Socio-economy

The belated National Inflation Council

Only now he created the ‘National Inflation Council’. I don’t know about you, but this government has got it all ‘backwards’!

3 weeks ago I posted an article about rice supply and the government’s inability to pinpoint the source of spiralling food prices. One of my observation was;

I can see that the government had approached the problem from the consequential evidence, which is – people can’t afford to pay the expensive food.  What they should have done is to approach the cause of the problem – output of food supply is dwindling under the impact of increased demand (increased population + food consumption). So what did they do? By focussing on the consequence, they worked on the above initiatives which predominantly only tackling the pricing issue.

Many people have opinions. I have one. How about if the next government should at least do some basic SWOT analysis the moment they come into power. The very least, they can identify the threats facing the nation. The moment they do that, they can easily form an action council to develop solutions for a particular problem. If Pak Lah and the gang had done their homework, this National Inflation Council should have been created way back in 2005, prior to the RM1.92 increase of petrol from its previous price of RM1.62!

What’s more troubling is the announcement by Pak Lah on 4 initiatives to lighten the burden faced by the rakyat. To me, these cost cutting measures are way beyond their intended usefulness. It came too late. What is the purpose of these steps anyway? One such objective is for the government to save some money for them to redistribute to the development projects. Will these measures directly lessen the rakyat’s burden? How could a measly 10% cut on the Prime Minister’s entertainment allowance (about RM1,800 per month) can directly help you and me lessen our daily expenses? How could the freezing of paid leave of the ministers help us ease our day to day cost of living?  You tell me. As a matter of fact, these steps should have been thought of and implemented prior to the decision made on the increase of the fuel price. At least by then, Malaysia have enough buffer to steady the fuel prices.

The government should have exhausted all avenues before they finally declare their inability to protect the rakyat against the increasing oil prices. Not the other way round. It is hard to fathom the modus operandi of the current government where it spent lavishly since 2004 on expenses (unprofitable mega projects, private airbus, monsoon cup, corridors, jacked up project costs etc), and in the case of balancing out the nation’s coffers, it failed to generate enough income to beef up our wealth. That is why, when high inflation hits us, the government had no more money to protect us.

The government should have started implementing any cost cutting measures as soon as the oil prices hit USD70 back in 2006. Nearly all analysts at that time predicted that oil prices will increase further. Why was this signal not heeded? Greed and lack of vision would be the correct answers.

Someone had discussions and established working groups (MTEN, Malaysian Business Council, NCIT etc) 1 year BEFORE the implementation of capital controls. Pak Lah created the National Inflation Council 2 years AFTER the price increase of RM1.92 per litre and nearly a week after the latest hike to RM2.70 per litre. Nothing can be done anymore. As the pain had been inflicted to the rakyat. The impact had been effected. The ship has sailed. The government had punished the rakyat because it was too lazy to think and was trapped in a honeymoon period for the past 4 years. Now, we the rakyat had to suffer.

The only thing National Inflation Council will be good at is to think of further cost cutting measures. But, trying to cut costs after the price increase will only cripple the economy. Cutting off projects will make contractors and its industry to lose business opportunities. Being thrifty will slow down the economy and decreasing money circulation. Reducing road tax or other taxes to ‘help’ save the people will further decrease the nation’s income. It’s going to be a deadly catch 22 position. The spin off effect of these measures would be an economic downturn never before faced by Malaysia. I said never before faced by Malaysia because our PM and his advisers had not the ability to take us out of this potential doldrums. 2009 will be the year where the economy falters completely and it will be completely his fault. Albert Einstein once said – “the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”.  

Start thinking of your action plans now. Do not be lulled over by Pak Lah’s misplaced optimism regarding our economy.

Note : In another observation, I find that the blog www.chedet.com  is a good place for the rakyat to interact with the former prime minister. Lately, most of the comments sent by its readers are complaints about the current hardship they are facing. The blog owner can directly gauge the sentiment of the rakyat this way. As I see it, www.chedet.com has become the website  to go if you want to ‘mengadu dumba’ about your weak government and your difficulty in facing the tough months ahead. Hence, the function of Barisan Nasional (being the champion of the people) and Pak Lah (who said he is neither deaf nor blind) as the listeners of the people’s problems is greatly diminished. This is not helped by their inaccesibility and inability of the rakyat to meet them directly.    

13 thoughts on “The belated National Inflation Council

  1. Agreed…! I was wondering how the govt come to 78 cents increase in petrol price? one minister said increase by RM 1 and another by 50 cent and voila! come the magic no. 78 cents!! The govt have to justify the increment, i.e. need to study more to justify it. I think they r just plain lazy and accept the advice by the 4th floor kids (budak belum kering hingus)……

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  2. JMD,

    Anda telah dijemput oleh Sek.Perhubungan Media Pemuda UMNO untuk menghadiri Luncheon “Sembang Media” pada hari ini 10 Jun 2008. Dapat hadir ka?
    Rugilah saya tak dapat minta anda bertanyakan soalan ini.

    Betul kah ahli-ahli dan Ketua-Ketua Cawangan tidak dibenarkan membuat usul untuk mencalonkan nama-nama bagi jawatan-jawatan tertinggi dalam UMNO?

    JMD : Memang tidak dapat hadir kerana ada kerja kerja penting yang belum siap. I am not aware of this ruling you mentioned. Hopefully it’s not true. Kedengaran cakap2 kosong di beberapa bahagian yg mereka akan calon muhyiddin untuk presiden dan mukhriz utk ketua pemuda. 3 naib presiden favourite ialah rais yatim, ali rustam dan ghani othman.

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  3. bro, tengok la tongong nye kerajaan punya statement

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/6/10/nation/21505401&sec=nation
    TAJUK:
    NAJIB: GOVERMENT SHARING THE BURDEN.

    aku ingatkan sepatutnye cakaple “Najib: government alleviate the burden”. macamlah masalah kita ni dia tumpang kongsi je. apa punya pemikiran tahap mangkuk tandas da..

    ha.. ni dia antara TPM (bakal PM lak tu..) punya pendapat “sharing the burden”

    Najib called on Malaysians to change their mindset and seek alternative sources of energy, and not just rely on petrol. He said they could consider electric cars.

    kat mana le nak cari electric cars. pas tu, kalau tak letak petrol nak letak apa pulak woii.. air mineral?
    fyi, keta aku tak muat nak letak tank NGV. nanti anak aku duduk atas keta.

    JMD : Thanks for sharing bro. Situation is very grim now. Pemimpin pelapis pun tak tahu hujung pangkal bila nak bercakap. Nak gelak pun rasa macam nak nangis.

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  4. Kalau government want to share the burden, definitely the government wont increase the oil price… Kalau rakyat susah pada harga RM1.92, kerajaan patut buat inisiatif-inisiatif yang lebih kreatif untuk mengurangkan beban rakyat.

    Pada saya, selagi pengeluaran minyak negara melebihi keperluan tempatan, tiada sebab negara perlu mengikut rentak harga minyak dunia, tetapi sebaliknya harga minyak negara patut ditetapkan pada harga kos pengeluaran dengan 30% keuntungan bagi kegunaan rakyat.

    Dalam keadaan macam ini, saya yakin tiada orang akan percaya pada BN dan sebarang sisa-sisa keyakinan pada kerajaan BN telah lenyap ditelan zaman.

    Kerajaan sekarang nie samada tidak faham langsung tentang ekonomi, atau pun sekadar mahu menunjuk-nunjuk kepada rakyat bahawa mereka masih berkuasa- apala malang nasib Malaysia….

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  5. JMD~

    Nice write up, keep it coming, you are the man !!!

    Another thing to add, with many items under price control, inflationary index do not mean much.. though.

    I am looking forward to more about Pak Lah administration…

    But the last statement about asking people to visit chedet.com … hmm dunno-lah.

    Thank you again.. 🙂

    Woody.

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  6. Dear JMD,
    Nice writing bro…..we have a bunch of clowns as ministers.

    That day on tele Shahril Samad said the controlled items will be reduced to ensure effective enforcement on the ground…as a result steel went up from RM2000+/tonne to RM4100 not to mention cement, brick etc. So many contractors and developers who are comitted to old tender prices are now loosing their hairs. In the future rest assured that this increase will be passed to the end users…as much as 30% increase in house prices.

    Then our dear Shahril went on saying that petrol wont go up until August….and the subsidy plan was still under review.
    Suddenly, it was 2.70 overnite…….a flip-flop decision once more.

    They obviously realised that they had made a blunder and now trying to do some damage control by cutting a litlle bit of their fat ass….so typical.

    Beleive it or not they are talking about increasing control items that they are trying to reduce in the first place……………Shahril Samad is an idiot and ‘tong kosong’

    Chedet……I am addicted to chedet…but as usual chedet only allow one way traffic…mcm komen kat dinding ..but informative.

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