Sunday, June 25, 2017

Capital controls, high-speed rail behind collapse of Bandar Malaysia deal?

A US$1.7 billion property deal that was expected to ease the debt burden of Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fell through on Wednesday (May 3). A Malaysian minister says the government needs time to find a new partner.

KUALA LUMPUR: China's capital controls, bidding for the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project and Bandar Malaysia's increased worth may have contributed to the collapse of a US$1.7 billion deal to offset a Malaysian state fund's debts, according to analysts and people familiar with the matter.

TRX City, owned by Malaysia's finance ministry, on Wednesday (May 3) announced it had terminated an agreement for a China Railway consortium to be the master developer of Bandar Malaysia - a major residential and commercial real estate project, set to house a terminal for the high-speed rail (HSR) line connecting KL to Singapore on the basis it "failed to meet payment obligations outlined in the Conditions Precedent”.

The S$139 billion city next to Singapore has a big China problem

June 23, 2017

SINGAPORE — The US$100 billion (S$139 billion) city rising from the sea next to Singapore has hit a roadblock: China’s capital controls.

The dream of a Malaysian version of Shenzhen — largely funded by Chinese developers and buyers — with hotels, offices, golf courses, tech parks and thousands of ritzy new apartments, is having to adapt after China’s government clamped down on an exodus of money for investment in overseas property.

Developers’ sales offices in China that once brought in buyers by the hundreds are now pushing developments in Chinese cities. Subsidised junkets that flew in prospective buyers to development sites in the southern Malaysian state of Johor have dwindled. And some buyers who paid deposits for yet-to-be-built homes are considering cancelling their purchases.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SLA to take over land at Lorong 3 Geylang when lease expires in 2020

Every owner of the affected 191 terrace houses will be assigned a SLA officer, who will guide them through the lease expiry process.

SINGAPORE: The land currently occupied by 191 private terrace houses at Lorong 3 Geylang will return to the state when its current lease expires on Dec 31, 2020, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) confirmed for the first time on Tuesday (Jun 20).

The land is slated for future public housing, the authority said in a news release.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Driverless buses to be rolled out on Singapore's roads by 2020

By Loke Kok Fai

10 Apr 2017 12:21

SINGAPORE: Driverless buses could arrive on Singapore roads by 2020, following the signing of a partnership agreement between the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and ST Kinetics to develop and trial these buses on Monday (Apr 10).

Two 40-seater electric buses are likely to be tested in locations such the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus and Jurong Island. The buses will gradually be introduced to other trial sites, and eventually extended to public roads within and between towns.

The buses will use a satellite-based global positioning system (GPS) and sensors to scan and determine their location and immediate surroundings. They will also have radars and sonars that are able to detect other vehicles and pedestrians up to 200m ahead.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Trump could spur the rise of a new, not-so-liberal world order

By Fareed Zakaria

Opinion writer

June 1 2017

Washington Post

We now have a Trump Doctrine, and it is, at least in its conception and initial execution, the most radical departure from a bipartisan U.S. foreign policy since 1945. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster say that President Trump has “a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.” The senior officials add: “Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.” That embrace has now led the United States to withdraw from the Paris accord on climate change, signed by 194 other parties.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Why China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan is doomed to fail

Eerie similarities with Japanese scheme 20 years ago suggests a future of white elephants, wasted money and corruption on a scale never seen before

By Tom Holland

6 Aug 2016
South China Morning Post

Facing a deep slowdown after years of investment-fuelled growth that culminated in a huge property and stock market bubble, the leaders of Asia’s largest economy come up with a cunning plan. By launching an initiative to fund and construct infrastructure projects across Asia, they will kill four birds with one stone.

They will generate enough demand abroad to keep their excess steel mills, cement plants and construction companies in business, so preserving jobs at home. They will tie neighbouring countries more closely into their own economic orbit, so enhancing both their hard and soft power around the region. They will further their long term plan to promote their own currency as an international alternative to the US dollar. And to finance it all, they will set up a new multi-lateral infrastructure bank, which will undermine the influence of the existing Washington-based institutions, with all their tedious insistence on transparency and best practice, by making more “culturally sensitive” soft loans. [i.e. bribes] The result will be the regional hegemony they regard as their right as Asia’s leading economic and political power.

How the free-lunch fallacy is hurting our government, health care and retirement

This is no free lunch. And our belief that there is holds the country back.

By Allan Sloan 
Columnist, Washington Post
May 20 2017

One of the biggest problems our country has is the growing idea that there really is such a thing as a free lunch: that we can get magic money to pay for things we don’t want to pay for out of our own pockets.

I think the free-lunch fallacy helps explain why three of our nation’s biggest problems seem so intractable: having a rational health-care system; producing a reasonable federal budget; and dealing with the “retirement crisis.”

Let me explain how I came up with this linkage.

As a born contrarian — okay, as a stubborn old guy — I tend to do the opposite of what’s popular. So instead of rushing to opine about the newest excesses enveloping Our Nation’s Capital, I decided recently to spend quantity time reading two books that interested me, taking some deep breaths and doing some thinking.

Both of the books — “An American Sickness” by Elisabeth Rosenthal (Penguin Press, 2017), and “Dead Men Ruling” by Gene Steuerle (Century Foundation Press, 2014) — offer amazingly helpful history and insight into how our health care and federal budget systems, respectively, have turned into such messes.

In addition, I got a bonus. Because I read both books at the same time, I saw the “free lunch” link between them. That, in turn, led me to get some stock and bond numbers that help explain why we as a nation haven’t set aside enough money to pay for baby boomers’ retirement.