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.