US and Malaysia are facing the serious problem - but of different magnitude - with their domestic economy. It is probably much worse in the US than here. But there is a stark difference in the way politicians from both sides responded to the problem.
US politicians are calling for stern measures to rescue the financial sector from collapsing. Although the Congress has approved an initial USD 700 billion rescue package, it was not done until agreement is reached on measures needed to ensure weaknesses are corrected (hopefully!) and plans are laid to strengthen the financial system and consumer demand.
Jitters, especially home buyers who defaulted on their mortgages, are hoping for some assistance to help keep their home. This is psychologically very important to ensure consumer confidence of the economy does not crumble to a level where an economic meltdown is irreversible.
Malaysia's export is dependent on the US market. Almost 50% of our export heads to the States. Friends at the logistics companies told me than there is a marked decrease in export volume since last month.
On the ground, inflation is extraordinarily high. Prices have double in the last ten years but not salary growth. Graduate entry level pay has lost at least 20% premium.
In the US, presidential candidate Barrack Obama is keen to put the economic problem at the forefront of his campaign. John McCain made a costly move of halting his campaign to rush back to Washington to help deal with the problem.
We need politicians to show leadership during difficult times.
Here in Malaysia, politicians busy jostling for positions.
Can you seriously believe that a change of prime minister or deputy prime minister is going to change the situation for the better overnight?
So far, we have not heard anything smart from any politicians on how to handle the growing socio-economic dilemma.
Actions taken so far are either inadequate (lowing retail oil prices, increasing deficit spending) or wrong (ISA, Race Relations Act, DNA Bill, PPA).
To take the first step, we should stop the blame game. Perhaps Ku Li is right about the need to establish a unity government.