Move over Gaza, move over KT and instead focus on the rising unemployment in the country.
Human Resources Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said some 45,000 workers in the manufacturing sector may be temporarily out of a job soon as most factories will cease operations during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
While it is good the government is beginning to come clean on the current situation, it is still trying to convince us that the situation is under control. Dr S. Subramaniam said that, as of Jan 12, 14,000 workers from various sectors lost their jobs because of the world economic slowdown, but there were some 15,000 job vacancies in various sectors registered with the ministry.
Earlier, I had warned the government that something concrete has to be done before the Chinese New Year. It wrong to give an impression that demand is slowing down only after the CNY period. Exports have slowed down since August 2008.
While the government, including UMNO, is busy collecting funds for Palestinians in Gaza it should really consider setting up funds for those retrenched and local companies facing the brunt of economic slowdown.
Two very important socio-economic interests which must be protected:
1) Retrenchments - loss of jobs
2) Loss of homes through loan defaults
It is admirable for the government to launch a "Buy Malaysian Products" campaign. But it is necessary for the government to show that it really cares for the people by beginning to provide direct financial support to the people. The Taiwanese, Chinese and Australian governments have done similar thing. Singapore is likely to follow suit and looking to dip into its national reserves.
Rising unemployment should be our main focus for now. The government, under false impression that things are under control, should immediate work out viable and relevant economic stimulus to help the country's economy and not react last minute to a severe downturn.
Economic decentralisation remains a viable option to allow state governments more resources and freedom to work on their respective state economy.