A Tale To Tell & Remember

I'm very much inspired by the words of Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The World Is Flat" which renders about the influence of bloggers in this new age. I want to keep the highest integrity and honesty in posting my words to the world. This blog act as a testimony to my alacrity of sharing information with the borderless world. Hope we can share a high regards of veracity and chivalry with this blog because that's why it is here. So help me God!

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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Outstation

I'm taking a long break to prepare myself for 2009. Will be back on the 6th January 2009. Cheerio!

Monday, 22 December 2008

My article in Berita Harian

22 December 2008 - Berita Harian published my article in the Rencana section today. I believe I owe that much part to Datuk Manja Ismail an articulate editor at the Media Prima. I shall continue to write about the prospect of our economy and thanks to those that believe in the writings. Writings completes me as an economist. Cheerio!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Impasse

21 December 2008 – It is very depressing looking at the current political situation in Malaysia. UMNO is very corrupt and the opposition is more corrupted. The son in law of the current Prime Minister is still roaming free in every mass media talking as he is the next Prime Minister of Malaysia without fear of reprisal. Damn him, damn that man.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Meningkatkan Ketahanan Ekonomi Domestik Dalam Mengharungi Kemelesetan Ekonomi Global Pada Tahun 2009

Oleh: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Hj. Ismail


Kesan kemelesetan ekonomi dunia


Sudah terang lagi bersuluh bahawa dunia sedang dihimpit situasi ekonomi yang sukar apabila kebanyakkan negara maju telah mengistiharkan secara terbuka bahawa ekonomi mereka berada dalam keadaan kemelesetan ekonomi yang serius. Kemelesetan yang pada mulanya berpunca daripada akibat kecuaian bank-bank perdagangan Amerika Syarikat dalam menawarkan produk berbentuk derivatives pelaburan hartanah kepada pengguna secara tidak bermerit dikhuatiri akan menyebabkan suasana ekonomi global beku berikutan arus globalisasi kebergantungan pasaran. Pengumuman kemelesetan yang diwar-warkan ini sudah tentunya tidak dilakukan secara sewenang-wenangnya, tetapi setelah majlis ekonomi negara-negara maju tersebut mengambil kira beberapa petunjuk ekonomi asas seperti peningkatan kadar pengangguran, penurunan produktiviti industri domestik negara masing-masing, pengurangan perbelanjaan pengguna dalam negara serta penurunan Keluaran Negara Kasar yang dicatatkan mengalami penurunan yang serius di dalam pasaran secara keseluruhannya.

 

Kesan negatif ini dijangkakan menjadi bertambah buruk apabila keadaan pasaran global semasa yang menyaksikan kebergantungan erat antara negara-negara membangun dengan negara-negara maju dimana timbal balik perhubungan perdagangan antara negara membangun sebagai pengeluar dan negara maju sebagai pelanggan berimpak besar. Globalisasi pasaran yang terjalin ini bakal menjanjikan kesan berantai apabila negara yang terikat melalui perjanjian perdagangan ini tidak mampu membayar kredit bagi mendapatkan produk-produk yang dipesan dari kalangan negara pengeluar seterusnya menyebabkan industri tidak dapat menjual produk barangan mereka lalu berlakulah masalah pengangguran meruncing terutamanya disektor pengeluaran termasuk negara Malaysia.

 

Kebergantungan perdagangan ini telah menyaksikan negara-negara yang sebelum ini menjadi pelanggan kepada barangan eksport kompetitif luaran tidak mampu membayar dagangan yang dilakukan dan ini dibuktikan apabila Baltic Dry Index yang digunakan di dalam menentukan kos pengangkutan kapal-kapal dagang telah mencatatkan penurunan yang signifikan iaitu sebanyak 89 peratus. Pihak pengeluar utama barangan kepenggunaan seperti syarikat kenderaan pula telah mula merangka strategi seperti  pengumuman pemberhentian pekerja secara besar-besaran dalam usaha mereka untuk mengurangkan kos pengeluaran di dalam jangkaan pengurangan kredit yang bakal dilakukan oleh bank-bank utama kepada pihak industri di dalam usaha memastikan keyakinan pemegang saham akan keupayaan kredit bank-bank ini sendiri dalam mengharungi kemelesetan ekonomi global. Situasi yang digelar sebagai credit crunch ini memburukkan lagi keadaan pasaran terutamanya bagi mereka yang terlibat secara langsung di dalam bidang perniagaan apabila jumlah aliran modal di dalam pasaran secara keseluruhan dijangkakan berkurangan akibat dibekukan oleh bank-bank pelaburan utama dunia dan ini menyebabkan pasaran menjadi kurang produktif didalam usaha inovasi produk dan pengembangan aktiviti perniagaan seperti promosi pasaran seterusnya melembapkan aliran modal bagi kegunaan pertumbuhan ekonomi samada dalaman dan luaran pada pasa hadapan.

 

Kepentingan pemahaman mengenai krisis di kalangan rakyat Malaysia

 

Rakyat Malaysia perlu memahami dengan mendalam akan kesan buruk kemelesetan ekonomi global yang sedang melanda kerana jika krisis ini tidak ditangani dengan serius dan diurus dengan berkesan, apa yang berlaku ini bakal menyaksikan perubahan yang signifikan kepada pola perbelanjaan harian pengguna di Malaysia khususnya dari segi sosio-ekonomi. Walaupun harga minyak mentah dunia telah mencatatkan penurunan sebanyak 73% sejak melepasi harga tertinggi iaitu sebanyak U.S. 149 Dollar se tong pada bulan Julai 2008 kepada U.S. 40 Dollar se tong pada bulan Disember 2008 berikutan kurangnya permintaan daripada Amerika Syarikat yang sedang dilanda kemelesetan ekonomi pada ketika ini, dunia tetap bakal mengharungi satu waktu yang sukar dari sudut pertumbuhan ekonomi dek kurangnya permintaan dari dalam dan luar negara terhadap sesuatu produk atau usaha perniagaan.

 

Aspek pengurusan krisis yang perlu diguna pakai pada tahun 2008 ini adalah amat berbeza dengan krisis ekonomi yang dihadapi oleh negara pada tahun 1997 kerana pada tahun 1997, negara yang mengalami kemelesetan ekonomi hanyalah terdiri daripada negara-negara Asia rantau Pasifik seperti negara-negara Asia Tenggara, Korea Selatan, Hong Kong dan Jepun. Situasi ini berbeza sama sekali ini dapat dilihat apabila krisis ekonomi 2008 sebaliknya bermula dari Amerika Syarikat kemudiannya beralih kepada negara-negara rakan dagangan berdagang secara langsung dan tidak langsung dengannya termasuk negara-negara Kesatuan Eropah, Asia Tengah, dan negara-negara yang terletak di rantau Asia Pasifik termasuk Malaysia. Justeru pendekatan yang perlu diambil adalah berbeza dan perlu lebih drastik dan radikal dalam memastikan ketahanan ekonomi domestik yang kukuh di dalam menghadapi volume impak yang lebih besar dari krisis yang dialami pada tahun 1997.

 

Di dalam situasi bank-bank perdagangan mengurangkan kecairan modal di dalam pasaran, serta pihak industri mengambil langkah berjaga-jaga di dalam memastikan modal syarikat masing-masing mencukupi dalam mengekang panik di kalangan pemegang saham syarikat mereka, eksport komoditi utama dari negara seperti kelapa sawit dan getah telah mengalami penurunan yang teruk seterusnya menimbulkan ancaman pengurangan produktiviti dan pertumbuhan perdagangan berkaitan. Situasi ini berbeza sama sekali dengan krisis ekonomi 1997, kerana pada tahun tersebut eksport komoditi utama negara adalah tidak terjejas sama sekali dan negara masih mendapat permintaan tinggi dari negara-negara pelanggan di dalam memastikan aliran modal yang kuat di dalam pasaran domestik dalam menjanakan peluang pekerjaan kepada rakyat Malaysia.

 

Namun apa yang berlaku pada tahun 2008 ini adalah sebaliknya apabila negara-negara pelanggan telah mengurangkan jumlah dagangan mereka dengan Malaysia. Situasi ini bertambah buruk apabila permintaan eksport barangan elektronik yang dikeluarkan di dalam negara seperti bahan semi konduktor dan cip-cip elektronik untuk produk berteknologi tinggi yang pada sebelum ini mendapat permintaan tinggi dari syarikat multinasional luar negara juga telah mengalami penurunan yang serius. Keadaan ini telah mengakibatkan keadaan pasaran yang tidak rancak berikutan syarikat-syarikat multinasional ini mula berada pada mod pengurusan krisis dan bersifat pasif bertujuan hanya untuk mengekang kesan krisis yang berlaku dengan memastikan modal mereka mencukupi bagi mengharungi satu tempoh waktu yang sukar di dalam pasaran global terutamanya untuk tempoh tiga tahun pertama yang mendatang.

 

Keperluan untuk pertumbuhan ekonomi domestik

 

Hakikat pahit tetapi benar yang perlu diterima oleh rakyat Malaysia adalah keperluan untuk mereka berkorban di dalam menghadapi kesan kemelesetan ini dan bukan meletakkan tanggung jawab ini di bahu kerajaan semata-mata. Pengguna domestik perlu untuk sama-sama memikul sedikit beban inflasi yang perlu ada dan akan timbul dalam memastikan kerancakkan pertumbuhan ekonomi domestik sebagai pilihan untuk mencipta permintaan dalam negara. Inflasi yang terkawal ini adalah perlu sebagai petunjuk berkesan dalam membuktikan keadaan ekonomi domestik negara masih lagi baik, kompetitif dan menarik serta keadaan ini adalah penting dalam menstabilkan aliran pusing modal dalam negara yang sebelum ini menguncup akibat credit crunch yang berlaku.

 

Di dalam keadaan pasaran ekonomi global yang lembap, kerajaan perlu memastikan daya tahan ekonomi domestik yang mapan melalui permintaan barangan atau perkhidmatan yang digerakkan menggunakan dana kerajaan bagi memastikan peluang pekerjaan sentiasa wujud sekurang-kurangnya melalui pertumbuhan domestik dalam negara. Permintaan ini akan membantu untuk menstabilkan situasi pasaran dengan bukan sahaja memberikan keperluan yang sah untuk suntikan modal malah sebagai penggalak inovasi produk permintaan pengguna seperti usaha pemasaran produk tersebut dalam memastikan kerancakkan suasana pasaran melalui pertumbuhan ekonomi domestik dalam negara. Melalui cara ini, kemelesetan global yang berlaku akan berada pada tahap terkawal dengan menggantikan permintaan luar kepada barangan atau perkhidmatan dengan permintaan dalaman yang mampu dijanakan melalui kuasa beli pengguna yang terdiri daripada golongan ekonomi pertengahan di Malaysia. Jika ini usaha ini tidak dilakukan, masalah pengangguran akan menjadi semakin buruk akibat penstrukturan semula perbelanjaan modal syarikat-syarikat swasta melalui tindakan pemberhentian pekerja secara besar-besaran atau pemotongan gaji bulanan dalam usaha pihak swasta mengekang kerugian dan pengurangan produktiviti akibat kurangnya permintaan global atau kerancakkan pasaran terhadap sesuatu produk.

 

Keynesian kompak

 

Polisi ekonomi yang berkesan dalam memastikan permintaan domestik yang mapan boleh dilakukan melalui prinsip Keynesian kompak apabila perbelanjaan kerajaan dilakukan secara besar-besaran melalui pakej rangsangan ekonomi terutamanya dari sektor infrastruktur atau galakkan pertumbuhan industri perkhidmatan yang mampu memastikan kecairan modal yang tinggi sekurang-kurangnya di dalam pasaran domestik untuk mengharungi tempoh waktu yang sukar apabila kemelesetan ekonomi global berada pada tahap puncak menjelang pertengahan 2009 hingga pertengahan 2010.

 

Pakej rangsangan yang perlu diumumkan dalam senario ekonomi global yang lembap ini perlu bertindak sebagai lonjakan pertumbuhan ekonomi domestik bagi memastikan pusingan modal tidak berhenti di dalam pasaran serta peluang pekerjaan dicipta bagi mengekang masalah pengangguran yang meruncing pada tahun 2009 dan 2010. Pertumbuhan ekonomi domestik ini juga boleh dilakukan melalui pelbagai cara seperti pengenalan insentif kewangan kepada pelabur asing atau domestik yang ingin melabur di dalam industri yang menawarkan perkhidmatan kepada golongan ekonomi pertengahan di dalam negara. Insentif ini boleh berupa pengecualian cukai seratus peratus untuk satu tempoh tertentu atau bantuan teknikal dari pihak kerajaan atau juga berupa kadar faedah yang rendah pada tahap sifar bagi pinjaman untuk pelaburan perniagaan. Insentif ini adalah perlu bagi memastikan daya saing swasta tegar di dalam keadaan permintaan global suram serta memastikan aliran modal yang tinggi di dalam sesebuah pasaran. Selain daripada itu pembatalan hutang mikro kepada pihak pengusaha industri kecil dan sederhana juga boleh dilakukan bertujuan memastikan daya saing yang tinggi dan ketahanan modal yang besar di kalangan pengusaha tempatan dalam mengharungi kemelesetan yang berlaku.

 

Kerajaan juga perlu menstrukturkan semula perbelanjaan jaringan sosial tidak perlu seperti pengurangan subsidi bagi produk-produk atau barangan keperluan pengguna yang pada masa ini banyak digunakan oleh golongan ekonomi pertengahan di Malaysia. Usaha ini adalah perlu dalam usaha perbelanjaan wang kerajaan secara berhemah seterusnya menggunakan dana tersebut kepada berimpak tinggi seperti implementasi projek-projek infrastruktur atau prasarana perlu seperti pembinaan jambatan, sekolah, jaringan keretapi elektrik dan penyelenggaran jalan-jalan kampung, lampu-lampu jalan, pembinaan parit atau projek mendalamkan sungai atau juga pembinaan dan penyelenggaraan bangunan kerajaan yang mampu memastikan kecairan modal yang tinggi dan aliran pusing modal yang mantap di dalam pasaran domestik Malaysia. Usaha ini juga pasti akan mencipta peluang pekerjaan langsung dan tidak langsung mereka yang terlibat di dalam pakej rangsangan ekonomi ini.

 

Dalam usaha untuk memastikan permintaan domestik tinggi dan pertumbuhan ekonomi domestik yang stabil pada waktu-waktu yang sukar ini, kerajaan perlu untuk mengawal deflasi barangan kepenggunaan masyarakat ekonomi kelas pertengahan kerana pengekalan harga barangan pada kadar yang kompetitif akan memberikan petunjuk tepat bagi tarikan peluang pelaburan sesuatu usaha perniagaan serta memastikan modal pusing yang tinggi dalam inovasi dan pasaran sesebuah produk. Usaha ini akan mencipta peluang pekerjaan dan peluang perniagaan kepada mereka yang mahu berusaha membaiki taraf hidup pada ketika suasana ekonomi yang suram ini.

 

Walaupun terdapat cadangan untuk kerajaan mengambil jalan mudah dengan mencetak wang Ringgit pada kadar yang banyak dan wang ini kemudian disuntik ke dalam pasaran domestik melalui gaji atau pemberian bonus kakitangan awam, cadangan ini adalah tidak sesuai kerana ia akan mencetuskan masalah inflasi secara langsung pada kadar yang tidak terkawal seperti yang berlaku di Argentina dan Brazil pada pertengahan 1990-an yang ketika itu berada pada tahap 700%. Fakta ini disokong oleh psikologi konsumerisme pengguna di Malaysia yang kurang berdisiplin di dalam mengawal perbelanjaan harian mereka seperti kurangnya impak permintaan terhadap barangan kepenggunaan yang menjimatkan elektrik ketika negara menghadapi masalah krisis tenaga apabila harga minyak mentah berada pada kadar yang tinggi pada bulan Julai 2008.

 

Pengurusan krisis dalam memastikan ketahanan ekonomi domestik yang mapan

 

Krisis kewangan yang berlaku ini perlu diuruskan secara holistik, radikal dan berkesan melalui perbelanjaan kerajaan dan kaedah fiskal ini perlulah mempunyai impak yang besar. Jika krisis ini diuruskan dengan baik, negara hanya akan mengharungi sekurang-kurangnya tiga tahun tempoh waktu ekonomi yang sukar bermula awal tahun 2009. Namun jika krisis ekonomi ini tidak diuruskan dengan baik, cekap dan berkesan, negara bakal berada dalam keadaan ketidaktentuan pasaran untuk satu tempoh yang panjang dan berkemungkinan pengguna di Malaysia akan berada pada situasi keberhutangan yang serius untuk satu tempoh yang lama. Krisis ini juga bakal menjadi penghalang terbesar kepada usaha Malaysia untuk mencapai visi Wawasan 2020 seperti yang telah digariskan sebelum ini.

 

Rujukan:-

 

The Return of Depression Economics and The Crisis of 2008, Paul Krugman, W. W. Norton & Company Ltd. 2009.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Zero Interest Rates

17 December 2008 - America might go bankrupt anytime soon if they turn themselves to be Japanese just like in the 1990s'. They just doesn't have that capacity - enough decipline - in terms of financial risk management. But let's keep our finger cross.

p/s: I never lost faith in Greenspan rep, even after 2008 Financial Crisis!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Eid at Labok 2008

Eid in Labok

I took some snapshots of our latest Eid celebration. Here are some photos to share with you all as we try to be a good muslim by performing sacrificies for the poor in Labok, Machang.

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Along and Angah - cousins

Cousins

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Eid in Labok

Kota Bharu - December 2008

The new Pelangi Mall building and the old Padang Merdeka

15 December 2008 - During the last holiday (Eid), I do took an opportunity for a sight seeing in Kota Bharu. Glad to see that the old town is changing, and there are some opportunities perhaps business investment for the Kelantanese to grab. Perhaps this change do bring down the self-centered individuals that used religion for self purposes. Just to state a fact, bigotry and development doesn't live side by side anywhere in this world. Keep it up Kelantanese! 

Great sites

Pelangi Mall

Sight from the riverside

Tambatan di Raja, Kota Bharu

Water runs from the inner Kelantan to the sea

Moonsoon season

Tambatan Di Raja

Me and cousin

Me

Cousin and me

The new building of Kota Bharu Trade Centre at the back in progress

Uptown

Thursday, 11 December 2008

2008 Aidiladha

Me with cousins in Gua Musang

Me in Labok, Machang

11 December 2008 - Have a glimpse of where am I and what I did last Aidiladha. I will blog about it later. 

Friday, 5 December 2008

Please read this book!

5 December 2008 - Dear all friends and all my viewers. Please... please... please... I beg you all please... please read this book. This book is the best thing that ever happened to mankind. If you love your childrens' future, please read this book by Thomas L. Friedman - Hot, Flat and Crowded.

Today is the day that I turned 25 years old. Thanks for all the wishes! God bless you all.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Part II - Security, Food Subsidies, and the behaviour of the Malaysian consumer.

[In this second article of mine, I would discuss 1) the problems of governmental bearing in deciding economic policy (figures and economic indicator), 2) the importance of price, 3) the problems of Malaysian consumer ethics, demands and future consumptions, and 4) the importance of restructuring food subsidies – under the purview of KPDNHEP.] 

 

1.       It seems obvious that figures and economic indicator were not a bearing/ factor in any of the governmental decisions whenever dealing with the disbursement of government funds such as subsidies. As this article is written, Malaysian government had spend almost RM 42.6 BILLION (yes in Billion – Capital B) in a bulk, for the whole 26 millions people disregards of who should the money goes to, what terms, which target groups, what priorities or any workable efficient plan for the food subsidies to reach the right individuals. As such, there were leakages and most often this subsidized food do not reach the targeted consumers (even though how big the number is).

 

2.       I want to go back to the history of the subsidizing programmes as it is important for us to understand why it was implemented before so that it will shed us clear lights for any future decisions in dealing with this issues. Our country’s subsidy programmes were carbon copies of planned economies adopted by the Communist state in Russia. We should know that Communism and socialism were systems of restraint – both by design and through their inefficiency. By design, Communist governments substituted planned economic development for growth through market – incentive system (this will include large social safety nets and governmental spending i.e. government staffs). In the red (Soviets) old days, they were basically just three stores in Moscow – bread, milk, and meat – and virtually no private automobiles. As a result, it was relatively low-impact society in terms of consumer consumptions. By implementation there were no confrontational issues in consumerism plus the Communist economies were corrupt, inefficient, and not very productive, and this also restricted everything from their people’s energy consumption to their caloric intakes (food).


3.       But in today’s world, things have significantly changed. There are a real growing of domestic populations and middle-class earners. As in 1970 the gini coefficient shows a clear in-equality 0.755 to much better 0.445 in 2008 (1.0 – total in-equality, 0.0 total equality), but still the government out of its lavish spending and self-ignorance continues to subsidizes its people. Disregard of the economic indicator, this government continues to subsidize its citizens in a bulk. This later had creates a problems in the early warning systems for the government in handling any market glitch especially in the supplies of food.

 

4.       According to the World Bank, the spiking demand (that happens due to the growing middle class over the years) was not immediately translated into higher prices for consumers, owing to years of massive subsidies for food in Malaysia. This helped to keep some food supplies artificially low even as domestic consumption and domestic demand (plus the world) was growing and more middle-class mouths to feed. This is what was known as a classic market distortion. Malaysian government over the years had neglect and forget the importance of price itself.

 

5.       Price does not only means the values of a particular items (in this context food), but also represent the nature of its resources, market potentials, the timing for the government interventions – as such I would like to state here that price is the most accurate early warning systems for the government to deduct whenever dealing with consumerism. But such things does not happen in Malaysia due to our methods of subsidizing every food even market economies have change fundamentally in the previous years - The consumers were demand driven, as so many more people suddenly are can or will be living a middle-class lifestyle.

 

6.       As we entered the new age of market efficiencies, we are still ignorance of how figures that were in numbers such as per capita – if we have more capita – and a 40 to 50 percent increase in population is pretty much baked into the cake already – we’re going to have a lot more pressure on resources. These resources can be food and it has been food for the previous years. I did talked about the changing standards of the consumer demands on future food – it has also been engineered to be more nutritious, so people get healthier and healthier from less and less food.

 

7.       The future demand would insist on higher and higher standards of items and the produces would try to get much comfort for the consumers from fewer resources. This would also require the produces to innovate, research - lab testing and eventually it would lead to the increase of the price. As such the produces would ask for market prices that will help them to obtain higher value for their products. And this government would turn bankrupt just to feed the people that can fend off themselves. There is no efficiency in dealing with such method of disbursement and as such I can say that this government never know why it decides on such a decision in the first place but merely just spending spree.

 

8.       After years of bad policies, this type of spending spree would nurture bad consumer behaviour that would requires a heavy work of social restructuring. Plus our people don’t exactly know what happened in the planned economic systems such as in Russia. I give you an example, in Russia today, if you dare to talk about controlling prices or subsidizing food openly, the next day metro police would find you dead in a garbage can – the Russia mafia would killed you as they had a hard time getting food on their tables for their families everyday during the planned economies era. I hate to portray such an example, but it is necessary.

 

9.       But such things were hard to explain to the Malaysian consumers because it involves ethics and ethics are not laws. They are not imposed by the state. Rather, they are norms, values, beliefs, habits, and attitudes that are embraced voluntarily – that we as a society impose on ourselves. Laws regulate behaviour from outside in. Ethics regulate behaviour from the inside out. Ethics are something you carry with you whenever you go to guide whatever you do. This is where we should start with.

 

10.     We have to develop new habits and attitudes toward consumption. Otherwise, whatever technologies we devise will simply be used to extend our current habits of profligate consumption to the huge, burgeoning middle classes of the crowded Malaysian for more demand with more governmental spending. To say that there must be an allocation of food subsidies for every household would be fools errand. As growth is not negotiable, especially in the current world where everyone can see how everyone else is living. To tell people they can’t grow is to tell them they have to remain poor forever.

 

11.     I believe the best method would be the issuance of food stamps through the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat. Through this food stamps, the right group can obtain the subsidies food at the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat branch offices (all over Malaysia – I do talked with one of their officers over this matter). The adoption of the same mechanism when this agency had to allocate poverty allowances to the hardcore/ abject poverty group is most simple solutions. The middle class earners would feel ashamed of themselves whenever thinking that they deserved the government money for their food and this will change the consumer ethics. As such, this government can save up to RM 40 Billion a year is a simple mathematical calculation (1970 – 40% abject poverty group, 2008 – 1.4% abject poverty group). I deserved Datukship for this!

 

12.     I do understand that this is not a very popular decision to take, as individuals would save their own neck but remember the inconvenient truth - because no one would wants to commit individual suicide; we are all committing collective suicide through the continuance of the food subsidies to the middle class earners.


Monday, 1 December 2008

Thailand and democracy

2 December 2008 - I feel disappointed to read about Thailand's internal problems nowadays. Having wrote an article about Thailand internal contradictions a year ago (here), I have to admit that there is a very long way to go for Thai peoples to embrace democracy and the road that they looks like to undertake might be a bloody one. This development would surely affect the relations between its neighbour such as trans-border problems with Malaysia and Cambodia (the ancient temple issues might precipitates an all out war - to deviate the internal contradictions that is happening now).

 

Thai peoples need to understand and respect democracy, because they are the one that pick the current Thais government. This respects would requires them to be patience and if they need to change their government, they shouldn't do it through coup de' tat or demonstrations - but through the same ballot box that they picked their government before. These internal problems have undermined the development of Thailand. That is very shame, because Thailand has a lot of potentials that it can exploit for the betterment of its people. 

 

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Security, Food Subsidies, and the behaviour of the Malaysian consumer.

[Salam all, in my article this time I will explain the significant correlation between three issues i.e. securities, food subsidies and the behaviour of the Malaysian consumers - how the development of security issues post-Cold War period would determined how world wide consumer behave including Malaysian consumer thus precipitating a needed change in the way the government in this context - KPDNHEP in dealing with food subsides (flour, sugar) in the future to come.]

 

1.     During the Cold War period, security issues were looked at merely in the context of military issues, particularly the U.S. vs U.S.S.R. context. But after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and after the whole world saw of how Communism and Socialist economy ravages the Eastern European and Russia economy, security were defined more into a detail perspective. As such came the term called as human security. According to Human Development Report, there are seven specifics elements that constitute human security which are:-

 

i)                economic security (freedom from poverty);

ii)               food security (access to food);

iii)              health security (protection from disease and provision of health care);

iv)              environmental security (protection from pollution and resource depletion);

v)               personal security (physical safety from torture, war, and criminal attacks);

vi)              community security (survival and cultural identity); and

vii)            Political security (freedom from oppression).


2.     Having stated the seven above elements that constitute human security, I will only touch on two issues which are economic security and food security. Economic health is an extricable part of national security. It is prerequisite to the pursuit of national security – both in internal and external dimensions. It provides the means to neutralize some of the domestic sources of conflict, makes the state less vulnerable to external pressure and penetration, and makes possible the allocation necessary resources to counter internal and external threat.

 

3.     This is relevant to the developing states such as Malaysia, where a deteriorating or stagnating economy and distortion in income distribution can give rise to exacerbate already existing domestic conflicts and thus threaten the very idea of the state. As such the government of Malaysia after gaining its independence has embark on numerous social projects of providing its citizen with nutritional food, optimal healthcare and economic opportunities to mend oneself from an extreme or an abject poverty.

 

4.     Among the introduced social projects were 1) the distribution of toilet bowls to the urban and rural peoples of Malaysia, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health aimed to inculcate hygienic habits and to deter/ prevent endemic such as cholera, TB, etc (just to name two); 2) the introduction of food subsides on certain food items such as flour and sugar as a nutritional programmes spearheaded also by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Ministry of Industrial and Commerce. These two programmes were launched and planned by the Economic Planning Unit under the auspices of its then Minister Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie after consulting the former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and his Chief Secretary of State in 1970.


5.     To cut short, the New Economic Policy and the National Development Plan had proved to be a success in bringing up the well being of the Malaysian citizens as a whole. From having a 40% (1969) of its citizens in an abject poverty group, the percentage had decrease enormously to 1.4% in 2008. As such, the transition of abject poverty to a relative poverty among the Malaysian citizens can be seen everywhere from individual own property, narrow gap of gini coefficient, and the well being of the Malaysian consumer as a whole. As such, the definition of security were also re-defined into a more complex issues from the rights of a community to the rights of a minority group to the rights of an individual to own an assets, to procure, to compete and to questions issues that matters. One of these issues is food security.

 

6.     I did mentioned above of how our government had spend millions of ringgit to distribute free toilet bowls and taught the urban and rural citizens of Malaysia on how to use it properly. Before the programmes, most of the Malaysian citizens would resort in a traditional ways in answering nature calls and this had made them vulnerable to endemic diseases. After much success, such programmes has been stopped due to the increase and mounting cost (try to imagine how much toilets bowls would cost the government in the current market) and also the cost of manpower to teach every citizens to use toilet bowls properly. Such things were an alien today and we would also laugh on such idea that the government need to subsidize its people to shit properly. But that is how the situation before. Forgive me to portray such example, but that subsidizing programmes even though how nauseating to you all is the perfect example for me to relate on the issues of food subsidies that the government is spending today.

 

7.     The toilet bowls subsidies have stopped but the food subsidies are continuing. Even though the abject poverty of the Malaysian people has decreased enormously from 40% to 1.4%, the government out of its ignorance still continued subsidizing its people disregard of its citizens’ per capita income, gini coefficient, or its incidence of poverty. Even though the definitions of poverty have changed from abject/ extreme to a relative poverty, hundreds millions of ringgit are still spent today to cater the food subsidies.

 

8.     Figures of Real per capita GNP that is considered an important indicator of the standard of living, since income provides the basis that allows people to sustain themselves and their families, while the distribution of income reflects equity and balanced development were not a point of reference for the government in its subsidizing programmes. The real per capita GNP doubled from RM3,120 (RM3,734 in nominal terms) in 1980 to RM6,130 (RM12,051 in nominal terms) in 1997 as a result of the high economic growth. It showed clearly that most of the Malaysian can fend for themselves and do not rely anymore on the government subsidies except that 1.4% of its abject poverty groups. But the amount of government subsidies that were planned still figured for the rest of its 26 million citizens.

 

9.     We know that with the effect of the globalize world, the market economics have become the norms in virtually every country in the world, including Malaysian which educating its consumers to ask for a better and perfect products. For a market to keep producing perfect products for the consumer, a cost is needed for products innovations and safety test. As such the government will end up bankrupt to keep subsidizing its growing citizens with its growing demands and its growing standards for its consumed food. Even though, millions and millions of Malaysian new consumers and producers were able to buy or sell their goods and services – as an individual or companies – and were able to collaborate with more people in more places on more things with greater ease for less money than ever before, the Malaysian government still subsidizing its people with food that their own people can procure.

 

10.    Amid the path that the Malaysian consumer is walking with their own version of economic well being – a car, a house, and air conditioner, a cell phone, a microwave, a toaster, a computer, and an i-Pod – the Malaysian government still subsidized its people with food on the table. With the increase of the consumer demand standards asking for better and quality food, try to imagined how much the government had to subsidized its people with the right flour and flour only – not to include sugar, rice or health care/ free hospitals. As such this government would go bankrupt in 2020. So much of the great vision of self-sustaining economy.

 

11.    Based on the points I stated above, I asked for a review in the government food subsidies that should fend off only for those 1.4% of abject poverty group and not the whole 26 million peoples of Malaysia. The right way to deal with the food subsidies is to float the price of these items based on the current markets and the introduction of food stamps for the 1.4% abject poverty group and this food stamps should be obtain only at the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat. Currently, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat is handling an abject poverty group with its social safety nets such as a personal allowances for those that is living below poverty line (RM 700 a month or USD 1.00 a day). This is the right group that should be getting the food subsidies. As such, the government can decrease the amount of its un-needed spending for the rich, and the rich/ “haves” fend for themselves. At least, the “haves” consumers would feel ashamed of themselves whenever thinking that they are getting free food on their tables’ everyday with the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat food stamps printed on their food receipts.

 

To be continue…. 

Saturday, 29 November 2008

UMNO

30 November 2008 - UMNO is in a state of FUBAR. I blame it all on Abdullah and his son in law. UMNO seems like it is going to lose the 13th election. The UMNO leaders is in a state of denial and resorting to bigotry politics and self-centred mission. Malaysian is moving up a notch in non-communal politics and UMNO is in a state of denial. I don't think the in waiting Prime Minister could do much about it even though he is a very smart fella. It is too late already - at least that is my current thinking.

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy