Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joint Launching Of Formula 1 Cars Abandoned.

The earlier proposed cost-cutting plan by Formula 1 teams to publicly launch their 2010 cars together in Valencia, Spain next month had been abandoned.

This was revealed by one team source to Reuters on Wednesday. It was understood that one of the major reason for abandoning the plan was that some teams would not be able to have their cars track-ready by then.

Lotus F1 Racing team principal, Tony Fernandes, had earlier this month said that his team won't be ready with their cars and added in jest that he might be at the joint-launch with a Matchbox car.

Then there were also fears that Ferrari, with double world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, might eclipsed all other teams if a joint-launch was held in Spain, come rain or shine!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Michael Schumacher Is Back For More

It's confirmed! 7-times former F1 champion, Michael Schumacher had come out of retirement to put his name on the dotted line for a one-year deal to drive for the Mercedes GP Petronas F1 team next season.

Schumacher signed the deal at the team's Brackley office in England on Tuesday, after months of speculations. The deal is worth 7 million euros (USD 9.9mil/RM35mil) with option to extend beyond 2010.

With their new and latest signing, Mercedes will parade an all-German line-up having earlier recruited another German, Nico Rosberg.

More stories here and here.

(Updated) Reactions to Michael's return:

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, 2008 world champion for McLaren:

“It’s great to have Michael back in Formula One. He is a legend and a really nice guy, and I am happy for him that he has once again got an opportunity to do the best job in the world, race in Formula One.

“I used to watch Michael race when I was in the junior categories, and I always hoped that I would be in Formula One while he was still around. I’m really looking forward to seeing him on the track and back at the top.”

Nico Rosberg, Schumacher’s Mercedes team mate:

“It is fantastic that Michael is returning to Formula One and will be my team mate. It’s a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time. I’m sure that we will form a very strong partnership as he will have lost none of his speed.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal:

“Michael’s outstanding record in Formula One speaks for itself and I am looking forward to working with him again. With the completion of our driver line-up, I believe that we now have the most exciting partnership in Formula One with Michael and Nico, who provide the perfect mix of talent, experience, speed and youth.”

Norbert Haug, Mercedes motorsport vice-president:

“Seven world championship titles, more than any racing driver, 91 grands prix wins, more than any racing driver. Michael has more of everything than every other driver.

“Our sporting ambition has always been that Michael should drive again where his professional career had started and Michael knew that. We often joked about it after the races and discussed the prospect seriously several times during the last 14 years in Formula One.

“It didn’t happen in 1995, it didn’t happen in 1998 and it didn’t happen in 2005. I am delighted that it will now happen in 2010.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:

“I think I share the sentiment of every single Formula One fan across the world by saying that Michael Schumacher’s return to the sport is fantastically exciting and a thrilling prospect for the 2010 season.

“I’ve no doubt that Michael has studiously examined this opportunity from every possible angle, and that he’s convinced he still possesses the same fearsome drive and determination required to succeed in Formula One.

“Obviously, Michael is a seven-times champion and has absolutely nothing left to prove, so it will be fascinating to see what he can achieve in a new team.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mercedes GP Petronas

Petronas, the Malaysian national oil company, was today announced by Mercedes as the title sponsor for the Mercedes GP Formula 1 team next season.

The oil company had earlier last week announced that it was pulling out of Formula 1 and would not be sponsoring any F1 team for the 2010 season. They had previously sponsored the BMW-Sauber team and will remain the main backer of the Malaysian GP at Sepang - third round of the season to be held on April 4, 2010.

The team formerly known as Brawn GP, will now be officially named Mercedes GP Petronas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lotus F1 Racing Names Drivers For 2010

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will race for Lotus when the Malaysian-backed Formula One team returns to the starting grid next season.

Malaysian Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek told a news conference Monday that Trulli and Kovalainen, who was replaced by F1 champion Jenson Button at McLaren, would drive for the team next season.

Both have signed three-year contracts, said Lotus boss Tony Fernandes, the airline mogul backing the team. He declined to provide financial details.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenge. I have been in Formula One for many years but there's something extremely motivating about helping to build the team from the ground level up," Trulli said in a statement released at the news conference.

Kovalainen said he signed up because he believes Lotus "has a lot of potential and a very good chance of being a successful team in the future."

Trulli, 35, was left without a team following Toyota's exit from F1 last month to cut costs and focus on its core business.

The signing was "another milestone" for Lotus, which will be one of five new teams next season, Ahmad Shabery said. Malaysia's Fairuz Fauzy will be the reserve driver.

"The team has "made good progress in building and testing the car successfully," the minister said, adding it is "on track to make an impact in the next season."

Lotus last raced in 1994. The other five new teams for 2010 are USF1, Campos, Sauber and Manor, which will compete as Virgin Racing.

Kovalainen, 28, warned that Lotus' return to F1 "will not be easy and we will have tough times at the beginning."

"We have to be realistic and keep the focus on developing the team to a state where we can operate like any other current top F1 team," the Finn said in his statement.

Trulli, a former Jordan and Renault driver, has competed in 216 races since his debut for Minardi in 1997. The Italian's lone victory came at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2004.

Trulli finished on the podium three times last season, scoring 32.5 points to finish eighth in the drivers' championship. He spent just over four seasons with Toyota.

Kovalainen began his F1 career in 2007 with Renault before switching to McLaren in 2008. His only win came at the 2008 Hungarian GP.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lawyer Slams Britain For Hiding Batang Kali Massacre Report

By Neville Spykerman

Family members of those killed in the Batang Kali Massacre called on the British Government today to declassify a crucial investigation report to ensure justice for the victims.

Lawyer Quek Ngee Meng, who represents the families, wants full access to a 1970 investigation report by Detective Chief Superintended Frank William who was tasked with investigating the massacre of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops at the height of the communist insurgency in 1948.

On August 21, the British Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a provisional decision to reject reopening the case.

According to Quek, the provisional decision left open a window for them to make further representations for an official probe.

“But we require a full disclosure of Frank William’s report to make the representation.”

Lawyers, representing the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre, have been allowed to view the documents at Scotland Yard in the United Kingdom but had to take an oath of secrecy and were not allowed to make copies.

Quek lashed out at the UK government for what he described as a delaying tactic.

“Witnesses of the massacre are dying as the matter drags on while the provisional decision prevents us from seeking a judicial review in UK courts.” he said.

Family members of victims and supporters gathered outside the British High Commission this morning to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the massacre.

Armed with banners, the 30-strong crowd gathered to pray for 20 minutes under the watchful eye of police. Quek vowed that they would continue gathering each year until justice was done.

The Batang Kali victims were rounded up by Scots Guards before they were shot and killed. The British government has never acknowledged the killings as a massacre, despite eyewitness accounts, including from surviving members of the Scots Guards.

Source: Malaysian Insider. (Updated) Read other stories here and here.


"Tiada maaf bagi mu, British!" At least the CPM had the dignity to acknowledged and apologised to those whose kins (innocent civillians) were killed during that time. So now, shall we deny entry to the country to the British as well? Afterall, they massacred local residents of Malaya. If the British government had never acknowledge the massacre as one, what do they describe it as? Collateral damage? Ha ha!

Is the government of Malaysia doing anything to help the families of the victims to seek justice from the British? Or are they on their high horses with arms folded, see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing? Is that a wise thing to do? I doubt it. As I see it, the British are still 'colonising' Malaysia, come rain or shine!

Renault F1 To Remain?

Renault to remain in F1: report

Renault to remain in F1: report

Renault will compete in Formula One next season after agreement was reached on its future, the BBC reported on Friday.

But the French car manufacturer will only hold a minority 25 percent shareholding in the team.

The team's employees are set to be notified at their headquarters outside Paris on Friday, with an official announcement likely next week, the BBC said.

The two front-runners in the battle to take over Renault were Luxembourg businessman Gerard Lopez, and David Richards, the boss of the British motor racing engineering firm Prodrive and former team principal of Benetton and BAR in F1.

Lopez is considered the favourite to take over Renault under the auspices of his Genii Capital investment company.

The team's future has been in doubt since Renault held an emergency board meeting in early November to discuss whether to continue in F1.

Renault recorded losses of 2.7 billion euros in the first four months of the year and are considering their future in a sport which costs about 100 million euros a year.

There has been speculation over Renault's future in F1 ever since the FIA, motorsport's governing body, issued a lifetime ban in September to their former team principal Flavio Briatore for ordering Nelson Piquet Junior to deliberately crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Pat Symonds, Renault's former chief engineer, was banned for five years.

Both men are currently appealing against their respective punishments.

Even without the fall-out from that scandal, worldwide economic problems have also called into question Renault's continued involvement in the sport during a 12-month period where other volume car manufacturers such as Honda, BMW and Toyota have all pulled out of Formula One.

Source: AFP

Mercedes GP Ready To Offer Schumacher A Drive

Mercedes 'set to offer Schumacher driver's deal'

Mercedes 'set to offer Schumacher driver's deal'

New Formula One team Mercedes Grand Prix are set to offer a driver's contract to retired former world champion Michael Schumacher, the daily Bild reported on Friday.

Mercedes's team boss Ross Brawn, who masterminded all of Schumacher's seven world titles with Benetton and Ferrari, is ready to offer the German an annual salary of seven million euros, the newspaper reported.

German car manufacturer Mercedes took over control of Brawn GP this autumn but British world champion Jenson Button is joining the McLaren team, leading to speculation that Schumacher is set to link up with the new team.

"As long as the composition of our driving duo has not been given there will be rumours," a Mercedes spokesman told German sports agency SID.

Mercedes has signed German Nick Heidfeld but have not yet revealed their choice of second driver.

Schumacher retired in 2006 and is currently employed as an advisor to the Ferrari team.

He almost returned to competition last year in place of Brazilian Felipe Massa, who suffered a serious car accident with Ferrari, but his return was cancelled because of a painful neck.

Source: AFP

Lotus F1 Racing To Name Drivers On Monday

The new Malaysian-backed Lotus Formula One team will make an announcement on Monday about their 2010 drivers, principal Tony Fernandes said on Friday.

"Bringing home two drivers for the Lotus F1 team. Announcement Monday," the aviation entrepreneur said on his Twitter page after attending the governing FIA's gala awards ceremony in Monaco.

Experienced Italian Jarno Trulli, who drove for Toyota this year, has been strongly linked with the team and Fernandes confirmed to Reuters this week that the veteran was on a four-man short list.

So too was Malaysian rookie Fairuz Fauzy, who could be handed a reserve role, if not one of the two race seats.

Lotus are one of four new teams entering the sport next season in an expanded 26 car starting grid.

Source: Reuters

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Scoring System For F1 2010

Formula One's governing body will decide today whether to change next year's scoring system so that the top 10 drivers can take points, with race winners collecting 25.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement yesterday the proposal, made by the Formula One commission, would be put to its World Motor Sport Council for final approval.

It said the recommendation was due to the expansion of the starting grid to 13 teams in 2010 from 10 at present.

Under the new system, the race winner would get 25 points with 20 for second and 15 for third. The remaining points would be allocated 10-8-6-5-3-2-1.

The current format awards points to the top eight in a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 sequence.

Formula One will have four new teams next year after the withdrawal of Toyota and BMW, whose team will continue as Sauber.

The F1 commission is made up of representatives of the teams, promoters, suppliers and sponsors. Yesterday's meeting was chaired by Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and also attended by new FIA president Jean Todt.

The FIA said the commission had also agreed to allow champions Brawn to change their name to Mercedes after the German car maker's takeover without loss of performance benefits and television revenue.

"The team will continue to receive payments based on its historical performance. This has been granted on a one-off exceptional basis due to Mercedes-Benz's long-term involvement and commitment to Formula One," it added. — Reuters

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Atkinson To Return For At Least A Six-Pack

Australian former Subaru driver Chris Atkinson, seen here in 2008, is set to return to the world rally circuit for at least six races next year, World Rally Circuit promoters said Wednesday.

Australian former Subaru driver Chris Atkinson is set to return to the world rally circuit for at least six races next year, World Rally Circuit promoters said Wednesday.

"Nothing has been signed but things are coming together and an announcement will be made soon for at least six rallies," said Simon Long of promoters ISC.

Atkinson, 30, came fifth in the 2008 championship before Subaru withdrew from the competition.

In 2009 he made his only appearance of the season in a C4 for the Citroen Junior Team.

Atkinson, who has six podium race finishes to his name in four seasons of racing, will likely take a position with a private team set up by US rally driver Ken Block. -AFP

Juniors To Taste Formula BMW Action

Four local junior racers have been selected to shoulder the Petronas Mofaz Racing Team's challenge in the Formula BMW series for the 2010 season.

They are Calvin Wong Weng Man, 17, Ryan Ritchie, 16, Abang Amirul Hadi Abang Khirudin, 17, and Natasha Nur Ida Adam Seatter, 16.

"The four are the products of Petronas' talent development programme at the oil giant's Petronas Formula Xperience (PFX) racing school," Petronas Mofaz Racing's team manager Mohamed Fauzy Abdul Hamid told reporters here today.

He said the Formula BMW series was a world-level competition and could set the stage for the youngsters to go to bigger racing events like the Formula 1.

Natasha Nur Ida, the sole female racer in the quartet, said she was overjoyed to be selected into the team.

This year, the speed demon came in third place in the Yamaha SL Cup Malaysia which was held at the Sepang Circuit here on July 16 and will be taking part in the Asian Karting Open Championship in Macau next year. -Bernama

Here's wishing them all the best, come rain or shine!

Joint Launching Of F1 Cars Next Month

Formula One teams are planning to present their 2010 cars together in Spain next month instead of holding individual launches, bosses said today.

“We have agreed among all the teams to do a joint launch,” Mercedes Grand Prix chief executive Nick Fry, whose team won both titles this year as Brawn GP, told a motorsport business forum.


A Schumacher Comeback With Mercedes GP?

A Michael Schumacher comeback would be good for Formula One, Mercedes Grand Prix chief executive Nick Fry said today.

Mercedes, who have taken over the title-winning Brawn team, have been linked in media reports with the retired German great now that Britain’s world champion Jenson Button has moved from Brawn to McLaren.

Fry refused to confirm any talks with Schumacher, saying only that “we are discussing things with a number of different drivers”, but said the sport should welcome the return of anyone of his stature.

“I think whether it be Michael or another prior world champion, I think that just adds another very interesting element,” he told Reuters at a motorsport business forum in Monaco.

“Can a 40 or 41-year-old compete against someone who is 24 years old? In other sports people have proven that they are very capable even at that age,” he added.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chin Peng Ready To Face War Crime Tribunal

Chin Peng, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Malaya says he is ready to face a war crime tribunal, provided it is a free and fair trial.

He says he is sceptical it will be so (free and fair), and if the judges are appointed by the Malaysian government, he will not attend. He told the news portal Malaysiakini during an interview held in Hatyai last Monday.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Two-Car Team For Proton In APRC & IRC 2010?

Proton driver Alister McRae has given Proton its first ever podium finish in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge by taking third place in the Rally of Scotland.

McRae, who now lives in Perth Western Australia, made a triumphal return to his native Perth shire in Scotland to pilot the rapidly improving Satria Neo to its best result so far.

Scottish hero McRae reveled in his appearance on the Rally of
Scotland, just sevendays after almost capturing a podium on the Rally of China in a similar Satria Neo S2000.

McRae, a former British and Asia-Pacific champion, was delighted with the Mellors Elliott Motorsport Proton Satria Neo S2000 and says he now the wants to do more rallies in the car in 2010.

The Satria Neo S2000 only homologated in October 2008 and made its debut on the IRC in June at the Belgium Ypres Rally and the all-new car has quickly shown its potential.

Team principal Chris Mellors has confirmed that a full IRC campaign alongside an attack on the Asia Pacific series is already in preparation for 2010.

"We're looking at a four-car program for 2010 - two in the IRC and two in the FIA Asia-Pacific Championship," he said.

"Alister has driven for us in the Asia-Pacific series this year and until this weekend that was what we were planning for 2010 as well, but I know he's enjoying this weekend a great deal so it
could be interesting sorting that out."

McRae himself was in typically ebullient form all weekend, and was delighted to record Proton's first podium finish in the IRC.

"The Proton chassis is one of the best I have ever driven".

"Yes we're doing the full IRC next year. We are looking forward to coming back and fighting these guys again," Alister said.

"Kris Meeke (rally winner) has christened me 'old safe hands' but I can assure you these old hands were working far quicker than the brain!" McRae added.

McRae's proud father, five-times British rally champion, Jimmy McRae, was working with the organisers of the inaugural Rally of Scotland and took great pride in his son's return from Australia- joking: "He's still a McRae!"

The two-litre Proton Super 2000 engine is derived from the 1.8 litre engine fitted to the Waja model and has been further developed by MEM's engineers to produce a reliable 210kW @ 7600rpm (278 horsepower) with a usable power band from 5,500 to 8,500rpm.

The Satria Neo S2000 uses the six-speed sequential Xtrac 4WD transmission system, one of two control transmission systems allowed under FIA rules.

The car is also fitted with an innovative quick-change fuel control cassette which includes all the fuel pumps, filters and valves, attached to the MEM-designed FIA FT3 safety fuel cell to aid rapid maintenance.

Alcon provides the braking power with the latest Super 2000 alloy 4-pot calipers and ventilated discs which when combined with the Neo's low overall weight of 1150kg gives outstanding brake performance.

The ventilated disc sizes can be maximised for both gravel when the car uses 15 inch rims and tarmac when it steps up to 18 inch rims, however for both simplicity and cost the brake calipers are common to both setups thanks to a simple mounting arrangement.

MEM's engineers have designed the suspension with a relatively conventional layout of wishbone and MacPherson strut making it easy and relatively cheap to maintain while delivering extremely high reliability.

The suspension design has also maximised damper travel achieving both an ultra-low tarmac setup with low levels of body roll and a long-travel gravel setup with enormous ability to soak up the biggest bumps.

A variety of anti-roll bars are also available for both front and rear ensuring the suspension setup can be easily fine-tuned for any rally surface or type.

The latest technology is used in the electrical systems with a state-of-the-art multiplexed wiring system capable of managing the entire car's electronics from a central unit situated in the centre of the car between the driver and co-driver. Apart from the weight saving reduction that this achieves it is simple to operate and boasts automatically resetting circuit breakers for improved reliability.

The result is a car which not only has well-proven technical advances and novel design but also simplicity to ensure the best possible combination of performance and reliability.

Source: APRC.TV

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chin Peng - The Secret Weapon

When NST carried the solemn thought of Roger Tan “Tell your dad ‘I love you’ now before it’s too late for that” I could not yet fathom the contents.

“Since he came over here in 1947, he only went back to China once in 1983. That trip meant a lot to him because he had always wanted to make this ‘pilgrimage’ to fulfill his wish and duty by paying his belated respects to his departed parents”.

Watching drama serials ‘the little nyonya’ had somehow helped me understand some of the customs and traditions of the Chinese.

Inevitably, it also made me understand why Chin Peng had desperately wanted to pay respects to his late parents, just as what Tan Sue Yong, the missing father of Roger Tan did in 1983.

What are hard for me to digest are the contradicting statements by no less than the Deputy President of UMNO.

“Chin Peng won’t be forgiven for waging war against Malaya and then Malaysia. As of now, there is no forgiveness for you (tiada maaf bagimu).” So steadfast was his conviction that no one would ever imagine the same person would, a few days later, contradict himself by calling on us to “appreciate the spirit of ‘qurban’ or sacrifice”.

But then, what can we expect from politicians?

Read more

Malaysia's Auto Industry & Policy

Recently received an interesting e-mail send by an associate. I found it to be very analytical about our national auto industry/policy. Below is the full unedited article by Syed Akbar Ali.

Car Prices In Malaysia
Digest this article, after that, you may need to vomit. What is the Malaysian Govt doing all these while. Ripping off our Rakyat for the last 30 yrs with APs designed to benefit a few well connected Bumis, the UMNO/BN have robbed millions of citizens in this fiasco, under the pretext of protecting our local industry. The Govt have forgotten we Malays are the largest customers in the country. What is the NEP policy doing ?? Ripping off the Malays (which forms 65% of the consumer base) to benefit a few UMNO politicians!!!

BMW 535i
sells for RM178,000 in the US

In the United States of America
(a developed country which we are also aspiring to become by the year 2020) a 2009 model BMW 535i Sedan is selling for about USD50,367.00. This is only RM178,000 - about the price of a Toyota Camry 2.4L here in Malaysia . The same BMW sells in Malaysia for about RM450,000.

BMW 328i
sells for RM155,000 in the US

The 2009 model BMW 328i 2 door Convertible sells for USD44,014 or RM155,369.00 in the US . In Malaysia the same car sells for over
This is an untenable situation.

Audi A4 2.0T Cabriolet Convertible
sells for RM142,000 in the US

The 2009 model Audi A4 2 Door 2.0T Cabriolet Convertible sells in the US for USD40,328.00 or RM142,357. In Malaysia the same car would sell for about RM265,000.

sells for RM85,000 in the US

In the US the 2009 model Volkswagen GTI 2.0T sells for USD 24,039 or RM85,000 only. In China the same car will cost around RM60,000. Over here the same VW car sells for about RM200,000.

And the 2010 model Toyota Camry 2.4L sells in the US for USD 19,659.00 or RM69,396 In Malaysia the 2008 Toyota Camry 2.4L sells for RM170,000. Toyota Camry 2.4L, 2010 model. RM69,000 in the US

Car prices in Malaysia are about three times higher than the prices in the United States.
We are a developing nation. Our land and labour costs are so much cheaper than the US . Why are our cars so expensive? It does not make any sense. Tak masuk akal.

Then here are some car prices from our neighbour Indonesia
The Toyota Altis sells in Indonesia for about RM46,000. The same car sells here for around RM 112,000. Again we are three times more expensive than Indonesia

The Honda Jazz sells here for RM108,000
.. In Indonesia the Jazz sells for RM 36,000. Three times more expensive.

We are paying ridiculously high prices (and actually impoverishing the Malays - who are the largest buyers of cars in Malaysia) to support an out of date, out of touch with reality motor car policy.

We are paying the highest car prices in the world to support the Proton and other locally made cars as well as support a mind boggling AP policy which only benefits a relatively few rich Malays
A disproportionately large number of Malays and other Malaysians are being impoverished to subsidise the wealth of a few inefficient rich.

26 million Malaysians have to pay three times more for their cars just to support Proton and 120,000 people who are directly and indirectly involved in the motor sector in Malaysia and the AP holders.

That is a ratio of 216:1.

This ratio of 216:1 is too skewed. 26.0 million happier people can contribute many more votes than 120,000 members of an inefficient motor industry.. 26 million unhappy people can change a Government. (The maths is not really difficult here)

And this outdated policy is impoverishing the Malays more than anyone else.

Here is some news from our DPM Tan Sri Muhyudin Yassin about our car policy. This is truncated:

Muhyiddin assures govt support for automotive parts and component sector

1. KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 - The deputy prime minister said special focus will be given to "facilitate and encourage" the development of the automotive parts and component sector despite the current global and regional economic downturn.

2. "Under the CEPT and Asean Trade in Goods Agreements, Malaysia has agreed to eliminate import duties on all products in the Normal Track on January 1, 2010. This includes motor vehicles, auto parts and components," he said.

3. He pointed out that . .. . the motor vehicle sub sector in Malaysia will not be directly impacted because of its heavy dependence on the domestic market.

4. "The Malaysian government recognises the contribution of the domestic automotive industry towards the development of the country."

Para 2 sounds promising but then Para 3 and 4 basically says that the Malaysian motor car industry will continue to be protected. This means we will continue paying the highest car prices in the world for automobiles.

Cuba kita kira : kalau kereta Honda Jazz di jual dengan harga yang sebenarnya (lebih kurang RM36,000 saja) dan bukan pada harga sekarang (RM108,000) maksudnya bayaran bulanan pembeli kereta akan jadi kurang, mungkin sepertiga sahaja daripada bayaran bulanan sekarang.

Jika sekarang orang bayar RM1,500 sebulan untuk beli Honda Jazz, kalau harga kereta lebih menepati harga pasaran dunia, orang kita perlu bayar sekitar RM500 saja sebulan.

Maksudnya tanpa Kerajaan perlu membuat apa pun (merangsang ekonomi, belanja berpuluh billion Ringgit duit rakyat untuk stimulus dan sebagainya) setiap rakyat Malaysia yang membeli kereta yang seharga dengan Honda Jazz akan dapat menjimatkan sehingga RM1,000 sebulan daripada kos sara hidup bulanannya.

This is like giving the car buyer an RM1000 pay rise without incurring any extra costs for the taxpayer, the Government or the economy. It will greatly reduce the cost of living in Malaysia and spur greater economic growth too.

Tapi sekarang, yang menjadi mangsa dulu dan yang menjadi miskin dulu orang Melayu juga. Orang Melayu yang paling ramai sekali menjadi pembeli kereta dalam negara kita. Orang Melayu kebanyakannya makan gaji - tiap bulan dapat gaji tetap. Bila harga kereta naik gila, yang menjadi miskin di saf depan sekali adalah orang Melayu juga.

In absolute numbers, the Malays are suffering the most because they are the most in number among the fixed income people who also buy cars.

Some folks said the other day that Proton has 150 major component suppliers, dealers, distributors and about 500 other parts suppliers too. Of the 150 major component suppliers, about 15 of them are listed companies. In total they employ about 120,000 people. The Proton supply chain is a mix of bumiputras and non bumiputras. But here is a sad fact : none of them are operating at their level best efficiency.

Our motor car policy is forcing Malaysians to subsidise Proton so that Proton can sustain major inefficiencies in the Malaysian economy. This is not a good thing at all.

We have to unwind this situation. Set a target of 18 months from now to unwind all protection for our motor industry. Remove the impoverishing AP policy also in 18 months. Let Malaysian car prices reflect world market prices for the same makes of cars.

If a BMW 535 sells for RM178,000 in America , it should sell for a little less here in Malaysia (our rentals and salaries are cheaper). Fw: Car Prices In Malaysia

The Ministers continue making pronouncements about the car industry as though nothing has happened. I hope everyone will please wake up. The Government has a real chance of getting thrown out of office in about three years. The people will not accept inept answers anymore.

The ridiculous car prices in Malaysia is an issue that is just beginning to get more attention and publicity. It is going to become a really big issue in the near future. Be forewarned.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Welcome To The Spectacular World Of Rallying, Raikkonen.


Raikkonen at the Japan GP last October. - Reuters pic

LONDON, Dec 4 — Ferrari’s 2007 Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen announced his switch to rallying today after agreeing a one-year deal with Citroen.

The French manufacturer said the 30-year-old Finn would take part in 12 of the 13 championship events in 2010 for its Red Bull-backed junior team.

“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the world rally championship at some point in my career,” said Raikkonen. “This is a new but very exciting challenge.

“For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it goes for the future.

“I am really looking forward to testing and taking the start of the first rally.”

Raikkonen, winner of 18 grands prix, had already said he planned to take a year out of Formula One after being replaced at Ferrari by Spain’s double world champion Fernando Alonso.

The Finn refused to contemplate joining any Formula One team that would not be competitive for the championship.

His decision to go rallying ended any thought he might end up at Mercedes as world champion Jenson Button’s replacement.

Britain’s Button has moved to Raikkonen’s former team McLaren alongside 2008 champion and compatriot Lewis Hamilton.

Raikkonen has previous world rally championship experience, having competed in this year’s Finnish round in a Fiat after also entering three non-championship events, but his new challenge is a big step up.

Citroen’s French driver Sebastien Loeb has won the last six world rally titles and Raikkonen will have one of the most competitive cars in the C4.

The team said Raikkonen’s co-driver will be compatriot Kaj Lindstrom, who partnered now-retired Tommi Makinen to four successive world titles in the 1990s. France’s rising hope Sebastien Ogier will drive the junior team’s other car.

They will not compete in New Zealand.

Loeb and Spaniard Dani Sordo will continue to drive for the main Citroen team. — Reuters