I am back! I would like to thank friends and readers who have contributed to my last post on remedy for our economic woes. Over the past few days, apart from attending to official business I spend my time talking to a number of people about the current socio-economic condition.
There are several critical problems which must be addressed soon. First, real inflation is rearing its ugly head and this is probably the same throughout the country. Unless and until a solution is found, consumer sentiment is not about to recover soon. I have spoken to a number of retailers and restaurant operators on the worsening inflationary pressure on consumption. A growing number of people have cut down on dining out.
Specifically, what can be done to counter inflation? Hiking interest rates does not appear as a simple and effective solution. Recent government effort to lower retail oil prices does not help the situation much. Uncertainty over government policy change does not drive down retail prices of food, services and other consumer items. The damage is done. How?
Second, I find it difficult to change mindset when talking to some stakeholders. For years, the government has been helping the industry by handing out easy and lucrative contracts. Malaysian economy is still heavily dependent on subsidy. High dependency on government handouts is a barrier to having a more competitive economy.
In fact, it tends to breed cronyism and corruption in the system. Contracts are handed out not always based on merit but political connection. A member of parliament shared with me that a repair and maintenance contract was initially tendered out for twice the price by the previous state government.
To end this, we must lose our dependency on the government. This means we should also stop to expect the government to do everything for us. Private sector and the society should take initiative to make this country vibrant again. Government should govern responsibly, fairly and with accountability. It should not resort to the use of draconian laws or unjust actions. Government should respect the rule of law and not rule by law.
However, we must be fair to the government too. We cannot blame them for everything. For example, heavy downpour which causes flash floods all over the country are often man made. At a housing area, residents often dump their rubbish into the drain. Heavy rain causes overflow of water to their housing area because the drainage system is clogged with rubbish. Such unscrupulous behaviour must end.
Do not always blame or depend on the government for everything. We have to take major responsibility of our own well-being.
Hence, I would like to hear your feedback on how to improve public safety and cleanliness around us. By feeling safe and clean, our minds will be better conditioned for more challenging tasks ahead.
What say you?