Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Economic Debate

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has challenged PM Najib Razak to a debate on the economy. Anwar had proposed a 100-day reform which includes giving additional RM500 to teachers, abolishing all tolls and others. He claimed that it will cost the country 'just' RM19 billion.

Najib said that the Pakatan proposal will turn Malaysia into the next Greece. However, he is set to spend RM67 billion on various ETP projects this year. Among the projects include the RM43 billion new LRT lines and a RM5 billion 100-storey buildings. Will Malaysia become make the Greece financial crisis look like a storm in a tea cup?

Of course a civilised, intellectual and constructive debate is always encouraged. Politicians need to learn how to debate effectively without needing to stroke racial or religious tensions. There are some serious economic issues in Malaysia which we hope the two leaders would not only focus on how much we need to spend or to build to develop the economy.

Anwar's proposal does not is not convincing enough. While Najib has criticized the move to give additional allowance to teachers, he had done the same for Felda settlers and others. Abolishing tolls is another no brainer strategy.

It is obvious that the Malaysian economy is no longer on the regional and global investors' radar. First, we are not part of a group of emerging economies which are touted to become hop spots of growth in the 21st century.

The Next Eleven (or N-11) are eleven countries—Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam—identified by Goldman Sachs investment bank as having a high potential of becoming the world's largest economies in the 21st century along with the BRICs. The bank chose these states, all with promising outlooks for investment and future growth, on December 12, 2005.

Goldman Sachs used macroeconomic stability, political maturity, openness of trade and investment policies, and the quality of education as criteria. The N-11 paper is a follow-up to the bank's 2003 paper on the four emerging "BRIC" economies, Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

BRICs economies has been growing rapidly since 2003 benefited from the attention and weight given by investment houses following the lead of Goldman Sachs.

Instead of wasting on rhetoric, both Pakatan and Barisan leaders should focus on issues such as:

1) Jobs creation - how to create more higher value and knowledge centric jobs
2) Income per capita - how to double Malaysia's income per capita of USD8,100 so that we do not have to double the population to achieve growth in aggregate demand?
3) Lack of skills & quality of education - how to enhance the skills of Malaysian labour through a quality education system. The ministry of education should stop the fixation with the history subject and politicizing the issue of citizenship.
4) Public institutions - how to enhance the transparency, effectiveness and productivity of a politically impartial public institutions and civil service?
5) Nationhood - how to achieve a real nationhood with a holistic and responsible social engineering agenda? If the Barisan government and the likes of Perkasa continue to brand all non-Malays as migrants after 53 years of independence then there is very little hope for Malaysia to be included in any category of emerging economies.

The debate should also focus on issues related to innovation, competitiveness and productivity.

Without a taking a serious look at the economic issues, the Malaysian economy will suffer the same malaise like our political system. Both Pakatan and Barisan should accept positive and constructive criticism that there many useless, irresponsible, manipulative and insincere politicians within their ranks who are apt at using religion and race to achieve their political ends. The recent manipulation of constitutional monarchy in their political contestation is going to hurl this country backward.

Both parties might as well bring back absolute monarchy, dump democracy and send Malaysia back to the feudal era.

We should take note that Malaysia is a small and not so significant country in the region. We should do our best to attract investment and talents to our country. There are many examples on how to do so. Just take a look at how Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland and other smaller countries are doing it.

They did it by putting a key focus on citizenship and value contribution of each individual and not colour of the skin or creed.


najib manaukau said...

Anything this grand mother of liars has to say is to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Just like what he said that he was taking over the government and nothing came out of it nothing. When he was in Umno and as DPM he called on the Chinese to go back to China to advance his own career in Umno but he is now not saying anything of it. He was just using the Chinese as his punching bag.
What a politician and most unfortunately for the Malaysians who believe in him to topple the BN government have a very long time to wait or may be have to wait till he gets out of jail for his sodomy. Lets hope and pray that we can find someone amongst the millions of Malaysians who believes sincerely he can topple the corrupted the Umno led government. There must be one other than this lusty Anwar and the rabid mad dog LKS.
Take my words it would happen as long as they are the leaders of the opposition and not even in their life time !

Anonymous said...

"..both Pakatan and Barisan leaders should focus on issues such as:

You have given only 5. I think there are more, such as:

1. The Public Insitutions should include the Judiciary which has gone to the dogs, the MACC, PDRM, EC, the civil service etc

2. Mass corruption/ cronism
3. Media freedom.
4. Parliamentary reform.

Anonymous said...

Khoo,pls do not expect current leaders to recruit and hire someone more qualified than them. Ok? Cari makan doctrine!

Anonymous said...

The biggest non productive expenditure for the past many years is CORRUPTION!!!

Malaysia is not doing well for the past many years is becos of CORRUPTION!!!

Many unjust practices for the past many years are caused by CORRUPTION!!!

Every failure in every field for the past many years is due to CORRUPTION!!!

Savings from CORRUPTION itself will make Malaysia rich and prosperous.

Malaysia First said...

Well, guess what. both PR and BN are power-crazy. The choice before us, should we let what we have experienced for the last 53 years continued for another 5 years or if PR said they can rule better, should we give PR a chance? But if you think PR is not going to become even more corrupt than BN, this need to be proven. In Taiwan, when the DPP takes over from the KMT, the DPP became even more corrupt than the DPP. But KMT eventually learned their lesson an is now back to power. For us, we have a broken system, so our final choice is simply to pick the best of the worse. If PR thinks they are better, give them one term and if they do not live up to expectation, kick them out. Hopefully by then BN has reformed and re-invent themselves (just like what the KMT did) while in the wilderness, hopefully.

What do you think, logical?

Anonymous said...

in Malaysia. we picked the least qualified to sit on the top position, the current ills are a sign of this malaise affecting malaysia. In matured democracies, the ruling party will take on a debate with the opposition head n let the people decide on the outcome. here the ruling party has no courage to debate as it will show their shortcomings n weaknesses. This is the reality here. the ruling party leaders do their debates via the controlled media by directing the media what to write. Correct correct correct

Anonymous said...

Dear najib manaukau,

I think you should go back to school.

ayub said...

I believe that in order to bring out the best in education, the examination system should/must be in line with we had over 25 years ago.
Start school at 7yrs old and attend school for 6 years and students must pass the std.6 exams to be eligible to attend form 1, failures must not be allowed to continue to form 1.Those who failed can take up vocational training as an apperentice tradesman. We wont be having indons,banglas etc.
The next 3 years will be spent studying for the LCE {pmr}exams, a pass is required to continue to form 4, failures can be given vocational training{mlvk}type ,the next 2 yrs be spent on preparing for form 5 exams[SPM]students be seperated to arts ,science and commerce strams according to grades obtained.
Abolish matriculation.[Rubbish}In order to gain entrance to unis , only the best, cut off at 3P passes.
To those who failed spm ,give them technical,commerce or whatever occupation at support staff, certificate or dipolma courses
What we have now is that every tom dick and harry is in university,public or private and be UNEMPLOYED after graduation.
Just like old times ,bring back quality.
We then wont need all those "imported" workers.
Dont mess with education with politics.

Jeremiah said...

The economic analysis of Malaysia by Roubini (mentioned in today's Malaysian Insider) should form the core theme of the national economic debates between the PM and Anwar.

All the rest are sides issues. Even the ETP programs are mainly Keynesian expansionary policies that does not address the decline in the labour and capital productivity of the manufacturing sector.

These are indeed the big issues which will burden the nation and keep it from enjoying economic prosperity in the next decade.

Rent-seeking versus economic liberalism;
Government involvment in business vs private enterprise;
Closed tender vs open tender;
Protectionist auto sector vs consumer's purchasing power to afford quality cars;
Integrated education system vs the fragmented, vernacular, politicised system today;
Maths and Science in English vs regression into historical propaganda.

Anonymous said...

So much have been bragged about by the PM on ETP and the relevent investments.No details whatsoever on who and what have been invested.
MOUs and promises! Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore is at least 15 years ahead of Malaysia.
These countries are still very dynamic and not static! There is no way of catching up by 2020.Even if Malaysia comes close to US$8000/- income, the bar for developed state would have been raised!

Anonymous said...

Great writup Khoo.
The BN politicians and their racialistic, corrupted and pea brain cronies esp from Perkasa will not learn and they will do however destuctive to the country as a whole to achieve their racialistic and corrupted agenda.

Anonymous said...

Just attended Senator Idris Jala's first ETP briefing of the year.

The man is impressive but his efforts at transforming Malaysia is shackled by four chains:

NEP, Cronyism, Science and Maths in Malay, non-Prosecution of Corrupted Ministers/Tycoons.

Read: "An Honest Man Diggint Thru A Mountain Called Malaysia."