It is interesting to know who are the ones behind PM Najib's economic vision. Those who are advising him should know that policies are interconnected. A policy change must be balanced against other components in the equation. For example, subsidy cuts must be complimented with steps and efforts to increase the per capita income of the people.
Malaysia's per capita income of USD7k per annum in low compared to its aspiration to become a fully developed country by 2020. The government wants to double the per capita income by 2020 but fall short of spelling out the steps to be taken.
Ironically, the cabinet is supposed to meet up on Wednesday to approve cuts in various subsidies e.g. sugar, flour, oil, gas etc.
It may be wise to reduce the government's spending on subsidies but at the same time these savings must be channeled towards real capacity building to enhance the per capita income of Malaysians.
If we continue to remain a low salary and low cost destination, the cuts will bring more destitution to the people. Standard of living will continue to drop due to lower consumption power and higher goods and services costs.
Moreover, the government is trying to create more outlets for people to 'try their luck' when everything else looks gloomy. Azly said "In the name of progress and development, Malaysia hopes to create a nation of gamblers by approving soccer gambling licenses."
I totally support Azly's call to stop giving out more gambling licenses. More people who may not have access to illegal betting syndicates can now become legal punters.
It appears that Najib's economic policy and market liberalisation has confused more people than provide enlightenment.
He should help to address critical issues such as skills and brains deficit, low income level, corruption, wastage of public funds, civil service transformation and others.
The most important liberalisation he has failed to undertake is to provide a comprehensive review of the NEP and to introduce meritocracy into the system.
Liberalisation is not by giving more soccer gambling licenses. I agree with Azly that it is a new social cancer which is waiting to wreck many households.