Thursday, July 28, 2005

Malaysia will implement consumption tax in 2007

UPDATE: According to the Businesss Times, the Malaysian government will introduce the goods and services tax (GST) in January 2007.

In less than 18 months, Malaysia will join the long list of countries which have a similar consumption tax (also known as value-added tax, or VAT) such as the UK, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Canada, Singapore, China, Thailand, Australia and most recently, India.

If we look back to the long list of countries which implemented such value-added tax (VAT), we knew that Philippine people organization strongly opposed the implementation of the VAT. As Indonesia, many groups also protested about such regressive taxation.

This is the time for us to know more about the GST or VAT. Many of the ASA members in the region will be affected by this tax. Hopefully we can get more discussion and feedback from the people about this.

Friday, July 22, 2005

What are the impacts of Yuan rise?

What the US $ and the Yuan mean to each other? Here the ASA provide you with the graph from the New York Times that help us to understand the impacts on the US economy.

At the same time, the revaluation of the Yuan will also affected different sectors. Here are the summary of the rise of Yuan:

*Renminbi Savings holder
*Retails Importers in China
*Raw materials importers that the transaction through Renminbi
*Chinese traveler to consume in other countries
*Owned property in China
*Hold the Chinese Investment share

*Renminbi debtors
*Chinese Exporters
*Foreign Manufacturers who pay Renminbi to labour costs such as Wal-Mart
*Foreign tourist to consume in China
*Rent or lease property in China
*Need to remit to China

After the Chinese declared the depegged the Yuan with the US Dollar, the Malaysian Central Bank also echoed the same decision to depeg the Ringgit Malaysia that pegged with US $ since September 1998.

What are the impacts of this Yuan rise? Is there any political messages that Chinese government wants to deliver to the world? How about the Malaysian government move? Is there any relation with the China's move?

Hopefully someone from us especially those who are economist can help us to do some house clearing. Hope to hear from you all about this development.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

D-Day for Military Junta as ASEAN Chair!

UPDATE: Will the Myanmar (Burma) Military Junta become the chair of ASEAN? With the protests from US, EU and the civil society of the world, will ASEAN led by the illegitimate Military Junta?

All these questions will be answered next week!

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) will take place in Laos from July 28 - 29. Representatives from US and EU will attend the forum. However, as we knew before the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice has said she will not attend ARF, sending her deputy Robert Zoellick instead.

More interesting is the statement of the Malaysian Foreign Minister, Syed Hamid Albar. According to AFP,

"We don't want to tell them that they must get out, or that they must
miss their turn, but they know what they need to do and the action must be done
by them," he said.

"We have given the views not only of ASEAN, but we have also talked
about the feelings and views of other regions and other countries... So I think
they understand very well."

When Syed Hamid tried to continue the guess game, the Secretary General of ASEAN, Ong Keng Yong said to the press yesterday that Myanmar military junta is expected to use a regional meeting in Laos this month to announce it will skip its scheduled chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006.

As the Military Junta is an illegitimate ruler in Burma, ASEAN members should reaafirm their position to ensure the roadmap of democratization in Burma. However, most of the ASEAN government also lack of morality and credibility to request the military junta to do that. Their own domestic undemocratic practices should be corrected as well.

Thus, ASEAN will be less significant and weaker in term of long term engagement and development. While emphasised on the economic and security cooperation, ASEAN should prevail the human rights and democracy practice in the whole region.

Mass Action to Protest Against WTO!

UPDATE: The Hong Kong People's Alliance on WTO (HKPA) is going to hold a protest action on coming Sunday to protest against the WTO particularly the General Council meeting that will take place in Geneva from July 27-29.

HKPA just met with the MC6 Secretariat and different government departments including the police, immigration and the leisure, cultural and social department. The meeting was in the good atmosphere but not much committment from the government. The Standard in Hong Kong had the coverage about the meeting with the title "Protest curbs may backfire".

One of the important agendas in the meeting with the government was the allocation of the decent venues for the HKPA to organize the gahterings, rallies, meetings and cultural events. The HKPA currently is having "Get the Venue" Campaign that lobby the government to provide decent places for lodging, rallies and meetings.

The whole July is an important month for the HKPA in many aspects. Besides the July 1st Mass Rally, the Community Drive that took place on July 17 to reach out the local community also very successfully. At the same time, the coming July 24 Mass Rally will be another significant event that we all in Hong Kong and out of Hong Kong shall prevail.

Here are the details of the July 24 rally:

HKPA Protest against the Government and WTO before the WTO Council Meeting
Call for transparency in negotiations, public consultation on GATS negotiations and information to the public, as well as the unjust and lack of democracy in the WTO
When? July 24 (Sunday)
What time? 2:00 pm
Where? HSBC in Central to Central Government Office (CGO)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Regional Alliance Calls US Troops Out!

UPDATE: The existence of the US troops in the different part of the world already create the uneasiness of the hosting countries and even neighbouring countries. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional alliance that founded in Shanghai in 2001, called the US troop to withdraw from their territories.

According to Associated Press, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, at a summit in the Kazakh capital, said in a declaration that a withdrawal date should be stated in light of the decline of active fighting in Afghanistan.

Chinese leader Hu Jintao said at the summit that "we have to make every effort to step up security cooperation or else all our talks about stability will be pointless"

Russian President Vladimir Putin said ‘‘new regional threats are of a trans-border nature. ... There are people who place orders and execute them. Our task is to find them and render them harmless and also to prevent their activity.’’

Such a new regional alliance will be more in different region. How will it be besides to address the security, economic and cooperation? Will it be another bloc to balance up the influence of the US in different region? As China and Russia are the traditional big powers in the international politic arena, the US will not easily to withdraw their troops out of the region, what will happen?

As a progressive student organization, how we position ourselves under such a regional formation? Instead of welcome such a formation, what important position that we need to insist? Hopefully some of you can provide us with your analysis or even your comment.


21,000 protesters march on the streets in Hong Kong to call for Universal Suffrage and against the collusion of government and business. At the same time, the ASA together with the HKPA made a big mat to ask the protesters to stop the WTO and build up the awareness of the people about WTO. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005

ASA Joint July 1st March in Hong Kong

UPDATE: HONG KONG, 21,000 protesters marched on the streets of Hong Kong today in an annual march calling for democratic reforms in the Chinese territory, but the numbers were far below the half a million that took to the streets in the two previous years.

Many believe the democracy movement lost some steam last year after Beijing snuffed out hopes that Hong Kong people would soon be allowed to directly elect their leader and entire legislature. Others thought that fewer turned out because popular new leader Donald Tsang has taken over from Tung Chee-Wah and people want to give him a chance.

July 1 also marked the 8th anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to Chinese rule in 1997. At the same time, the protesters streamed into Victoria Park to “vote” in a mock referendum on whether Hong Kong should have full democracy – also denied voters when Hong Kong was a British colony. The Hong Kong Civil Human Rights Front said 8,400 cast ballots, which would be tailed after the rally.

The Involvement of HKPA

Even the main slogans of the rally were “Fight for Universal Suffrage” and “Against Collusion Between Government and Big Business”, there were different slogans chanted by the different groups. The Hong Kong People’s Alliance on WTO (HKPA) mobilized the members within the networks to join the rally.

Elizabeth Tang, one of the conveners of the HKPA stated that one of the July 1st slogans and themes, collusion between the government and business, is appropriate and easily linked to the WTO’s presence and influence to the territory’s internal affairs.

The HKPA unfurled a 4m x 4m mat with a black hand aiming to grab the world. The black hand, in Chinese culture, depicts anyone or anything that is capable of manipulating events and making bad things happen. The WTO, according to HKPA, is like the black hand with all its schemes and agreements that negatively impact on the world’s peoples.

On it are yellow footsteps depicting the HK people’s response to the WTO. Yellow is the color being used by grassroots people and organizations in the territory.


Likewise, a life-sized black hand with a red no entry sign stamped on it floated in the air as one of the HKPA’s gimmicks. In the demonstration, around 50 people marched under the HKPA banner wearing a black glove and a red no entry sign placed on the glove’s palm area.

There were thousands of leaflets about the HKPA were distributed to the protesters. It was the important outreach activities for the HKPA to let more Hong Kong local people to understand about the impacts of the WTO and the information about the coming WTO Ministerial Conference.

The HKPA vowed that through various actions and publicity events, they will present the real image of WTO as prime promoter of corporate globalization and the reasons why people all over the world resist it.