Since the cabinet has been formed, the government must get down to work on a post-oil dependent future for the country. In the last budget 08', government's revenue is largely dependent on oil & gas (46.8% of total revenue projected). Oil and gas contributed not more than 26% to the government's coffer less than a decade ago.
Serious initiatives must be undertaken to develop other critical sectors such as service, manufacturing, education, advanced manufacturing, food production and tourism. Politicians from both sides of the divide should sit down to review the causes of brain drain.
Malaysia must not only stop the outflow of skilled workers to other countries, it must also take immediate steps to attract foreign and local talents to return to work in these critical sectors. On top of that, our standards of education has to be greatly enhanced. Both Hishamuddin and Mohd Khaled Nordin (Minister of Higher Education) must now work hand-in-hand to liberalise and improve the education system.
These steps must be taken immediately to reverse the slide in our competitiveness as a knowledge economy. Moreover, our continuous dependency on oil and gas as the main revenue generator can be fatal. Policy makers must snap out from their complacency.
For a start, Abdullah has made the right move by dropping several controversial ministers and appointed a few reputable individuals such as Zaid Ibrahim. However, the inclusion of Muhammad Muhd Taib comes as a surprise for me. I guess the PM is trying to juggle between public perception and his own survival within UMNO.