Friday, November 30, 2012

China's New Law Enforces South China Sea

Hainan gives police power to stop illegal sea entry

Border patrol police in China's southernmost province of Hainan on Tuesday were given the power to embark on and check ships which illegally enter its waters.

  Detailed Regulations

A newly revised maritime regulation was enacted by the Standing Committee of Hainan Provincial People's Congress on November 27.

The regulation defines six practices of illegal activities of foreign ships or crews. These include illegal landing on the islands under the jurisdiction of Hainan, damaging coastal defense facilities or facilities for production and living, and carrying out publicity campaigns that endanger China's national security.

The police can land on, check, seize and expel foreign ships illegally entering the island province's sea areas.

Hainan border police are entitled to use these measures to stop the illegally entering ships or to force them into changing or reversing course

According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, foreign ships are only allowed to make inoffensive passage through China's territorial waters, meaning they can neither stop nor drop anchor.

In the past, when foreign ships broke the UN convention, the best thing our patrol force could do was chase them out of China's waters. This new regulation will change that situation and grant the patrol force the legal means to actually do its job.

Source: Xinhua-Global Times

   Viewpoints

"This new regulation showed that China will strengthen the construction of its maritime law in the near future. The power granted by the international convention must be reflected in the domestic legal system.  Past maritime conflicts in the South China Sea have exposed the deficiencies in China's maritime law system and the new regulation is aimed at fixing those problems,"------Li Zhaojie, a maritime law professor from Tsinghua University

"China's move to establish domestic laws and regulations in the sea will inevitably lead to resistance from countries that have disputes with China regarding related sea areas. China must be prepared for all kinds of consequences, from diplomatic spats to administrative measures, and even possible military confrontation. On the other hand, China should be more vocal in expressing its preference in solving the disputes in line with international laws and customs,"------Zhu Zhenming, deputy director of the Southeast Asia Research Institute affiliated with the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences


  South China Sea Conflict

1
Photo: China's National Administration
of Surveying, Mapping and
Geoinformation
The South China Sea covers an area of 700,000 square kilometers, and some 200,000 square kilometers of waters are settled. The region has abundant resources of oil and natural gas, and some surrounding countries have been exploring resources there for years.

China has declared indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands and their surrounding waters, but several Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, have made competing claims.

Countries including Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, which contains important shipping routes and is also believed to contain rich oil and gas reserves. The issues in the South China Sea are not only a conflict over the islands, but also includes resources of oil and natural gas, underwater archaeology, hydrogeothermal and fishery.

  China's Actions 

On June 21, the State Council approved the establishment of Sansha city, the government of which is located on Yongxing Island, to manage the unpopulated Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Island groups and surrounding waters. The move is intended to maintain China's sovereignty over the area.
 
GT editorial: The idea of establishing Sansha city emerged as early as 2007, but was shelved due to protests by Vietnam. Now China has taken a concrete step, signaling its determination to administer the Nansha Islands and related sea areas. The new level of management carries more weight than the law of Vietnam.More

China issued new passports that  include a map of territories also claimed by other countries.The map lays clear claim of China to the maritime sovereignty in the South China seas.
The on-going passport row can be solved via diplomatic channels.  After all, it is not possible to suspend Sino-foreign personnel exchanges due to this episode.------Zhao Gancheng, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies

  Related Reports

1 Peace will be a miracle if provocation lasts

The standoff over Huangyan Island in the South China Sea continues and Manila appears fully prepared to create more tensions.

China's foreign ministry has noted that China is fully prepared to respond to Manila's move to escalate the situation. The remarks are seen as China sending a sign that it will not rule out the use of force.
2 Deep-water drilling starts

The nation's first indigenous deep-water drilling rig, the CNOOC 981, will begin operations on May 9 in an area in the South China Sea 320 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong.

The move, hailed by analysts as an effective way to reinforce China's territorial claims in the region, came amid an ongoing standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships in waters near Huangyan Island.
File photo taken on Nov. 16, 2010 shows the fishery patrol ship Yuzheng-310. The Yuzheng-310, China's most advanced fishery patrol ship, on April 20, 2012 arrived in waters off the coast of Huangyan Island in the South China Sea. Its mission is to protect China's territorial waters and ensure the safety of Chinese fishermen. Photo:Xinhua China de-escalates situation in Huangyan Island by withdrawing two vessels

China is de-escalating the situation in Huangyan Island in South China Sea by withdrawing two law enforcement vessels, Zhang Hua, spokesman of Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said on April 23.

Two Chinese vessels, a Fishery Administration ship "Yuzheng-310 " and a Chinese Maritime Surveillance ship No. 084, have already left the Huangyan Island area by April 22, Zhang said. "There is only one Maritime Surveillance ship remaining in the Huangyan Island area for its law enforcement mission."
3 Sansha new step in managing S.China Sea

The Chinese government has raised the administrative status of Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands in the South China Sea from county-level to prefectural-level, according to a statement on June 21.
34 China's new passport map riles neighbors

Vietnam's immigration authorities are issuing separate visa sheets to new Chinese passport holders instead of stamping directly on visa pages, after Beijing issued new passports that  include a map of territories also claimed by other countries.



By Bai Tiantian and Liu Sha Globaltimes

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How can universities powering Malaysias' ivory towers?

It is time we look at how our universities can be true to their noble calling as a mirror of humanity’s great heritage rather than be in danger of choosing show over substance.

A UNIVERSITY is a temple of learning and a storehouse of the knowledge and wisdom of the past. It is a receptacle of art, culture and science and a mir=ror of humanity’s great heritage. At the same time it is a laboratory for testing out a new vision of the future.

In more than four decades as a teacher, I have witnessed the ebb and flow of many educational movements. Some of them give me the feeling that we are choosing show over substance.

> Industrial links: In order to refute the charge that universities are ivory towers with no appreciation of societal needs, all universities have forged close relationships with the professions, industries and commerce. Curricula are devised to satisfy Qualifying Boards and potential employers. Students are required to do periods of apprenticeship. Captains of industry are often recruited as adjunct professors.

All this is laudable. At the same time it must be realised that our orientation towards industries and the professions distorts university education in some ways. A balance is needed.

> Lack of liberal education: The role of universities is to advance knowledge and build characters and not just careers. In their obsession with narrow professional goals and employability of graduates, many universities adopt curricula that are bereft of the arts and humanities. This paucity and poverty is accentuated because, unlike many countries, professional courses in Malaysia do not require a degree at entry point.

If a university is true to its worth, it must provide holistic education and produce well-balanced graduates who have professionalism as well as idealism, an understanding of the realities as well as a vision of what ought to be. Merely supplying technically-sound but morally-neutral human cogs in an industrial wheel to contribute to high production figures, will not in the long range lead to enlightened development of human capital or of society.

> Research: The crucial, core factor in a university’s eminence is qualified academicians with proven research abilities and a solid commitment to lead and inspire their wards to travel up the mountain path of knowledge.

A university cannot become an acclaimed university unless it possesses a large number of scholars who are the voice of the professions and who not only reflect the light produced by others (knowledge application) but are in their own right a source of new illumination (knowledge generation).

However, emphasis on research is leading to a number of adverse tendencies. Teaching is being neglected. Committed teachers are being bypassed in tenure and promotions in favour of entrepreneuring researchers.

Instead of singling out and supporting good researchers wherever they are found, the Malaysian approach is to anoint some universities with RU status and shower them with special grants. Innovators in non-research universities are thereby prejudiced.

> Research has various components: Capacity, productivity and utility.

The first (capacity) can be developed. Sadly, often it becomes an end in itself. The second (productivity) does not necessarily follow from the first. The third (utility) is often lacking. A great deal of research has no impact on the alleviation of the problems of society. Prestige and profit override public purpose. We need better criteria for research grant eligibility.

> Seeking best students: At the risk of sounding heretic, I wish to say that this modern obsession with seeking “the best students” is not conducive to social justice. Highly motivated, intelligent and articulate students make teaching a pleasure.

But what is even more satisfying is to take ordinary students and convert them into extraordinary persons; to mould ordinary clay into works of art.

It is submitted that entry points should be flexible. They should be based on holistic criteria. They should take note of initial environmental handicaps. They should be cognizant that equitable access to knowledge is a factor in sustainable development. They should further the university’s role to assist in social and economic progress; to cut poverty; to help the disadvantaged.

Entry points are less important than exit points. How a student ends the race is more important than how he/she began it.

All universities should be required to run some remedial programmes for under-achievers and to practise affirmative action for all marginalised sections of the population.

> Over-specialisation: Our system is committed to teaching more and more on less and less. Production of enough professionals and technocrats for the industries and the job market is an overriding role. However there is clear evidence that half or more than half of the graduates end up in roles outside of their university training.

In an age of globalisation, economic booms and busts, and high unemployment rates, there is a growing disconnect between what students study and what their subsequent careers are.

It is therefore, necessary to train students for multi-tasking, multi-disciplinary approaches; to have split-degree courses; and to produce graduates who have career flexibility and who are able to adapt to different challenges at work.

> Community service: Universities must serve society and not just by producing graduates for the job-market. All university courses must have an idealistic component and must straddle the divide between being people-oriented and being profession-oriented.

The curriculum must be so devised that staff and students are involved in the amelioration of the problems of society, in schemes for eradicating poverty, protecting the en-vironment, providing fresh water, storm control, protection from disease, adult education and free legal, medical, commercial and technical advice.

Tailor-made, short term courses for targeted groups should be devised to enrich lives. These courses should have no formal entry requirement. Town-gown relationships should extend to links with NGOs, GLCs and international groups that are involved in wholesome quests like environmental sustainability.

> Globalisation: Internatio­nalisation of knowledge is crucial for humanity’s advancement. However, to be truly global, we must not ignore citadels of excellence in Japan, Korea, China, India and Iran. It retards our progress and prevents us from addressing problems peculiar to our clime that our tertiary education suffers from a debilitating Western bias. Our course structures, curricula, textbooks, and icons are all European and American. It is as if the whole of Asia and Africa is and always was an intellectual desert. The opposite is true.

Asian universities must build their garlands of knowledge with flowers from many gardens. That would be true globalisation.

Comment
By Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi
> Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM 

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Minimum wage saga continues..

WE refer to the letters written by Samsuddin Bardan of the Malaysian Employers Federation (The Star, Sept 30), the Secretariat, National Wages Consultative Council (The Star, Oct 2) and Peter Raiappan (The Star, Oct 27) on the issue of minimum wage.

Come January, most of us will be concerned as to whether the minimum wages as previously announced by the Government will be enforced on our service industry e.g. security guards, waiters in hotels and restaurants or other workers in similar industries that require them to work 24 hours, including Sundays and public holidays.

In the case of security guards, it must be noted that most of these guards work 30 days a month as opposed to most regular employees who work 26 days.

The guards in particular will have to work the extra four days to claim the four days overtime payment (in addition to the daily four-hour overtime) to obtain that extra cash for a take-home salary of more than RM1,000 a month.

The security service employers are indeed in a dilemma.

Besides the overtime payment, the security companies will have to fork out additional expenditure such as the “post allowance” to the guards particularly for those assignments which are located in isolated places, transport allowance to guards for the use of their own transport, and not to mention the “attendance allowance” as an incentive to compel the guards to avoid unnecessary absenteeism. There are also cases where a “laundry allowance” is given to ensure that the guards are in their most presentable uniforms while on duty.

All this amounts to additional unavoidable costs to the security companies.

We, the security operators, are most concerned about the take-home salary of the guards and not just the basic salary of RM900 a month (less EPF and Socso deductions).

This is precisely why we encourage the security guards to work 12 hours (with four hours overtime payment daily) for them to earn the extra cash. Even the Nepalese guards that we employ work the 12 hour shift for the same reason.

We believe that even if we compel the guards to work for only eight hours a day, I am sure they will find some other part-time job to earn the extra cash during their time off.

This may not be healthy as they will most likely be too tired to effectively perform their duties as security guards in their regular assignments.

This may even result in them skipping work, which is worse.

Security guards are posted everywhere in the country. They are not stationed in one place like the factory workers.

Some people may not be too concerned about security but the role of these guards should not be taken for granted.

They are important in our society to prevent crime amidst the worrying level of crime in the country lately.

We are indeed in a dilemma whether we can continue to sustain our security service industry in the face of the above-mentioned escalating operating costs if the Government insists on proceeding with the minimum wage of RM900 requirement.

We therefore, urge the Government to exclude the security service industry and other similar industries from the implementation of this RM900 minimum wages scheme due to the extra costs to be incurred from the additional four hours of daily overtime work.

They also work during public holidays and Sundays.

These will incur extra double overtime which in return their take home pay is more than RM900.

We hope the Government to consider our appeal seriously to postpone the implementation of the new salary scheme which is due on Jan 1.

It is for the good of the security service industry and for the economy in general.

By DATUK RAHMAT ISMAIL Hon Life President (International) Asian Professional Security Association - The Star Nov  28, 2012

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U.S. Treasury Sticks It To The China Haters

Treasury says it again, China  not manipulating its currency.

This is getting better and better.

On the market side, the China haters are looking more and more ridiculous. Not that I’m a China bull. I’m not smart enough to say that. And I have money in China. But I am smart enough and am surrounded by even smarter people who have led me to believe there is no hard landing.  So on the market side, the China naysayers are wrong.

On the political side, the China haters who think the country is stealing all our Nike shoe and Optimus Prime assemblying jobs thanks to their currency manipulation are also wrong. For the second time this year, the U.S. Treasury Department said in its report to Congress on international economic and exchange rate policies that, wait for it…China is not a currency manipulator.  The two or three guys advising Mitt Romney on China were wronger than Tim Tebow starting as QB for the Jets.

“The Treasury Department once again made the right call on China’s currency policy in its report to Congress. Labeling China a currency ‘manipulator’ would do little to help us reach the goal of a fully convertible currency and market-driven exchange rate for China,” said John Frisbie, president of the U.S. China Business Council, a lobby of multinationals working in China.

“Adding the very public ‘manipulator’ tag might simply produce pressure within China to slow down progress on this (forex) issue,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

China’s exchange rate has strengthened over 30 percent against the dollar over the past several years. The upshot is that the exchange rate has little to do with the U.S. trade balance or employment. Even as the renmimbi weakened, the U.S. trade deficit with China worsened.

Of course, not being a currency manipulator doesn’t mean that the renmimbi (RMB) is properly valued.

From the report:

The renminbi has appreciated by 9.3 percent in nominal terms and 12.6 percent in real terms against the dollar since June 2010. China’s trade and current account surpluses both have fallen to 2.6 percent of GDP from peaks of 8.8 and 10.1 percent of GDP, respectively.  The Chinese authorities have substantially reduced the level of official intervention in exchange markets since the third quarter of 2011, and China has taken a series of steps to liberalize controls on capital movements, as part of a broader plan to move to a more flexible exchange rate regime.  In light of these developments, Treasury has concluded that the standards identified in Section 3004 of the Act during the period covered in this Report have not been met with respect to China. Nonetheless, the available evidence suggests the RMB remains significantly undervalued, and further appreciation of the RMB against the dollar and other major currencies is warranted.” China’s real effective exchange rate (REER) – a measure of its overall cost-competitiveness relative to its trading partners – has appreciated since China initiated currency reform in mid-2005, after declining between 2001 and 2005. From July 2005 to October 2012, China’s real effective exchange rate appreciated by 27 percent. The REER appreciated particularly rapidly in the last several months of 2011, resulting in total REER appreciation of 6.2 percent over the course of 2011. Over the ten months of 2012, China’s REER has been unchanged.

The International Monetary Fund concluded that the RMB was moderately undervalued against a broad basket of currencies, and said that the RMB was undervalued by between 5 and 10 percent as of July 2012.

Reserve accumulation, an indicator of the degree of Chinese intervention in the currency market, has slowed markedly since the third quarter of 2011 as China buys less U.S. debt.

Even with the reduced pace of dollar accumulation, China’s official foreign exchange reserves remain exceptionally high compared to those of other economies, and well beyond established benchmarks of reserve adequacy. As of end-September 2012, the PBOC held $3.3 trillion in foreign reserves, equivalent to 42 percent of China’s GDP, or about $2,440 for every Chinese citizen. 

10 Things “The End of Cheap China” Means for You
Getty Images North America Your espresso will get more expensive . . .

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

PAS messes up religion and politics again: Making one's hair stand!

  In a difficult position: Shoppers walking outside one of the unisex salons in KB Mall.

Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan's recent remarks about salons make us wonder if he has anything between the ears'. How then can he not know that PAS is messing things up in a respectable industry

DATUK Takiyuddin Hassan should be invited by hair stylists for a visit to their shops the Kelantan state executive councillor has no idea what he is talking about. To put it bluntly, he is talking rubbish.

He doesn't need to have a hair cut or a hair wash but simply observe the operations at a hair salon.

And sir, it is hair salon and not hair saloon. There is no drinking or entertainment of any kind.

A hair salon is different from a girlie barber shop, that's another point you should be aware of.

On Sunday, the PAS assistant secretary-general defended the PAS state government's decision to enforce gender-segregation rules on unisex salons, prohibiting women from cutting the hair of men, and vice-versa.

He said: “It is a well-known fact that hair salons and unisex establishments are the most convenient places for immoral activities.

“They provide a cover for men and women to engage in illicit activities. If I were a Chinese, I will never allow my wife to patronise such salons or even consider allowing my children to work in such places because of their reputation as a hotbed for immoral activities.

“And even a Chinese wife will feel uneasy to allow her husband to go to such places. Frequently such places will always lead to scandals.”

Like many Malaysians who read these remarks yesterday, I really didn't know whether to cry or to burst out laughing.

Many of us go to hair salons for hair cuts simply because, unlike barbers, these hair stylists are properly trained.

Many invested in diploma courses in famous training schools in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

We don't expect Takiyuddin to know what “a layer cut” is.

Huge sums of capital have been invested into their hair salons and many well-known hair stylists have turned entrepreneurs by setting up chains of hair salons nationwide.

These hair stylists work hard on their reputation, of which PAS may not be aware of, but clients are selective in their choice of hair salons.

Takiyuddin has no idea what he is talking about. We wouldn't blink an eye if our family members have their hair cut at hair salons - by a male or a female stylist.

And most of us have family members or friends who work at hair salons and we are proud of their skills and creativity. They make many Malaysians look good with their professionalism and abilities.

It is even more humorous when Takiyuddin said that “when a woman worker gives upper body massages to a male customer, one thing will eventually lead to another, ending with illicit activities”.

Hello, the nearest massage one gets at a hair salon is a neck-and-shoulder massage.

And from where Takiyuddin is coming from, he and his party leaders will surely shut down spas when they come to power.

Since male stylists cannot cut the hair of females and vice-versa, will we see PAS banning women doctors from treating male patients?

So if Takiyuddin suffers a heart attack while he is giving a press conference, will he wait for a male doctor to come, even if there is a female doctor nearby?

Next, women flight attendants won't be serving Takiyudidin when he is flying because it can lead to many things, what with their smiles and the uniforms they wear.

The hair on my hands are already standing on end just reading what Takiyuddin has reportedly said.
COMMENT By WONG CHUN WAI

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China now capable to deploy jets on aircraft carrier


Video: China conducts flight landing on aircraft carrier CCTV News - CNTV English

China has successfully conducted flight landing on its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, naval sources said.

A new J-15 fighter jet was used as part of the landing exercise.

After its delivery to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Sept. 25, the aircraft carrier has undergone a series of sailing and technological tests, including the flight of the carrier-borne J-15.


Capabilities of the carrier platform and the J-15 have been tested, meeting all requirements and achieving good compatibility, the PLA Navy said.


Since the carrier entered service, the crew have completed more than 100 training and test programs.


The successful flight landing also marked the debut of the J-15 as China's first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet, the PLA Navy said.

Designed by and made in China, the J-15 is able to carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs.


The J-15 has comprehensive capabilities comparable to those of the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18, military experts estimated.


Successful aircraft landing exercises on China's first aircraft carrier mean the country is now capable to deploy fighter jets on the carrier, a senior navy officer said Sunday.


Pilots have mastered key skills to ensure the success of the take-off and the landing, especially under unfavorable conditions such as poor visibility and unstable airflow, said Vice-Admiral Zhang Yongyi, a deputy commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.


"It's like 'dancing on a knifepoint' as the aircraft have to land on a very limited space," Zhang said while commenting on the successful flight landing recently conducted on the carrier, the Liaoning.


The aircraft must land precisely over a very short and narrow runway on the carrier at a speed of several hundreds of kilometers per hour, Zhang said in an interview with Xinhua Sunday, after the J-15 fighter succeeded in the landing tests.


"We have done all these test flights from the very beginning, and finally we mastered the key skills for the landing of carrier-borne aircraft," said Zhang, who is also the commander-in-chief in charge of the tests and training program of the flight landing.


Currently, the Chinese pilots have found out the right ways to conduct the landing and they have consolidated their skills, according to the Navy officer, who himself is a meritorious pilot of the Chinese naval air force.


Zhang said the carrier-borne aircraft and special equipment for the landing flight have gone through strict tests, and fighter jets can be deployed on the aircraft carrier.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Penang's economy growth declines to 1.8% in 9 months 2012

GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s economy slowed down in the first nine months of the year, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim.

“The state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of about 5.7% in 2008 has dropped to 1.8% from January to September this year.

“The poor GDP record has put Penang, which used to record one of the highest growth rates in the country, in seventh position behind places like Kuala Lumpur and and Johor,” he said.

Lim said Johor recorded a GDP growth of more than 6%, exceeding the national average of 5.3%, adding that 1.8% was below average and the Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) had to answer for this.

“By right, Penang should be doing very well as many people are flocking to the state which has a service-skilled workforce.

“I’m surprised that Penang has done so poorly,” he said at the Malaysian Economy and 2013 Budget Economic Forum at a hotel here Saturday .

Asked why the Penang economy recorded such a slow growth, Lim quipped, “Probably he (the Chief Minister) didn’t work hard enough!”

“Perhaps his methods and direction are wrong or that he didn’t do enough homework. Maybe he is too busy with other things.

“I’m not saying that he’s not doing his job, this is for the rakyat to decide,” he said.

Lim added the Ministry of Finance was forecasting the last quarter of the year to record a GDP of about 5.2%.

He assured Malaysians that the country’s economy was not headed towards bankruptcy as speculated by certain quarters.

“We have a RM456bil debt as of last year but our revenue is RM881bil, and we incur a deficit of about 58.2%.

“Our economy is doing much better compared to our Asean counterparts such as Singapore which has a deficit of 107%. Even countries like the United States and those in European Union are suffering from a higher debt.

“Malaysia practices an open economic policy and as of Oct 15, our foreign reserve has reached RM424bil, making us the 19th biggest foreign reserve country in the world,” he said.

The forum, organised by the MCA Bukit Gelugor division, was attended by some 300 people comprising Barisan Nasional division leaders, community leaders and businessmen.

Also present were Penang MCA deputy chairman Datuk Dr Loh Hock Hun, Bukit Gelugor MCA division chairman Datuk Koay Kar Huah and Komtar Barisan co-ordinator Loh Chye Teik. - The Star

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Good property management, maintenance add value

Stratified developments becoming a way of life
As stratified developments become a way a life, good maintenance and management have become an issue.
 
EARLIER this year, a new set of property managers replaced the previous one in the condominium that Siti lives. Not having a current account, she paid her quarterly management fees in cash. She was told that the receipt would be put in her postbox. It never came and she soon discovered that the property management company had absconded with the money.

As stratified developments which include condominiums, service apartments and gated and guarded projects become a way of life, good maintenance and management have become an issue.

Good management and maintenance will improve the value of the asset. This applies to all segments of the property market, be it residential, commercial or industrial.

Hence, the third reading of the Strata Management Bill 2012 on Monday is crucial, says Assoc-Prof Ting Kien Hwa, head of Centre for Real Estate Research at Universiti Teknologi Mara.

“Currently, property management is part of a service provided by valuers, who are regulated by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents.

The work of valuers can be broadly divided into three areas property management, valuation work and real estate agency work.

This means that property management is a regulated profession and delinquents risk having their licence suspended.

For the last five to six years, managing stratified properties has become an issue, he says. As more of us live in gated and guarded developments, and high rise condominium and serviced apartments, property management is evolving to become a lucrative industry.

Ting says the Board of Valuers is in the process of creating a third register to accommodate property managers. Valuers and real estate agents are governed by two registers and the Board of Valuers are working on creating a third one for property managers.

Says Ting: “This is a similar situation as in the early 1980s when there were many illegal real estate agents. They were given a one-year period to register with the board.”

Ting says the duty and responsibilities of property managers go beyond just collecting money and managing a property. The word “managing” covers a whole gamut of expertise and responsibilities. These include insurance valuation, the appropriate rate of service charges to levy on owners, managing service providers like security guards and cleaners, gardeners and managing tenants and rental rates among other duties.

Depending on whether it is a residential or commercial property, some issues may overlap.

To claim that valuers want to monopolise the property management industry is incorrect, Ting says.

“Some parties say they want to liberalise' the profession. Just as engineers and architects are regulated by the Institute of Engineers and Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia respectively, so property managers are regulated by the Board of Valuers because property management is part of the work of valuers. This is the situation in the United States, Britain and Australia. Shall we then liberalise' the achitecture and engineering profession by allowing more people who are untrained to practise as architects and engineers because architects and engineers are monopolising' the industry?” Ting asks.

Ting says this argument to liberalise the profession and cut out the monopoly does not hold water at all.

He says there are currently 8,000 trained property managers in the country and every year, 450 more graduates enter the job market.

The local public universities provided courses in property management in the late 1960s because they knew there would be a need for this.

Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers president Ishak Ismail says: “The Government was visionary enough to foresee a time when stratified housing will become part of the Malaysian property landscape. The first condominium was Desa Kuda Lari in the KLCC area.

“Today about four million people live in stratified projects. About 80% of all the stratified projects are managed by joint management bodies and management committees. About 20% are outsourced and of this about 58% are managed by illegal property managers.”

Ishak said over and above the various issues that fall under property management, two sets of skills are needed the hard skills in managing the property and the soft skills in people management.

He says there is a need to put in the proper regulations to regulate property managers in order to improve the value of our property assets. There must be no conflict of interest because it involves public money, be it house owners or tenants of commercial properties, he says.

By THEAN LEE CHENG The Star

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Is property building management a professional?

China courts friends in region; for others a show of strength

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) poses during the family photo at the 15th ASEAN-China summit meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, November 19, 2012. Also in the picture is Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen. REUTERS/ Samrang Pring

PHNOM PENH/BEIJING (Reuters) - When U.S. President Barack Obama and more than a dozen leaders arrived in Cambodia for a regional summit meeting this week, only one of them was feted with banners strung from the venue gates.

"Welcome Prime Minister Wen Jiabao!" one proclaimed. "Long live the People's Republic of China!" read another.

As the leaders left, the green-and-white banners were still festooned outside Phnom Penh's Peace Palace, a fitting reminder of China's powerful and growing clout as Beijing uses its influence - and money - to win friends and frustrate those uneasy about its sweeping territorial claims and rising military strength.

"Some states are easily swayed by money. If they see cash, they easily throw away their principles," said one Asian diplomat at the East Asia Summit, which included heads of state from 10 Southeast Asia countries and counterparts from the United States, China, Japan and other Asia-Pacific nations.

"China has been throwing its weight around and buying the loyalties of some Asian states."

A prime example is Cambodia, whose prime minister, Hun Sen, helped China to notch up a succession of diplomatic victories at the summit. China stalled debate on a resolution of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, rebutted attempts by Southeast Asian nations to start formal talks on the issue and avoided any rebuke from Obama over territorial ambitions. Commentators declared China a clear summit winner.

A closing statement by Hun Sen, this year's chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), made no mention of the South China Sea, another victory for China's attempts to prevent multilateral talks on the dispute.

China has poured investments and loans into Cambodia in recent years, becoming its biggest trade partner and bilateral creditor. Cambodia's debt to China now totals at least $4.7 billion, about a third of its economy.

The price of that largesse has become clear this year, say analysts, as Cambodia has used its powers as ASEAN chair to restrict debate over the vexed issue of China's maritime claims, dividing the group and infuriating U.S. ally the Philippines.

The 45-year-old ASEAN group has been built on a foundation of unanimity and unity, but that has unravelled as it struggles to cope with its biggest security challenge. In July, a meeting of the region's foreign ministers broke down in unprecedented acrimony and failed to agree a communique for the first time.

This week's ASEAN meetings again deteriorated into bad-tempered sniping and came close to a breakdown when Hun Sen adopted a draft statement saying there was a consensus not to "internationalise" the South China Sea dispute beyond ASEAN and China.

The Philippines, which sees its alliance with the United States as a crucial check on China's claims at a time when Washington is shifting its military focus back to Asia, made a formal protest to Cambodia and succeeded in having that clause removed from the final statement.

China then poked fun at Manila's assertion that there had been no consensus. Eight out of 10 leaders had agreed not to internationalise the dispute, meaning there was a consensus, said Qin Gang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

"I suggest that people when attending the EAS (East Asia Summit) meetings have to be very good at mathematics," he said.

"That's 10 minus two, so which is bigger?"

NAVAL BUILDUP

Beijing claims a vast U-shaped line around the South China Sea that brushes up against the coasts of the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia. The area is thought to hold vast, untapped reserves of oil and natural gas, and naval flashpoints between Chinese vessels and the Philippine and Vietnamese navy have become increasingly common.

Hopes for a diplomatic resolution within the ASEAN-China framework look bleak in the next two years as tiny Brunei and then Myanmar take up the chairmanship of the group.

Cambodia, like fellow "Mekong" countries Laos and Myanmar, has been rapidly pulled into China's economic orbit through rocketing trade and investment ties.

It has become customary for Chinese officials to arrive in Cambodia bearing "gifts", such as the $100 million investment that Wen announced on his arrival this week to build the emerging country's biggest cement plant. China has moved nimbly to set up free trade deals with Southeast Asia nations and has played a dominant role in financing and building big infrastructure projects in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

After the summit, Wen visited Thailand where he signed an understanding to buy rice, which should strongly lift Beijing's standing with a government that is a close ally of the United States. Bangkok has built up record stockpiles of 14 million tonnes of milled rice after a populist programme to pay farmers more for their crops made exports unprofitable.

If diplomatic efforts stall, China's options to back its claims with force if needed are steadily growing with a military budget that outstrips the combined spending of Southeast Asia.

As China ushered in a new generation of leaders this month, outgoing President Hu Jintao made a pointed reference to strengthening China's naval forces, protecting maritime interests, and the need to "win local war."

"We should make active planning for the use of military forces in peacetime, expand and intensify military preparedness, and enhance the capability to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, the most important of which is to win local war in an information age," Hu said.

Besides the South China Sea, China is embroiled in a dispute with Japan, also a close U.S. ally, over islands in the East China Sea.

China's stance is that it is not trying to become an offensive naval power, but wants to secure its energy imports and boost development of maritime natural resources, which are expected to represent 10 percent of its economy by 2015.

But it is also wary of being encircled as the United States refocuses its military clout on Asia in what Obama has called a "pivot" back to the region as wars in the Middle East wind down.

"It is absolutely (a buildup)," said Ruan Zongze, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies, the think-tank of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"No matter what kind of narrative you use, the reality is that America in the past three years has been putting greater emphasis or focus on the west Pacific. That raises a lot of questions for China."

China launched its first aircraft carrier in September, increasing its ability to project forces deeper into "blue-water" maritime territory. Bought from Ukraine ostensibly to use as a floating casino, the Chinese navy spent years refurbishing the carrier, which is undergoing sea trials. It also test-flew two types of stealth fighters this year, the second one last month - a smaller, more maneuverable model believed to be designed to be deployed on an aircraft carrier.

"China has ambitions to become the premier military power among its regional peers, and a serious threat to U.S. maritime primacy in the Asia Pacific," said Sam Roggeveen, an Asian defence analyst with the Lowy Institute in Sydney.

Roggeveen added that if China were to deploy more than one carrier and equip them with high-performance stealth fighters, "it would become the pre-eminent regional maritime power, with the ability to coerce neighbours in disputes in which the U.S. prefers not to get involved".

 By Stuart Grudgings and Terril Yue Jones
(Additional reporting by James Pomfret and Manuel Mogato in PHNOM PENH; Editing by Jason Szep and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

ASEAN plans world’s largest trading bloc in Asia, the Regional Comprehensive Economy Partnership (RCEP) and the U.S. Secrecy in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The leaders of Asean have succeeded in persuading their top trading partners to start negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to create the world’s largest trading bloc.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen formally launched the negotiations on the RCEP during the Asean Summit and Related Summits yesterday at a meeting at the Peace Palace in the western part of Phnom Penh.

The leaders of the 10-member regional grouping and their six major trading partners agreed to create a trading bloc that will comprise more than three billion people and with a combined GDP of US$15 trillion, roughly equal to that of the US.

Asean also launched the US-Asean Expanded Economic Engagement initiative, aimed at expanding trade and investment ties with the US and smoothing a path for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said that plans for the RCEP would be welcomed by world leaders from Australia, India and the US as an amazing tool of economic integration that might become the benchmark for other regions.

“The spirit is not that of a zero-sum game. The economic integration of other regions is complementary to the economic integration among [Asean] member countries,” Wirjawan told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the event.

“Many Asean member nations are conducting bilateral talks that are just fine, because they are complementary [to the RCEP],” Wirjawan said.

The minister has previously said that the RCEP would “rewrap” five current free trade agreements (FTAs) with Asean’s six major trading partners, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Asean’s FTA with Australia and New Zealand covers both nations.

Wirjawan said that the prospects for the RCEP were currently brighter than of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement touted by the US, as Asean already had FTAs in place, albeit mostly on goods and tariffs, with most of the nations involved.

The RCEP will expand upon existing FTAs to include agreements covering services and investment.

Asean is currently in discussions to expand its FTA with India, which it expects to complete in time for the Asean-India Commemorative Summit next month in India. Similar negotiations will follow with Japan.

Earlier in the day, there was a global dialogue between Asean leaders with the heads of world financial institutions, including Asia Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey, UN Conference on Trade and Development Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi and World Trade Organisation Director-General Pascal Lamy.

Wirjawan said that the leaders agreed that Asean had shown itself to be resilient amid the global financial crisis, becoming a model for other economic zones.

“Also discussed were efforts to face financial crises, such as the Chiang Mai Initiative pool of funds, which has been increased from $120 million to $240 million,” Wirjawan said.

Another important decision that was made during meetings and summits in Cambodia between November 15 and 20 was to start additional talks on implementing the Asean Economic Community on Dec. 31, 2015, to aid member nations in their preparations.

Asean’s leaders also adopted the Asean Human Rights Declaration, despite critics who said that the document was not up to universal standards of human rights protection, promotion, monitoring and enjoyment.

At the end of the closing ceremony, Hun Sen presented the gavel to Brunei Darussalam Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to mark the handover of Asean’s rotating chair from Cambodia to Brunei starting on January 1.

Bolkiah said it would be the fourth time that Brunei would hold Asean’s chair, and that the nation had chosen a motto of “Our People, Our Future Together” for Asean for 2013.

Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand also brought to an end to his term. He will be replaced by Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Le Luong Minh, who has been endorsed by Asean’s member nations.
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An alternative to US President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP) is the newest concept for an economic union between ASEAN and six major trading partners, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

The RCEP is supposed to be a trading bloc that will comprise more than three billion people with a combined GDP of $20 trillion, or almost one-third of the global economy. Officials hope to have the talks concluded by the end of 2015.

Source: Investvine
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Association of Southeast Asian Nations

The First ASEAN summit was held in February 1976 in Bali.

The most recent 21st Summit was held from November 18-20, 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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Video: ASEAN agenda


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Video: Opening Ceremony of the 21st ASEAN Summit


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Trans-Pacific Partnership

On November 12, 2011, the Leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States – announced the achievement of the broad outlines of an ambitious, 21st-century Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs.

INCREASING AMERICAN EXPORTS, SUPPORTING AMERICAN JOBS

President Obama announced in November 2009 the United States’ intention to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to conclude an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. priorities and values. Through this agreement, we are seeking to boost U.S. economic growth and support the creation and retention of high-quality jobs at home by increasing American exports to a region that includes some of the world’s most robust economies and that represents more than 40 percent of global trade. The Obama Administration has been working in partnership with Congress and consulting closely with stakeholders around the country to ensure TPP addresses the issues that American businesses and workers are facing today, and may confront in the future.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Framework

The United States, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam are working to craft a high-standard agreement that addresses new and emerging trade issues and 21st-century challenges. The agreement will include:

• Core issues traditionally included in trade agreements, including industrial goods, agriculture, and textiles as well as rules on intellectual property, technical barriers to trade, labor, and environment.

• Cross-cutting issues not previously in trade agreements, such as making the regulatory systems of TPP countries more compatible so U.S. companies can operate more seamlessly in TPP markets, and helping innovative, job-creating small- and medium-sized enterprises participate more actively in international trade.

• New emerging trade issues such as addressing trade and investment in innovative products and services, including digital technologies, and ensuring state-owned enterprises compete fairly with private companies and do not distort competition in ways that put U.S. companies and workers at a disadvantage.

Leading Asia-Pacific Regional Integration Initiative

The TPP is the most credible pathway to broader Asia-Pacific regional economic integration. After nine rounds of negotiations, the nine countries made solid progress and have now achieved the broad outlines of an agreement. During their meeting on the margins of the APEC meeting in Honolulu, the TPP Leaders agreed to seek to conclude the agreement as quickly as possible and instructed their negotiators to expedite their work. The nine countries also welcomed the interest expressed by other countries in joining the agreement and will begin bilateral processes with these interested countries to discuss their readiness and ambition to meet the standards and objectives of the TPP. Once these bilateral processes have concluded, all current Parties will decide on inclusion of new members by consensus.

American Competitiveness in the Asia-Pacific

The TPP is a key element of the Obama Administration strategy to make U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region a top priority. The huge and growing markets of the Asia-Pacific already are key destinations for U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, and services suppliers. As a group, TPP countries are the fourth largest goods and services export market of the United States. U.S. goods exports to the broader Asia-Pacific totaled $775 billion in 2010, a 25.5 percent increase over 2009 and equal to 61 percent of total U.S. goods exports to the world. U.S. exports of agricultural products to the region totaled $83 billion in 2010 and accounted for 72 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports to the world. U.S. private services exports totaled $177 billion in 2009 (latest data available), 37 percent of total U.S. private services exports to the world. America’s small- and medium-sized enterprises alone exported $171 billion to the Asia-Pacific in 2009 (latest data available).

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Video: Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated in secret


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Video: Dennis Kucinich discusses the secrecy of the Trans Pacific Partnership
Dennis Kucinich (Democrat) is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 10th district
October 18, 2012 before the elction of the U.S. President took place on November 6, 2012


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Sources: Novan Iman Santosa The Jakarta Post

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Schools to create 'Asian leaders' in Asian Century

This picture taken on July 23, 2012 shows 53 students from 14 countries holding hoops with their fingers as part of a cooperation learning exercise at a class of the International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK) at Japan's mountain resort town Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture, central Japan. -- PHOTO: AFP 

KARUIZAWA, Japan (AFP) - Asia may be driving growth in the world economy but a Japanese businesswoman behind an innovative new school believes the region is over-reliant on Western-style leadership.

Lin Kobayashi believes Asia is over-reliant on Western-style leadership (AFP/File, Shingo Ito)

Ms Lin Kobayashi hopes her foundation outside Tokyo will help change that by breeding a wave of political and business leaders - but with what she sees as a more "Asian" way of thinking.

Building work on the International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK) began in September. The launch of classes, all taught in English, is planned for 2014 making it Japan's first international boarding high school.

Ms Kobayashi, 38, a former investment analyst at Morgan Stanley, said the school will bring together students from a wide range of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, with scholarships for poor students funded by donations.


Lin Kobayashi hopes her foundation will help to breed a wave of political and business leaders (AFP/File, Shingo Ito)

But she said she wasn’t aiming to simply rival elite schools such as  Britain’s Harrow or Dulwich College, which have set up Western-style campuses  in places such as China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

And she added she wanted to change what she sees as an assumption in Asia  that it was preferable to seek out education systems in which Western-style  leadership was taught.

“Asia is already at the centre of the world’s economy, but is still relying  on Western-style leadership that thinks charisma is only to be found in a loud,  top-down approach,” said Kobayashi, formerly of the Japan Bank for  International Cooperation and also the UN Children’s Fund in Manila.

“I think we need Asia-oriented leaders who value consensus and harmony and  can combine that with deep background knowledge about the complicated history  and diverse cultures of Asia.”

— Regional history —

The foundation has so far collected 1.5 billion yen ($19 million) in  donations and private funding to cover initial costs, while inviting prominent  business figures to come on board as advisors.

In July it opened its third annual 10-day summer school, with 53 students  from 14 countries. The course cost 300,000 yen.

Kobayashi said the school will place particular emphasis on regional  history, a subject that divides a continent where narratives differ widely from  country to country and are at the root of various territorial stand-offs.

Tensions have recently flared between Japan and China in a row over  disputed islands in the East China Sea, with trade between the two countries  looking set to suffer. The relationship was worth well in excess of $300  billion last year.

“We don’t teach one-sided history. It is important to learn about diversity  of historical perspectives and the multi-ethnic structure of the region,”  Kobayashi said, adding that she wanted to bring in teachers from many different  backgrounds.

Lzaw Saw Nai, a 14-year-old student from Myanmar who joined this year’s  summer school, said he was “very much interested in leadership”.

“We have political and many other problems in my country,” he said. “I feel  I should do something, but first I need to learn. So, I came here.”

Tareq Habash, 13, from Palestine, said: “My country is in need of leaders  who can understand the need of the country and not just for what they want for  themselves.”

— “Free-thinking” —

Kobayashi said she hopes potential future leaders of Japan, a place where  politics is often criticised for its lack of talent, will also benefit.

“Japanese education does not do enough to train people to lead,” she said,  adding that this was something the country desperately needed in a region  increasingly dominated by a rising China.

In the wake of defeat in World War II, Tokyo fashioned an education system  that prized uniformity.

While observers say this was one of the things that helped drive the  miracle of recovery, they also argue that uniformity is now hampering progress,  amid calls for strong, free-thinking leaders who can drive the country forward.

Yoshiaki Nomura, an expert in leadership education at Osaka University,  said the idea of the new Asian school was timely.

“I think a curriculum that will foster a new elite is needed,” said Nomura.

"We have learnt a lot about classic theories of Western leadership, but I often  feel that what we need in Asia may be different.”

Jun Nakahara, associate professor of higher education at the University of  Tokyo, agreed that leadership is not always an innate quality but rather “something you have to learn about”.

But he said on-the-job experience may be more valuable than classroom-based  learning.

“They have to provide students with opportunities for practical experience  in which they can exercise their own leadership,” he said.

He added that the school could be a ground for future networking  opportunities but that it would “take some time” before it enjoyed the kind of  influence of its established rivals in the West.

Sources: AFP/NST/Asia News Network

Friday, November 23, 2012

China's manufacturing growth quickens 13-month high

(Reuters) - China's vast manufacturing sector saw expansion accelerate in November for the first time in 13 months, preliminary results from a factory survey showed, a sign that the pace of economic growth has revived after seven consecutive quarters of slowdown.

The China HSBC Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a 13-month high of 50.4 in November, the latest indicator of recovery in the real economy after data showing solid credit growth, firmer exports and rising industrial output in the previous month.

A sub-index measuring output rose to 51.3, also the highest since October 2011.

"This reflects that conditions for smaller firms, especially exporters, are looking up," said Li Wei, a Shanghai-based economist for Standard Chartered. "The consensus in the market is already for a small, gradual improvement."

An uptick in key economic activity indicators in October, following encouraging signs in September, cemented the view of many analysts and investors that a rebound in the world's second largest economy gathered momentum as it entered the fourth quarter, thanks to a raft of pro-growth policies rolled out by the government over recent months.

China is currently shuffling its senior officials after the seven top leaders of the ruling Communist Party were selected at a congress last week. The new appointments should end months of uncertainty in the highest ranks, although economic policy is not expected to change abruptly in the near-term.

Even before the congress, the central bank had moved to ease liquidity by pumping short-term cash into money markets rather than resorting to the interest rate cuts or reduction in banks' required reserve ratios that many investors had expected.

STEADY THROUGH YEAR-END

This month's PMI reading above 50 is likely to be seen as a turning point by the market, particularly if it is born out by the final reading due on December 1 and by official indicators.

Asian shares extended gains slightly after the data to stand up nearly 1 percent on the day and the Australian dollar, sensitive to demand from the biggest customer for Australia's resources, rose as far as $1.04.

"This confirms that the economic recovery continues to gain momentum towards the year-end," Qu Hongbin, chief China economist at index sponsor HSBC, said in a statement accompanying the data.

"However, it is still the early stage of recovery and global economic growth remains fragile. This calls for a continuation of policy easing to strengthen the recovery."

With a one-month exception in October 2011, the HSBC PMI -- which largely reflects the private manufacturing sector -- has remained stubbornly below the 50-point level separating accelerating from slowing growth since June 2011.

Unlike the patchy results seen in previous months, in November almost all the sub-indices in the HSBC survey concurred in showing an improving economy.

The one exception was a fall in the sub-index measuring output prices, demonstrating that manufacturers are still struggling with overcapacity and relatively weak domestic demand.

That could also reflect the weight in the survey of exporting firms, which have less ability to raise sales prices, said Standard Chartered's Li.

Indeed, China's exporters are increasingly squeezed by rising domestic costs and competition from new international suppliers, Zhou Haijiang, head of Chinese textile exporter Hodo Group, told reporters this month.

"Not only Western countries manufacture industrial goods, but also a lot of developing countries including former socialist countries who now have market economies are all exporting, thus creating a global surplus that cannot be changed," Zhou said.

"Because of this it is hard to raise sales prices, everyone is selling and it is hard for manufactured goods prices to rise. In some cases prices have even fallen."

Analysts expect no further cuts to interest rates this year or next after back-to-back cuts in June and July, and only one more 50 basis point cut to banks' required reserve ratios (RRR) in 2012 after three since late 2011 that have freed an estimated 1.2 trillion yuan for new lending.

Chinese banks are on course to make new loans worth more than 8.5 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) in 2012, expansionary versus the 7.5 trillion of new loans extended in 2011 and above the 8 trillion yuan that sources told Reuters back in February was the target for 2012.

Total social financing aggregate, a broad measure of liquidity in the economy, weakened to 1.29 trillion yuan in October, down from 1.65 trillion yuan in September, but still remained on track to hit a record 14 trillion yuan this year.

China also opened many previously-closed sectors to private investment with a view to funding new infrastructure projects and supporting economic growth without piling on more debt that local governments can ill-afford.

Although analysts expect fourth quarter GDP growth to outpace the 7.4 percent seen in the third quarter, full-year expansion for 2012 is expected to be the slowest in 13 years.