Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dr M: Najid Did Not Shine

Dr Mahathir said the obvious, "Najib did not shine.". Najib will take power at the end of March and will have to deal with the worst economic downturn since the Asian financial crisis of 1998 as well as rebuilding a party tainted with corruption and still bruised by last year’s big election losses.

“A lot of people are uncertain. Having watched Najib’s performance as deputy (prime minister), he did not shine,” Mahathir said.

I have a clear example to show why he did not shine. Instead of responding to the critics of his second stimulus plan, Najib chose to hit out at them. So far, the second stimulus has failed to raise both the market and consumer confidence.

There are a few problems with the stimulus. First, it lacked details. I have said earlier in my article that it is not just the size that matters. It is important for the stimulus package to address important hot spots in the economy. Two are very key; reducing job lost and improving domestic demand. Only a paltry RM2 billion is allocated for job creation. However, the government has failed to show us how it is going to create these new jobs.

The civil service is expected to employ 61,000 more people. This is not a permanent way forward. By ratio, the Malaysian civil service is already the biggest in Asia surpassing Japan. Almost 2 out of 10 workers are civil servants.

It is more important for the government to identify ways to jolt the economy in the short run to produce growth in the mid and long term. Sustaining economic growth and creating jobs should be the focus of private sector. But this sector must be given enough assistance to tide through the downturn.

The government is also muted on how it intends to continue with GLCs reform. Some GLCs are money losing and some did not perform up to expectations e.g. EPF. There must a clear cut strategy to ensure the second stimulus also address restructuring of the economy.

So far, a good number of Malaysians cannot see how the stimulus is benefiting them. There is no tax cut, no direct stimulus, no new jobs, no new industries created but merely promises.

I concur with Dr M that Najib has failed to inspire and shine as a Finance Minister. Until and unless the incoming premier address and answer some of these tough questions regarding his stimulus package and his (lack of) direction to guide the economy, his popularity rating will be low. Malaysians are just not inspired by his leadership. Not yet.


Anonymous said...

He 'EXPLODED', better than shine.

Can't help it!

Dua Gelas said...

Make NO mistake, brader KPKhoo.

TDM was merely talking about Najib's performance as Pak Lah's deputy.

And you are commenting on the "details" of the 2nd stimulus package.

TDM's assessment can be easily rebutted by stating that a DPM has "limited space" to put up a good show. Further, a DPM is also slow to do anything that may overshadow his boss.

TDM himself must have recognised all this when he was DPM to Tun Hussein Onn.

We will see after taking oath as our 6th PM how Najib shall perform and shine.

He is no freshie in Malaysian politics, mind you.

Best regards.

dragon said...

The big surprise is that, why are the component parties keeping quiet over this stimulus package... aren t there no think tank in this parties to comment on this in adequate package,.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I do not know if he dropped school to return home to contest in the general election after his father's death.
He could be judged by the quality of his speeches - no elan, no charisma, no leadership material.
His intelligence, if any, does not shine either.

wandererAUS said...

The first concern of any stimulus package is to protect jobs. Just because 2 out of 10 workers are civil servants, other sectors especially the manufacturing industies should be given due attention. I don't see this in the 2nd stimulus package.
In this difficult time, how much of tax refund are given to the citizens...most average wage earners will be struggling to find both ends meet.
A dinosaur package, lacking in substance and vision!

Anonymous said...

The country is dead economically. Until there is a structural change in the way Malaysians view job and job ethics, change the mindset to believe that nobody is responsible for their coming to this world, and that they have to work to survive, the majority of the population, more so the preferred race would think that they are entitled to be government servants. The idea is the employment offers them all the goodies, including gala times at hotel, for producing the so-called services consumed by them. Yes government service is required to ensure that the society function with fairness and justice, and an environment of peace and stability for economic activities to function so that people can put meals on their tables and shelter over their heads.

Some 20% of the work force in government service is the highest in the world, but they performed much less than countries which have a lower percentage of civil servants. Crime rate in the country is the highest in ASEAN countries though we have the larger number of police personnel. The reason was that less than a tenth of them are involved in crime busting, while the rest were busy retailing their power to supplement their income.

The 63,000 to be included into government service is not so much to produce more work, or to bother the citizens with government red tapes, but to take them away from the streets so that crime rate would not rise further. The government is buying peace.

The government has been busy all these years spending revenues from exports and taxes without ever investing in the economic capacity of the country. When export falls, there is nothing the government can do to improve their export competitiveness. There is nothing that we can sell that other countries cannot produce. We have even no reliable local workers to replace legal or illegal foreign workers. There is no way stimulus would work to increase export. There will be no local products that could emerge for export, or even for local consumption. We have vast track of agricultural land but we still have to import foods. According to TDM, factory land produces more GDP per square foot compared to agricultural land. That might be true if that factory land can continue to produce GDP without depending on the supplies and demands of foreigners. This country is at best labour contractors. When the laborers are not required to produce for exports throwing money in the market would not help. Yes, the government can stimulate the consumption side of the economy by throwing money to the people to spend these will go for paying imports. The people were asked by Najib to change their life style in the face of high oil price even though we are net exporter of oil. For the present, the solution is to tighten the belt.

Of the RM6o billion stimulus package, RM 45 billion are for loan guarantee. These might allow some people to push the stock market. When the public are more concern in buying food than shares, they cannot even create bubbles to feel good.

The social engineering started 40 years ago is here to haunt the country.


drMpower said...

i am all interested with the last para of ur posting. that u concur with Dr M on that najib 'failed' to shine as FM.

may i put to u that u are just taking advantage on the old man's initial 'confession' just to pin something on najib? in fact i just thinking that u will concur on anything even with nik aziz, just for the sake to make najib or any BN's leaders look bad. pot shots.

but fair enough to u, as u mention now u are doing postgrad study by a private entity scholar and without any help of the government ( i bet u will concur also on this ), so u can and u will give it wherenever u find it appropriate.

his performance on FM must be access based on a period of time and najib's arrival on such time where economy OF THE WOLRD turned upside down, is not helping him either. it is easy to play the blame game and point fingers. but its all u want to do initially. so be it.

wonder if DAP's whizzkid tony phua feels he is responsible to carry the weight too. i mean, they say hes the economic minda of DAP and educated at oxford, so he must have something to offer to better things off. yet, he chickened out and choose to remain silent. maybe he also concur that nothing is good these days. i mean the economy.

Anonymous said...

For once I agree with pendatang (chinanese)

Anonymous said...

where has all the corridors been ....

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dua Gelas,

Make no mistake. You are clearly a die hard supporter of Najib. Your reasoning is laughable. The second stimulus was made when it was already known that Abdullah is stepping down to make way for Najib.

Najib chose to slam his critics than to acknowledge some issues with the second stimulus.

You should try harder than trying to rebut through a flimsy justification that Najib has a limited space to shine.

How many are convinced by you? Not many, I can assure you.