earnings are brought home. The broad TOPIX index rose almost 1 percent after earlier hitting its highest level since November 1991. The euro surged to 159.13 yen, the highest since the single currency was launched in 1999. It later eased to 158.9 yen. The dollar edged up to 121.1 yen, after climbing nearly 1 percent against the Japanese currency on Wednesday, before easing to 120.95.

"Market players feel confident that the BOJ will not hike rates for a while," said Tsutomu Soma, a senior trader at Okasan Securities. "People seem to feel absolutely no hesitation towards selling the yen." The Bank of Japan raised interest rates to 0.50 percent from 0.25 percent on Wednesday. That is the highest in over a decade, but still the lowest among wealthy countries, and Governor Toshihiko Fukui repeated on Thursday that interest rates would be raised only slowly from here. A Reuters poll taken after the BOJ decision on Wednesday showed that most market players didn't expect further tightening until the third or even the fourth quarter of 2007. Japanese government bond prices generally rose on the belief there would not be another rate rise soon.

Korean stocks hit record. Seoul shares jumped to record highs, driven by exporters such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as the Korean won fell against the dollar, with dealers saying the scale of exporters' dollar sales would determine the trend. POSCO Co. Ltd. rose more than 3 percent on confidence about improving 2007 profits.

Hong Kong stocks rose 0.5 percent, as China Mobile extended gains a day after reporting strong subscriber data, while oil stocks followed crude prices higher. Australian shares rose as investors flocked to firms with strong earnings such as Seven Network, while Singapore hit another record high, led by banks and financial companies.
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Japan trade rebounds to surplus

POSTED: 0146 GMT (0946 HKT), February 21, 2007

January exports rose 18.9 percent from year earlier
Economists' median forecast was for a deficit
Financial markets showed little reaction
Nikkei tops 18,000, but traders attributed move to BOJ interest rate hike

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- Japan posted a trade surplus of 4.4 billion yen ($36 million) in January, snapping back from a deficit of 354 billion yen the same month a year earlier, government data showed on Thursday. Firm exports on the back of a weak yen as well as subdued imports due to cheaper oil prices helped tip the balance back to the black. Many economists had expected a deficit as Japanese exports tend to slow in January because of New Year holidays. Economists' median forecast was for a deficit of 150 billion yen.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the overall trade surplus rose 52.5 percent from the previous month to 1.086 trillion yen, the data showed. Financial markets showed little reaction to the data. The Nikkei share average topped 18,000 for the first time in nearly seven years, and the yen fell to a record low against the euro. But traders attributed the moves to an expected slow pace to future credit tightening by the central bank. (Asia stocks) Economists said the better-than-expected trade balance was due to special factors such as the Lunar New Year holidays in China starting later than last year. The breakdown of the data was not so positive, they said. "The pace of rises in export volume to the United States slowed sharply in January from a year earlier, a sign that a slowdown in the United States is affecting Japanese exports," said Naoki Iizuka, senior economist at Mizuho Securities.

Exports rose 18.9 percent from a year earlier to 5.9533 trillion yen, while imports were up 10.9 percent at 5.9489 trillion yen, data from the Ministry of Finance showed. Exports to the United States grew 5.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.2541 trillion yen, while those to China rose 50.8 percent to 893.5 billion yen. Many economists expect solid exports to help keep the Japanese economy expanding despite patchy domestic consumption Japan's economy logged stronger-than-expected 4.8 percent annualized growth in October-December. Growing confident of Japan's economic outlook, the BOJ on Wednesday raised rates to 0.50 percent from 0.25 percent, still the lowest among the world's industrialized countries but the highest level for Japan in more than a decade. Many economists also said the deficit in January last year -- Japan's first monthly trade deficit in five years -- was an aberration because the Lunar New Year holiday fell in January, slowing exports.

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Malaysia's Economy 2006 Expands 5.9%; US Slow Growth Curbs Export;. RUBBER & OIL PALM Boast Agriculture Sector; 2007 Economic growth 5.5 % Projected

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