Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Australian tax authorities bully Malaysian Timber Tycoon. He Sues Aussie Government

Well, I'll be, mate!
Here's an interesting story. Scary too.
Thick twice, nay, many times, before buying property in Australia. There are some nasty Aussies there.

A Sarawakian timber tycoon is suing the Australian government over their decision to force him to pay taxes amounting to AUD50m.
Daylight robbery and bullying a Malaysian, I say.
Read Rocky's Bru take:

Seeking justice in Malaysia. Wikipedia insists that kangaroo courts did not have its origins in Australia, where kangaroos come from. If that's baffling to me I can't imagine what Sarawak-born Malaysian businessman Hii Yii Ann might be thinking. Hii, 56, is fighting a decision by the Australian courts about his tax residency status that could rob him of AUD50 million!

Hii, a Malaysian passport holder who has never applied to be an Australian resident, says he's submitted to the Australian authorities documented proof that he is a Malaysian taxpayer and has never lived anywhere near long enough in Australia to be deemed the country's "tax resident". Yet, the Australian court deemed that he had denounced his Malaysian tax residency status and, therefore, owed whatever he had earned to the Australian Tax Office.

The rest of the posting HERE

Here's is The Mole report by  Zaidi Azmi
KUALA LUMPUR – November 15, 2016: A Malaysian timber tycoon is suing the Australian government for tax assessment amounting to millions of dollars in relation to income earned outside of the country.
Sarawak-born businessman Hii Yii An got into a tangle with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) after the latter changed his tax residency status to that of the country in December 2013.
This consequently led to Hii being accused of tax evasion totalling AUD$49, 774, 128.20 for the assessment years of 2001 to 2009.
Hii’s lead counsel, Datuk Alvin John, maintained that his client had never abandoned his Malaysian domicile, adding that Hii had been declaring his tax deductions throughout the said years.
“The ATO should have contacted Malaysian authorities before imposing the decision on him,” said John.
He further argued that the ATO had imposed extra-territorial jurisdiction on his client and that Australian taxation laws thus cannot be applied to Hii.
Australian law says that any person who lives in Australia for over six months or has chosen the country as his home needs to pay world tax (based on earnings outside the country).
“But he has never continuously lived that long in Australia,” said John, adding that Hii only makes short visits to Australia to see his children and check on his investments.
On why Hii decided to bring the matter to a Malaysian court, John explained that matters concerning Hii’s domicile can only be determined by the Malaysian government.
“In its defence, the Australian government is  invoking a sovereign state immunity but this immunity is not absolute.
“When you falsely claim revenue from a foreign citizen, that citizen has the right of recourse and can initiate legal action either at the international level or in his home country,” said John.
However, if the Australian government refuses to accept a ruling favourable to Hii, Alvin pledged to take the case to the International Court of Justice.
The other defendants are the commissioner and deputy commissioner of the ATO.
Today’s case management was before deputy registrar Noorasyikin Sahat. The next will be on December 6.

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Farewell, America"

This is an article  from Moyers & Company
By Neal Gabler
America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.
Whatever place we now live in is not the same place it was on Nov. 7. No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently. We are likely to be a pariah country. And we are lost for it. As I surveyed the ruin of that country this gray Wednesday morning, I found weary consolation in W.H. Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939, which concludes:
Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.”

I hunt for that affirming flame.
This generally has been called the “hate election” because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let’s not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate. In the years to come, we will brace for the violence, the anger, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the nativism, the white sense of grievance that will undoubtedly be unleashed now that we have destroyed the values that have bWe all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone. In its absence, we may realize just how imperative that politesse was. It is the way we managed to coexist.
If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: “He says the things I’m thinking.” That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t.
This country has survived a civil war, two world wars, and a great depression. There are many who say we will survive this, too. Maybe we will, but we won’t survive unscathed. We know too much about each other to heal. No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things. Nor can we pretend that democracy works and that elections have more or less happy endings. Democracy only functions when its participants abide by certain conventions, certain codes of conduct and a respect for the process.
The virus that kills democracy is extremism because extremism disables those codes. Republicans have disrespected the process for decades. They have regarded any Democratic president as illegitimate. They have proudly boasted of preventing popularly elected Democrats from effecting policy and have asserted that only Republicans have the right to determine the nation’s course. They have worked tirelessly to make sure that the government cannot govern and to redefine the purpose of government as prevention rather than effectuation. In short, they haven’t believed in democracy for a long time, and the media never called them out on it.
Democracy can’t cope with extremism. Only violence and time can defeat it. The first is unacceptable, the second takes too long. Though Trump is an extremist, I have a feeling that he will be a very popular president and one likely to be re-elected by a substantial margin, no matter what he does or fails to do. That’s because ever since the days of Ronald Reagan, rhetoric has obviated action, speechifying has superseded governing.
Trump was absolutely correct when he bragged that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and his supporters wouldn’t care. It was a dictator’s ugly vaunt, but one that recognized this election never was about policy or economics or the “right path/wrong path,” or even values. It was about venting. So long as Trump vented their grievances, his all-white supporters didn’t care about anything else. He is smart enough to know that won’t change in the presidency. In fact, it is only likely to intensify. White America, Trump’s America, just wants to hear its anger bellowed. This is one time when the Bully Pulpit will be literal.
The media can’t be let off the hook for enabling an authoritarian to get to the White House. Long before he considered a presidential run, he was a media creation — a regular in the gossip pages, a photo on magazine covers, the bankrupt (morally and otherwise) mogul who hired and fired on The Apprentice. When he ran, the media treated him not as a candidate, but as a celebrity, and so treated him differently from ordinary pols. The media gave him free publicity, trumpeted his shenanigans, blasted out his tweets, allowed him to phone in his interviews, fell into his traps and generally kowtowed until they suddenly discovered that this joke could actually become president.
Just as Trump has shredded our values, our nation and our democracy, he has shredded the media. In this, as in his politics, he is only the latest avatar of a process that began long before his candidacy. Just as the sainted Ronald Reagan created an unbridgeable chasm between rich and poor that the Republicans would later exploit against Democrats, conservatives delegitimized mainstream journalism so that they could fill the vacuum.
Retiring conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes complained that after years of bashing from the right wing, the mainstream media no longer could perform their function as reporters, observers, fact dispensers, and even truth tellers, and he said we needed them. Like Goebbels before them, conservatives understood that they had to create their own facts, their own truths, their own reality. They have done so, and in so doing effectively destroyed the very idea of objectivity. Trump can lie constantly only because white America has accepted an Orwellian sense of truth — the truth pulled inside out.
With Trump’s election, I think that the ideal of an objective, truthful journalism is dead, never to be revived. Like Nixon and Sarah Palin before him, Trump ran against the media, boomeranging off the public’s contempt for the press. He ran against what he regarded as media elitism and bias, and he ran on the idea that the press disdained working-class white America. Among the many now-widening divides in the country, this is a big one, the divide between the media and working-class whites, because it creates a Wild West of information – a media ecology in which nothing can be believed except what you already believe.
With the mainstream media so delegitimized — a delegitimization for which they bear a good deal of blame, not having had the courage to take on lies and expose false equivalencies — they have very little role to play going forward in our politics. I suspect most of them will surrender to Trumpism — if they were able to normalize Trump as a candidate, they will no doubt normalize him as president. Cable news may even welcome him as a continuous entertainment and ratings booster. And in any case, like Reagan, he is bulletproof. The media cannot touch him, even if they wanted to. Presumably, there will be some courageous guerillas in the mainstream press, a kind of Resistance, who will try to fact-check him. But there will be few of them, and they will be whistling in the wind. Trump, like all dictators, is his own truth.
What’s more, Trump already has promised to take his war on the press into courtrooms and the halls of Congress. He wants to loosen libel protections, and he has threatened Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos of Amazon with an antitrust suit. Individual journalists have reason to fear him as well. He has already singled out NBC’s Katy Tur, perhaps the best of the television reporters, so that she needed the Secret Service to escort her from one of his rallies. Jewish journalists who have criticized Trump have been subjected to vicious anti-Semitism and intimidation from the alt-right. For the press, this is likely to be the new normal in an America in which white supremacists, neo-Nazi militias, racists, sexists, homophobes and anti-Semites have been legitimized by a new president who “says what I’m thinking.” It will be open season.
This converts the media from reporters to targets, and they have little recourse. Still, if anyone points the way forward, it may be New York Times columnist David Brooks. Brooks is no paragon. He always had seemed to willfully neglect modern Republicanism’s incipient fascism (now no longer incipient), and he was an apologist for conservative self-enrichment and bigotry. But this campaign season, Brooks pretty much dispensed with politics. He seemed to have arrived at the conclusion that no good could possibly come of any of this and retreated into spirituality. What Brooks promoted were values of mutual respect, a bolder sense of civic engagement, an emphasis on community and neighborhood, and overall a belief in trickle-up decency rather than trickle-down economics. He is not hopeful, but he hasn’t lost all hope.
For those of us now languishing in despair, this may be a prescription for rejuvenation. We have lost the country, but by refocusing, we may have gained our own little patch of the world and, more granularly, our own family. For journalists, Brooks may show how political reporting, which, as I said, is likely to be irrelevant in the Trump age, might yield to a broader moral context in which one considers the effect that policy, strategy and governance have not only on our physical and economic well-being but also on our spiritual well-being. In a society that is likely to be fractious and odious, we need a national conversation on values. The media could help start it.
But the disempowered media may have one more role to fill: They must bear witness. Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation after great men like Lincoln and Roosevelt guided us through previous crises and kept our values intact. They will need to know, and they will need a vigorous, engaged, moral media to tell them. They will also need us.
We are not living for ourselves anymore in this country. Now we are living for history.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

They're Hoarding Cooking Oil, So Report Them

My friend complained on Facebook that a store near her home somewhere in Puchong had run out of cooking oil.
She posted a photo of empty racks & shelves where bottles of cooking are usually placed.

Of course the rants started coming in her comment box.

How could this be happening?  Someone demanded an explanation.

The government should do something about it.

Okay. Her's the thing. It should not be happening. And yes the government - the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives & Consumers Ministry should do something, provided YOU report or complain to them so that they can send the enforcement team to that store or supermarket.

The store, mini market  or supermarket, you see, must be hoarding their supply.


In stores and minimarkets in my neighbourhood, there is NO problem of supply.

So, do your part.

Anyway...talking about complain -- well, here's something from SeaDemon explaining again to whiners what the issue of cooking oil increase is all about.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

It's Terribly Orange in America : President Trump

My previous posting on what to call Bill Clinton is well, overtaken by the fact that the new POTUS is Donald Trump.
Don't know whether I want to laugh or cry. But oh for good reason.

Anyway, this is an article by the New Yorker.

An American Tragedy

By David Remnick

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. 

Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy.

 It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.

There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. 

Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. 

The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve.

Early on Election Day, the polls held out cause for concern, but they provided sufficiently promising news for Democrats in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and even Florida that there was every reason to think about celebrating the fulfillment of Seneca Falls, the election of the first woman to the White House. 

Potential victories in states like Georgia disappeared, little more than a week ago, with the F.B.I. director’s heedless and damaging letter to Congress about reopening his investigation and the reappearance of damaging buzzwords like “e-mails,” “Anthony Weiner,” and “fifteen-year-old girl.”

But the odds were still with Hillary Clinton.

Continue reading HERE

Monday, November 07, 2016

First Gentleman Bill Clinton? First Dude, Maybe? Or Just Plain President Clinton?

Now this is intriguing. It still is.
Let's revisit the question - - if Hillary Clinton wins, what should Bill be called.

Okay okay. Let's get serious. I know many women have got the perfect name ,or label for the guy. But, let's keep it civil and clinical.

 Popular American late night tv host Jimmy Kimmel  posed the question to Hillary when she made an appearance on his show in November last year.

First dude, first mate, first gentleman — I’m just not sure about it,” she replied. She's as stumped as the rest of us.
Kimmel offered up “the first president lady” as an alternative. How's that going to work out remains to be seen.
In January 2015, Bill Clinton himself joked to US talk show host Rachael Ray that he would go by “Adam” — as in the first man. 
We’re joking about this, but it’s a serious decision “Serious decision for Hillary, serious decision for the country and the world.
The Independent in April had the story HERE .
"Sorry, Bill – there is no template for how to be a First Gentleman. You’ll have to make it up as you go along." - says The Independent, in conclusion.
Clearly a dilemma. But it shouldn't be. In fact, it will all be taken care of. 
This is probably made easier by the fact that Bill is a former POTUS.
Endless possibilities.
Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had her "domestic partner' Tim Mathieson by her side while she was PM from 2010-1013.
The Aussies -- public & press - referred to him as "First Bloke".
Today, an AFP report revisits the question, as the US is a day away from polling.
WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton’s possible election next week to America’s highest office has raised a sticky question: What’s the best way to refer to the president’s male spouse? There have only ever been male presidents in the United States with female spouses. 

One president, James Buchanan, remained a lifelong bachelor. Bill Clinton poses a special dilemma – not only he would be the first male presidential spouse, but also the first former president to return to the White House as a spouse. 

The former Arkansas governor was elected president in 1992 and again in 1996, serving eight years in office.

 It is common to use the honorific “president” to anyone who has served in the post, even after they leave office. But if the prognosticators are correct, and Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, then Bill Clinton can no longer be referred to as President Clinton after his wife’s inauguration in January without creating massive confusion.

 Lisa Grotts, a certified etiquette expert, told AFP that the dilemma of how to address a male spouse has been dealt with at the state level, which may, or may not, provide a roadmap.

 “In the US, we have six female governors, and their husbands unofficially go by First Gentleman. But there are no rules for presidential spouses,” she said. 

“Once a president, always a president and that will always be his title for life,” she said. 

Allida Black, an expert on first ladies with the White House Historical Association, told AFP that there is no question that, in terms of protocol at least, Bill Clinton’s “title will stay the same” when the first couple are presented at formal events – at a state dinner, for example. 

“It will be President Clinton and former president Clinton,” Black said.

 “We went through the same thing with the Bush family,” she continued, referring to George H.W. Bush, the 41st US president, and his son, George W. Bush, the 43rd.

 “We had President Bush and former president Bush, so when they were together, they were introduced that way, and the Clintons will be introduced the same way as well,” she said. 

The stickier issue of day-to-day nomenclature will be handled by the in-house experts, Black said. 

“The office of presidential protocol, working with the Clintons, will decide how to rename the Office of the First Lady,” Black said.

 “If she was married to a person who had not been president, he would have been the First Gentleman, but because Bill Clinton had been president, he is former president, and not the First Gentleman.”

 What is clear, is that Bill Clinton will not revert to the title of governor or former governor, which would be a breach of protocol. 

“It would be a lesser title than being former president,” Black said. 

The first lady traditionally has her own staff and budget in the White House, and typically adopts causes that are more or less non-controversial. 

Laura Bush took on the issues of reading and literacy; Michelle Obama tackled obesity, and good nutrition via her White House garden. She also gave greater visibility to support for veterans and their families. 

Another issue brewing in political circles is precisely what official role the First Gentleman – if that is what he’s called – will play. 

Bill Clinton has promised to step away from the family’s Clinton Foundation charity if his wife is elected.

 He remains relatively fit and active, but has sworn off one of the endeavors that has occupied much of his time in retirement and proved quite lucrative – speech-making – which earned both Clintons millions of dollars once they were no longer in public office. 

Officially, Bill Clinton will not be allowed to take paid government employment during his wife’s tenure. 

“He cannot have an official paid position but he could be an unofficial advisor to her,” said Black. 

That would reverse the arrangement they reached during Bill Clinton’s presidency, when Hillary Clinton headed up his administration’s failed efforts to bring about comprehensive health care reform. 

Hillary Clinton earlier this year suggested that she might task her husband with spearheading her administration’s efforts to revitalize the economy – a nod to his vaunted presidential success in balancing the US budget while creating millions of jobs. 

Well, there you go.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Cooking Oil - Subsidies & Daylight Robbery

If you're happy that cooking oil smugglers are reaping in profits at your expense....

From Kapt Rahmat's Blog,  SeaDemon Says in his posting "In Hot Oil"

So, why remove cooking oil subsidy?
Every month, the government subsidises 23 cooking oil producers to produce 85,000 tonnes of cooking oil per month.  Studies show that Malaysians only use 45,000 tonnes of cooking oil per month.  Approximately 40,000 tonnes are accounted for and are believed to have been smuggled to other countries.  These producers/companise that smuggle out these cooking oil double their profits through the subsidies received from the government, and also for selling the oil at a higher price abroad!
It is the bottled type of cooking oil that have been found to be smuggled abroad because they have better mobility than those in the 1kg packets. 1kg packet-cooking oil are used mainly by those from the lower income bracket.  This is why the government is maintaining subsidies only for the 1kg packets while the bottled ones have theirs removed.  This way, the subsidy reaches the intended group, while the subsidies removed from bottled cooking oil could be put to better use to assist those in need through some other means.
I am all for the removal of subsidy and the chanelling of subsidies removed to address the needs of the lower and lower-middle income groups.  Why should I complain about it? The 5kg bottled oil that will cost me RM15.25 this month can last my 10-member household three weeks. So that comes to about 71 sen per day!  You people spend more on cigarettes yet you complain about cooking oil!
Get a life!

Read more HERE

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Breaking Down on Cooking Oil

This is from Syahir521 Blog:
 Kenaikan harga minyak masak disebabkan pemansuhan subsidi dan pengapungan harga minyak masak mengikut harga pasaran adalah isu yang sangat sensitif di kalangan rakyat Malaysia.
Perkara-perkara yang berkaitan dengan makanan adalah perkara yang tidak boleh dibawa main dan saya percaya perut-perut yang lapar boleh menyebabkan kerajaan sesebuah negara digulingkan dari tampuk kuasa.
Adakah rakyat terbeban dengan keputusan kerajaan untuk memansuhkan subsidi minyak masak untuk minyak masak bukan paket 1kg ke atas?
Saya pasti ada yang terbeban dan tipulah kalau kata tak ada langsung yang terbeban ditambah dengan kenaikan harga minyak petrol dan diesel bagi bulan November.
Banyak yang naik minyak apabila kerajaan memansuhkan subsidi minyak masak tetapi tak banyak yang tahu berapa kerajaan belanjakan setiap tahun untuk menampung subsidi minyak masak tersebut.
Subsidi minyak masak atau lebih dikenali sebagai Skim Penstabilan Harga Minyak Masak/Cooking Oil Stabilisation Scheme (COSS) [1] adalah skim yang diperkenalkan kerajaan untuk membantu mengawal harga minyak masak untuk pengguna di samping untuk menampung kerugian yang dialami pengilang dan pembungkus minyak masak akibat kos minyak sawit mentah yang tinggi.
COSS mula diperkenal dan dilaksanakan pada tahun 2007 sebagai salah satu langkah-langkah untuk mengurangkan beban kos sara hidup rakyat Malaysia.
Berikutan dengan itu harga minyak masak di Malaysia lebih rendah jika dibandingkan dengan negara-negara serantau ASEAN [3]: *Data setakat April 2014 kerana itu kali terakhir dikemaskini oleh KPDNKK:
Read more HERE