Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

Asean Summit, Malaysia  on Nov 21, 1015
Asean Establishes Landmark Economic and Security Bloc
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - Text version)

“….. Here is the prediction: China will turn North Korea loose soon. The alliance will dissolve, or become stale. There will be political upheaval in China. Not a coup and not a revolution. Within the inner circles of that which you call Chinese politics, there will be a re-evaluation of goals and monetary policy. Eventually, you will see a break with North Korea, allowing still another dictator to fall and unification to occur with the south. ….”

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk
North Korean defector and activist Hyeonseo Lee, who lives in South Korea, poses as she presents her book 'The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story' in Beijing on March 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)

US under fire in global press freedom report

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

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Monday, August 31, 2009

PM: Thailand to be creative Asean hub, Published: 31/08/2009 at 11:40 AM

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants Thailand to be the creative centre of Asean industry, with the value of creative industry products to rise from 12 per cent to 20 per cent of gross domestic product by 2012.

"The government recognises the importance of creative industries by combining the country's cultural assets with technological and innovative knowledge to come up with products with distinctive features," the prime minister said at a seminar on creative industries on Monday morning.

"These products would bring about sustainable development and allow Thailand to be the country of thinkers," he said.

The government planned to set up a new state agency responsible for overseeing creative industry within six months.

The government would develop information technology infrastructure for 3G and WiMax, and provide laws to support creative industries, he said.

"This project comes under the government's economic stimulus plan in the second phase," Mr Abhisit said.

LNG boom to make Australia 'Middle East of gas'

Google/AFP, By Neil Sands (AFP)

MELBOURNE — Australia is poised to become "the Middle East of gas" as Asia's rapidly growing economies queue up to buy its vast reserves in liquid form, according to analysts.

The government last week approved the massive Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off Western Australia, which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said would cost 50 billion dollars (41 billion US) to build and would generate 6,000 jobs.

The joint venture by Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil is already underpinned by supply contracts with China and India worth more than 60 billion US dollars, and more customers are likely to sign up before it begins operating in 2014.

Gorgon is just one of a clutch of LNG projects planned in the next decade that analysts say will pump tens of billions of dollars into the economy and see Australia challenge Qatar as the world's major gas exporter.

Hailing Gorgon's 41 billion US supply contract with PetroChina this month -- the largest trade deal in Australian history -- the government said LNG was an important part of the country's future prosperity.

"This unprecedented export deal confirms Australia?s importance as a global energy superpower supplying vital clean energy resources and technologies to China and our other Asia-Pacific trading partners," Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said.

Asian demand for coal and iron ore have helped Australia's economy avoid recession during the global downturn but State One Stockbroking analyst Peter Kopetz said LNG was the next boom commodity.

The gas is liquefied for shipping abroad, where it is turned back into gas and distributed via pipeline.

"The numbers are phenomenal. When you look at them it's mind-boggling," he said. "It's going to be LNG boom times."

Australia exported 15.2 million tonnes of LNG worth 5.2 billion dollars in 2006, a figure the government estimates will quadruple to 60 million tonnes by 2015 if all currently planned projects proceed.

"Potentially, there could be many more projects coming on board," Kopetz said, pointing out that new discoveries were being made all the time.

He said Australia had the potential to become "the Middle East of gas" in coming decades as the world's oil supplies dwindled.

"Have a look at the Middle East, how they've benefited over the past 50-60 years from the oil boom," he said.

Western Australia is the centre of the LNG boom with three huge gas fields off its northwest coast: the Carnarvon, Browse and Bonaparte basins.

But Kopetz also points out that Queensland state on the east coast has significant reserves of coal seam gas (CSG), naturally occurring methane trapped by water deep underground that can be converted to LNG.

Shell plans a CSG plant in Queensland expected to produce up to 16 million tonnes of LNG a year, with other energy giants such as Britain's BG Group, ConocoPhillips, and Malaysia's Petronas also developing projects in the area.

Despite the proliferation of LNG schemes, EL&C Baillieu head of research Ivor Ries said there was sufficient demand from Asia.

He said existing LNG fields in Malaysia and Indonesia were coming to the end of their operational life, creating a market for Australian gas.

Asian buyers were also keen to source gas from Australia rather than outside the region because it offered a secure supply, Ries said.

"If you're in Asia, you don't have to route your ships through a war zone, which is the Middle East, and the distance is shorter," he said.

However, not everyone is happy about Australia's rush to exploit its LNG reserves, with green groups raising concerns that environmental factors are being neglected.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett has conceded Gorgon is "greenhouse-gas intensive" and could raise national emissions by up to one percent if ambitious plans to pump carbon dioxide emissions into the seabed fail.

But while Garrett included 28 conditions in his Gorgon approval designed to protect the environment, Ries said the government was determined to develop LNG resources.

He said the industry had the potential to overtake coal as the country's most valuable export, generating jobs, boosting the economy and filling government coffers with tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue.

"The tax figures are quite exciting for government. If all these projects go ahead, Canberra and the states of Queensland and Western Australia would be awash with cash," he said.

Indian economy grows 6.1 pct in April-June quarter

The Jakarta Post

The Associated Press, Mumbai, India | Mon, 08/31/2009 1:24 PM

The government says India's economy grew 6.1 percent in the April-June quarter from the same period a year earlier, up from 5.8 percent growth the prior quarter.

The figure slightly missed consensus expectations of 6.2 percent growth, largely because of weak manufacturing and agriculture growth.

India's exports have been ravaged by the global slowdown, but domestic consumption, boosted by government spending, has held up. Policymakers and economists now worry weak rainfall may dent the recovery and aggravate food price inflation.

Growth for the fiscal year ended March 31 skidded to 6.7 percent, its worst since 2003. From 2003-2008, India's economic growth averaged 8.8 percent a year.

Light moments

The Jakarta Post, Sun, 08/30/2009 7:13 PM

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda (right) speaks with East Timor Prime Minister (left) during a ceremony to commemorate the country’s 10 years of referendum in Dili on Sunday. (Antara/Marboen)

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SpecialReport: Timor Leste still struggling with poverty

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

PM plans 24 expressways totalling 2,300km, plus more public transport

Viet Nam News, (29-08-2009)

HCM CITY — Viet Nam plans to build 24 expressways and expressway sections with a total length of 2,381 km by 2020, as approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Under the plan to 2020 with a vision to 2030, all national roads will meet technical standards by 2020.

Workers at Thang Long Construction Corporation spead asphalt on the under-construction high-way from HCM City to Long An. Viet Nam plans to build 24 expressways with a total length of 2,381km by 2020. —VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Nhan

Construction of all large bridges will be completed and all bridges in disrepair on national roads will be rebuilt by 2020. All footbridges made from trees and bamboo will be replaced by concrete bridges, and provincial roads will be paved with asphalt or cement.

Wider roads

Roads wide enough for cars to travel to the centre of communes will also be built.

The plan envisages rapid development of public transport in large urban areas, especially in Ha Noi and HCM City.

It also calls for a transport infrastructure network and public transport facilities for people with disabilities.

The plan targets 5.5 billion passenger trips within a year by 2020, and freight volume of 760 million tonnes by 2020.

By 2020, the country is expected to have about 2.8-3 million automobiles.

The plan also aims to control the increasing number of individual vehicles, resolve traffic jam problems and ensure urban traffic safety. It aims to offer safe transpor at reasonable prices.

To 2030, the plan calls for the completion of the modernisation of road infrastructure, which will include the construction of more expressways, expressway sections, urban roads and beltway roads. — VNS

Calley’s apology will help the US realise its wartime responsibilities

Viet Nam News, (29-08-2009)

The Vietnamese Ambassador to the US, Le Cong Phung, talks to the Vietnam News Agency about former US Lieutenant William Calley’s recent public apology on the mass killings in the Vietnamese community of My Lai during the war and co-operation between the two countries since the end of the conflict.

Can you comment on the historic public apology to the My Lai massacre victims and their families from former Lieutenant William Calley, the only US officer who was convicted in connection with the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai in 1968?

The My Lai massacre occurred 41 years ago. It can be described as one of the most barbarous crimes the US committed to the Vietnamese people during the American War. We think the event awakened mankind and bolstered the anti-war movement, which prompted the US to consider withdrawing its troops from Viet Nam and accepting defeat.

In my opinion, Calley’s remarks, though late, are a good deed because he talked about his remorse and his apologies to the victims, their families and the nation.

Also, it’s not just his own feelings. It truly reflects the thoughts of his fellow soldiers who were involved in the massacre, and also the thoughts of a majority of Americans.

Therefore, I think that although it’s rather late, it’s still good news. It is another move that will help American people with a conscience more clearly understand their responsibilities for the crimes the US committed against the Vietnamese people.

And now maybe they will take more responsibility and work with Viet Nam to address the consequences of the war.

What is your evaluation of US co-operation with Viet Nam to address the consequences of the war?

Since the war ended, the two countries have worked together a lot at multi-level forums on overcoming the consequences of the war. The US administration, the American people, schools and non-governmental organisations have also made significant contributions to the process. However, it can be said that what the US has done is not much and not enough.

A victim of the war, yet we have, right after the war, helped the US search for those Americans still missing in Viet Nam in the spirit of humanitarianism.

The US administration and the American people have highly valued the goodwill and tolerance of the Vietnamese people and the country’s leaders.

On the US side, they have also co-operated with us to search for missing Vietnamese people, particularly in providing related documents. They have also assisted us in clearing unexploded ordnance and bombs left over from the war and in removing Agent Orange from contaminated areas.

A number of US organisations, including some led by Vietnamese people, have lent us a helping hand by providing medical treatment and assistance for people who have become handicapped by the war and those with disabilities caused by Agent Orange. There are organisations that have worked with us for almost 20 years and the US public has shown great interest in ways to address the war’s consequences.

The US administration has paid a certain level of attention to the work. US organisations have sought every means to step up bilateral co-operation, especially the US administration’s co-operation in settling the war’s consequences.

As mentioned before, the US administration has done a bit, but not enough. In some respects, they have been trying to evade responsibility for the crimes they committed. For example, the US court rejected the law suit against the US producers of Agent Orange filed by Viet Nam and backed by international humanitarian organisations.

We should understand that if Viet Nam-US ties are growing, there will be more positive signs in co-operation, especially in the US administration’s readiness in settling the consequences of the war.

The US congress has reserved a certain amount of funding for the removal of toxic chemicals. Relevant departments, including the Department of Defence and the State Department, are thinking of increasing financial aid to settle the consequences of the war.

I believe that Calley’s remarks and the current movement pursued by Americans will make the US administration, in the near future, more aware of their responsibilities and no longer evade responsibility for the crimes they committed.

What is your position on the Viet Nam-US relationship at present? What issues need to be dealt with to strengthen relations?

The Viet Nam-US relationship has seen positive, if not very positive developments recently. Bilateral co-operation has been strengthened and increased in various areas, including security, national defence, economy, trade, investment, education and science and technology.

I think that in the near future, it will continue on the right track. I’m sure the new administration of President Barak Obama will continue to increase bilateral co-operation with Viet Nam.

Next year, we will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the normalisation of relations and the establishment of diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and the US. Both countries are currently preparing for the event. We are now organising a visit to the US by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Both parties are discussing a US trip by the Vietnamese Defence Minister and the US is also preparing for visits by senior officials from the US Department of State to Viet Nam.

Both countries have a lot to discuss and prepare for next year, to keep the impetus of our bilateral relationship going. Firstly, we have to implement the agreements already signed between the two countries. Secondly, we have to further strengthen co-operation on issues of common concern, not only in the areas of economics, politics and education, but also on issues like climate change, anti-terrorism and regional security, especially as next year we take over ASEAN’s rotating presidency.

The US recently moved to step up relations with South-east Asian countries, especially with ASEAN. It is now even more necessary for Viet Nam, when it takes the ASEAN presidency next year, to raise the level of co-operation with the US to cement relations between ASEAN and the US.

I expect the US Secretary of State to come to Viet Nam to attend ASEAN meetings and also visit the country next year when Viet Nam will be ASEAN president.

If the US and ASEAN reach an agreement on top-level meetings, there is the possibility that President Obama will attend the US-ASEAN summit and also visit Viet Nam

Therefore, the Viet Nam-US relationship has developed well and there is a relatively stable foundation for it to keep growing.

We can see that with the new Obama administration and with both sides committed, the Viet Nam-US relationship will certainly improve in the future. — VNS

GM power has shifted to China


SHANGHAI -- Largely overlooked in last month's sweeping management reorganization of the new post-bankruptcy General Motors Co. was a recentering of power to Shanghai.

Nick Reilly went from overseeing GM's Asia operations based in Shanghai to overseeing all of the automaker's operations outside of North America, except for Opel -- ending decades of bureaucratic silos that had carved up the globe into regional divisions.

So while GM's Canada and Mexico operations report through the United States, most of the rest of the world reports through China.

"It should signal to everybody that certainly North America is going to be important to righting the ship, but basically the bread is going to be buttered out of Asia," said Michael Robinet, vice president of global vehicle forecasts at CSM Worldwide. "GM fully understands that, and that's the reason why they put more decision-making capability out of Asia for their future fortunes."

As GM looks to sell off majority control of its Opel division in Europe, the Detroit automaker will likely draw on lessons from its China operations, where it is partnered with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and Wuling Motors, for managing its new relationship.

GM is working with the German government in what's become an increasingly messy process to find a majority owner for Opel. Among the potential partners: Magna and a Russian bank or Belgium-based investment company RHJ International SA.

GM has learned much from its Chinese partners.

"We are familiar with operating in a shared ownership environment, which is quite different than what I call a 'command-and-control environment,' " Kevin Wale, president of GM China, told the Free Press during a recent interview. "You have to communicate very well. You have to understand that both sides of a partnership have to win all of the time."

That communication requires time.

"We often say that we make the same decision four or five times," Wale said. "But you have to do that to make sure everyone is lined up and that people aren't working against each other."

Shining jewel

While GM sales in the United States are down 37.7% to 1.1 million so far this year, its sales in China are growing at an astonishing rate.

GM's July sales in China through its joint ventures increased 77.7% to 144,593, which the company says makes it the best July ever in its books. For the first seven months of the year, GM's China sales were up 42.8% to 959,035, according to GM.

In early August, GM celebrated the sale of its 1 millionth vehicle in China this year -- a man named Ye Banjun purchased a silver Buick LaCrosse -- with a giant cake.

"Asia is the shining jewel that they have," George Magliano, an industry expert at IHS Global Insight, said of GM.

"If you look at GM going forward, they are a smaller company, they are more refocused. If they turn themselves around and they have resources ... to put behind things, it's going to be China and Asia."

Low-end stimulus

Some of GM's success in China this year, Wale said, is credited to the Chinese government's stimulus aimed at attracting lower-income, rural shoppers to new cars.

"The government has been very active in promoting low-end consumption of vehicles," he said.

This has helped GM's Wuling venture, which saw sales jump 90.7% to 87,925 in July compared with last year. That growth is driven largely by the Wuling Sunshine minivan.

GM recently announced a new deal with its Chinese partners to export Wuling mini-commercial vehicles from China to South America, the Middle East and North America.

GM also looks poised to enter into a venture with China FAW Group Corp., China's second-biggest automaker, to make light trucks, Bloomberg News reported last week.

"So far, China's growth has exceeded anything anybody thought possible," Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis, said in July.

And for GM, said Magliano, Shanghai is "the crown jewel in the new empire."

Free Press business writer Jewel Gopwani contributed to this report.

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"Zombie suppliers" haunt manufacturers

From beer to banks, Singapore Inc. expands across Asia

By Bernice Han (AFP)

SINGAPORE — Next time you stay in a luxury resort, buy a loaf of bread, open a bank account, sit on a massage chair, grab a sushi or sip a beer anywhere in Asia, check the company's country of origin.

Chances are you are dealing with a brand based in Singapore, the affluent city-state that has broken beyond its compact size to become a regional economic powerhouse.

With the global economy apparently on the mend, Singapore Inc. is all set to reap the benefits of stepped-up spending by Asia's middle and upper classes in the coming years.

Singapore Airlines has long been an iconic brand, but newer names like resort and spa operator Banyan Tree have established themselves as top-tier players in the region, and their ambitions go even further.

"From the very beginning when we created Banyan Tree, we said that we needed to be a global company," the firm's founder and executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping said at a recent news conference.

"If you don't globalise... you eventually stagnate," he added.

Conceived in Singapore and born on the territory of an abandoned tin mine on the Thai island of Phuket 15 years ago, Banyan Tree has established itself as a leading luxury hospitality chain rivaling the likes of Four Seasons.

It is working to spread its formula of Asian romance, rejuvenation and sensuality to other continents with exclusive properties costing as much as 3,300 US dollars a night to stay in.

Over the next 12 months, the chain expects to open resorts in the United Arab Emirates as well as Acapulco, Mexico.

Other Singaporean companies are enjoying similar success throughout the Asian region, establishing themselves in a diverse field of industries.

OSIM, a maker of electronic massage chairs and other lifestyle products like air purifiers, has over 1,100 outlets spread across 28 countries concentrated mainly in the region.

"Singapore is a small country with a small domestic market, therefore it is critical for us to grow an external economy with Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and now China," OSIM founder and chief executive Ron Sim told AFP.

"Going forward, we believe that Korea and Japan are markets we are looking forward to, and India will be key too," he said.

Budget carrier Tiger Airways is also becoming a mainstay in the travel industry, having established a wide network across the Asia-Pacific region with flights to 19 destinations from Singapore.

"Asia remains a priority," said Rosalynn Tay, Tiger Airways' managing director for Singapore.

"The region has a large population base and air transport remains the most practical mode of transport."

It is not to be mistaken for Tiger Beer, now one of the most popular beverages in Southeast Asia.

First brewed locally in 1932 when Singapore was still under British colonial rule, it has won over drinkers beyond the region thanks to aggressive marketing and expansion of brewing operations to key markets.

Bakery chain BreadTalk, which gained instant success at home with its freshly baked buns, has moved on to build a loyal base of customers in Indonesia, the Philippines, China and Hong Kong.

Sakae Sushi, a restaurant that serves affordable Japanese food on conveyor belts, now has more than 70 outlets throughout the region including the main cities of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and China.

Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts, a restaurant group founded here by a Hong Kong family 18 years ago, now has restaurants in Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and China.

It even has branches in Hong Kong, competing with the best Cantonese restaurants on their own turf.

Singapore's three local banks -- DBS Group Holdings, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank -- are also well established with branches and affiliates spread across Asia.

Serviced apartment operator Ascott Group can lay claim to be the largest in its industry with 25,000 units in 66 cities in Asia, Europe and the Gulf region.

In China alone, Ascott runs over 5,000 serviced residence units in 12 cities, the company said.

"Having a global network of properties gives us economies of scale and the cross-selling opportunities across different regions and properties," said chief executive Lim Ming Yan.

The company is planning to open its first property in Georgia by the end of this year and in Kazakhstan in the second-half of 2010, he said.

Indonesia’s pull factor

By CECILIA KOK, The Star Online

DRIVEN by its strong domestic consumption, Indonesia has proved its economic resilience in the midst of a global slowdown after posting a relatively strong growth of 4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the three months to June.

With a population of 226 million – the fourth largest in the world – Indonesia is increasingly being seen as an attractive investment destination by many foreign investors, including those from Malaysia.

In fact, Malaysian companies have become more active with their investments since the 1990s to tap the huge market opportunities that the country offers.

Among the sectors where Malaysian presence can be found are plantations, banking, telecommunications and infrastructure.

Cultivating growth

It is believed that about 50% of Indonesia’s oil palm plantations are controlled by Malaysian companies, including IJM Plantations Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, Asiatic Development Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and IOI Corp Bhd.

Analysts opine that the limited agriculture land in Malaysia would continue to drive Malaysian planters to expand their plantation land bank.

Take IJM Plantations. Since last year, the company has been eyeing to acquire 40,000ha of oil palm estates to add to its existing land bank.

With 70% of its acquisition target met as at end-July, IJM Plantations is expected to complete its buying spree of oil palm estates there by the end of the year.

But expanding plantation land bank is not a smooth process, as foreign companies can be bogged down by costly land prices and bureaucratic red tape. In addition, companies also face the risks of “disruptive” changes in the terms and regulations set by authorities.

Singular Asset Management Sdn Bhd chief investment officer Teoh Kok Lin explains that such risks are a common problem in emerging economies like Indonesia.

But he says conditions have improved over the last five years, particularly under the current leadership that has been focusing on providing political stability and implementing sound economic policies to boost Indonesia’s economy.

Huge lure

Teoh commends the liberal policies practised by the Indonesian government for its banking system, such as allowing foreign equity ownership of up to 100%, as a huge draw to investors.

With banking penetration being just 33% of its GDP, the market offers tremendous medium- to long-term prospects for foreign bankers.

Among the Malaysian banks that have jumped on the Indonesian bandwagon are Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB), through CIMB Niaga, and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), through its controversial acquisition of PT Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII).

BCHB’s investment has been a fruitful venture, as CIMB Niaga accounted for 22% of the group’s pre-tax profit for the second quarter ended June, compared with 12% in the previous quarter. Contributions from its Indonesian operations are the main driver for its 2% y-o-y net profit growth to RM663.2mil for the quarter in review.

As for Maybank, it is targeting to break even on its investment in BII only by 2013. Maybank completed its acquisition of the bank at a whopping RM8.6bil in October last year.

In the telecommunications sector, Axiata Group Bhd and Maxis Communications Bhd have become active players in that market.

Axiata holds about 84% stake in Indonesia’s third-largest mobile phone operator, PT Excelcomindo Pratama Tbk, while Maxis owns 44% in PT Natrindo Telepon Seluler.

Going forward, Teoh believes that the pressing need for quality infrastructure there will make the construction sector the next attraction for Malaysian companies.

He sees emerging opportunities in the sector given the government focus in the area. In the Indonesian 2009 budget, US$7.5bil had been allocated for infrastructure spending and an additional US$703mil for labour intensive infrastructure projects in the country.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Consumers in SE Asia more confident

The Jakarta Post, Maarten Kallenberg, Analyst | Fri, 08/28/2009 10:01 AM

Consumer confidence is rising in the Southeast Asian region. The Asian Consumer Confidence Index by InsightAsia reports positive increases in consumer confidence in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

A previous article by InsightAsia, a market research agency that specializes in the Asia Pacific region, described how consumer confidence in Indonesia has developed positively from the first to the second quarters of this year. This latest report broadens the scope to include other countries which are also now enjoying similar trends.

These positive indicators on consumer confidence in Indonesia are also being found in other countries surveyed. The Consumer Confidence Index of Indonesia according to InsightAsia is now showing similar results to that of Malaysia.

Both countries have moved up from a somewhat negative view to just below the neutral level of 100 according to this new index. The rating for Indonesia increased from 83 to 97, and for Malaysia from 83 to 94. Singapore was the most negative country in the first quarter, with an index indicator of only 62, but boosted its consumer confidence by 26 points to 88 in the second quarter, leaving Thailand at the bottom of the consumer confidence list. Thailand has increased its index only marginally, by 6 points from 72 to 78, reflecting the specific local conditions.


Consumers in Indonesia and Malaysia are similar in their optimism about the future, expecting the economy and their financial well-being to improve.

However there are differences too. Indonesian consumers feel neutral about the current state of the economy, while Malaysians are negative. On the other hand, Malaysians are more positive about their current financial well-being.

Consumers in Singapore are less optimistic about the future than those in Indonesia and Malaysia. Though Singaporeans have become less negative about the economy than they were in the first quarter, they don’t expect recovery in the coming year and also don’t expect their financial well-being to improve.

Even though consumers in Singapore have boosted their confidence since the first quarter, they are still more negative than Indonesian and Malaysian consumers.

Thailand has achieved a smaller increase in consumer confidence than Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Thai consumers overall are not dissatisfied with their financial well-being, but they are very negative about their economy and don’t expect recovery in the near future or the next year.

In addition to the continuing effects of the global recession, Thailand is also clearly suffering from the negative impacts of political instability which are affecting consumer confidence.

Violent demonstrations have received worldwide media attention, quite possibly changing the perspectives of some potential tourists and investors, encouraging a proportion of them to stay away and seek other destinations.

Despite these problems Thailand has increased its Consumer Confidence Index by a modest 6 points compared to the first quarter of 2009, but cannot keep up with the more robust improvements in confidence in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

China is included in the survey for the first time in the second quarter. Chinese consumers are in a different state of mind than those of the other four countries.

Their Consumer Confidence Index is higher at 123. Consumers are positive about the present state of the economy and its outlook, as well as their financial well-being.

However an important indicator of consumer confidence is the willingness to buy durable consumer goods. Consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand all indicated in this survey that this is a bad time for such purchases.

This demonstrates that even though confidence is increasing and consumers in these countries have become more optimistic about the future, they are still reluctant to commit to major purchases.

China is the only of the five countries in the survey where consumers feel it is a good time to buy major household items.

Recent economic reports show signs of recovery for the Southeast Asian economies. Analysts refer to public spending and regional and domestic consumer demand as the key drivers behind these trends. Asian consumer confidence is an important indicator of consumer demand and though the recession is not over, the results for the second quarter of the Asian Consumer Confidence Index are encouraging.

The writer is Head of Consumer Confidence Index at InsightAsia Research Group. He can be contacted for more information about the report at

Solidarity group seeks international support for Timor Leste

Yemris Fointuna , The Jakarta Post , Dili | Wed, 08/26/2009 4:59 PM

A solidarity network for Timor Leste will hold a conference in Dili from Aug. 27-29 to rally international support for poverty alleviation and programs to fight injustice in the tiny country.

Solidarity activist Lita Sarmento said Wednesday that members of the network from at least 17 countries had confirmed their participation in the conference, which will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the self-determination referendum that led to Timor Leste’s independence from Indonesia.

Sarmento said representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Finland, Britain, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and the US were expected to give recommendations on programs to help Timor Leste prosper.

John Miller of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) said the conference would formulate efforts to propel development programs and protect human rights and justice in Timor Leste.

Dili is peaceful ahead of anniversary celebrations. Outside the presidential office, the flags of UN member countries were hoisted.

A number of people marked the day with a visit to victims of past human rights violations.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ASEAN urged to form human rights court

Ary Hermawan , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 08/26/2009 1:40 PM

A coalition of 70 Asian NGOs called on ASEAN countries Tuesday to create a regional human rights court, amid criticism over the grouping's failure to form a powerful rights commission and to push Myanmar to free Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Solidarity for Asian People's Advocacy Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights (SAPA-TFAHR) said it had sent an open letter to the high-level panel tasked with drafting the political declaration to the terms of reference (TOR) of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission for Human Rights.

ASEAN recently approved the terms of reference establishing the first-ever human rights commission in the region, which has been widely criticized as powerless and even accused of being no more than "window dressing" for the organization once dubbed an exclusive club of dictators.

Indonesia, one of the only two full-fledged democracies in the region, secured commitments from other countries to sign a political declaration in return for its endorsement of the terms of reference it had earlier strongly opposed.

The declaration will provide a mandate that the rights commission, slated to be officially established in October, will be reviewed every five years.

The ASEAN panel will convene in Jakarta from Aug. 26 to 27.

In their letter, the NGOs said they demanded the regional grouping establish within 10 years a full-fledged regional human rights mechanism, whose standards they said had to be on a par with those of the mechanisms in other regions such as Africa and Europe, which already had rights courts.

"The evolution to develop protection mandates and a full-fledged human rights mechanism may take 100 years, or 10 years, or less," Indonesia's Rafendi Djamin, who co-signed the open letter to the ASEAN panel, said at a press conference in Jakarta.

"We're saying let's set a time frame, the sooner the better, but *it* should be no more than 10 years."

Sinapan Sammydorai, from the Think Center Singapore, said ASEAN countries must set a clear timeline for their human rights agenda, as they did when they decided to make the region a single market by 2015.

Honey Tan, from the ASEAN Women's Caucus, said although the political declaration was merely a declaration and therefore nonbinding, it could be used as an indicator to measure the improvements made by ASEAN.

She said the current TOR to the rights commission "lacked clarity" and "mostly contradict each other".

She also highlighted the fact the TOR did not specifically mention the concept of equality in its principle section, and instead used "negative statements" such as "avoidance of double standards" and "avoidance of politicization".

"If we want to say equality, *then* say equality; don't put it in the negative," she said.

Chalida Tajaroensuk, from Thailand's People's Empowerment Foundation, said the declaration "will serve as a guideline for the direction of the commission in the future.

In the next five years there will be an amendment to the TOR and we hope the protection elements can be included."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ASEAN Economies Have Emerged From Recession, Says Moody's

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Nearly all Asean economies have emerged from recession based on second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) results, according to Moody's

Output was lower compared to the same period a year earlier but higher than the first quarter, spectacularly so in some countries, said Alaistair Chan, associate economist at Moody's, in a report Tuesday.

National accounts data yet to be released, including for Malaysia and the Philippines, are likely to tell a similar story, Chan said.

Malaysia's second-quarter GDP data, due to be out tomorrow, is also expected to show an improvement, albeit milder, he said.

Southeast Asia's bounce was first visible in industrial production, and after reaching a bottom around January, production growth has rebounded in an almost perfect V shape, Chan said.

He said fiscal and monetary stimulus measures have played a large part, but a major factor in some economies has been inventory restocking.

The scale of the inventory reduction among Asean producers will boost growth in subsequent quarters, especially in Thailand, where inventories continued to fall in the second quarter, he added.

Yet the pace of improvement is already slowing, according to Chan.

The upward trend in industrial production growth has moderated across all Asean economies, he said, adding that producers have a clearer idea of final demand and are producing at a level that does not induce large changes in inventories.

If this moderation continues, Chan said it will suggest that the rebound in GDP growth in the second quarter is unlikely to be repeated in coming quarters.

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