In this post I am going ‘all over the place’. Bear with me.
The main point is that the PH government is beginning to falter. Nothing much is happening and there is a reason for this. The government particularly the Cabinet Ministers, do not seem to know what to do.
This is not a case of they are new and they are still learning on the job. Whether they know their jobs or not the lowest hanging fruits are those old and past-expiry-date policies of the Barisan Nasional. Those policies must be abolished. Tak payah fikir panjang. This is not being done. Why is this not being done?
Folks, the Malaysian economy is not recovering fast enough. Yes car sales are up – that is a good sign but it appears that the higher incomes are not accruing across the board. Some sectors may be seeing some improvement but generally things are still slow. The retail sector is still dying.
Recently we were visited by some local gold jewellery suppliers who had never sold gold jewellery inside Malaysia [or very little]. They were geared up solely for exporting to the Dubai gold market.
Many people are not aware that a very huge amount of the gold jewellery sold in the world famous Dubai Gold Souk or Dubai Gold Market is actually made here in Batu Pahat, Johor. Malaysia exported over RM3 billion annually in gold jewellery around the world, plenty of it to Dubai. But the Dubai economy is now in dire straits. [For a quick primer on the current crisis in Dubai click here].
So now our own gold jewellery exporters are exploring new customers here in Malaysia. Hence their visit to my premises. It also means that they must have laid off staff, shut down some manufacturing lines and travel less to Dubai. Local business is affected.
China is also facing a slowdown – which also affects our economy. Yesterday I heard that of China’s huge trade surplus with the US, a sizeable portion of their manufactured exports use components manufactured in ASEAN. So if China slows, we also suffer.
[Itu pasal jangan cari gaduh dengan sesiapa pun. The world is so interconnected].
So what is the new PH government doing to stimulate the economy?
Who is the Minister of Economic Affairs?
We do not hear anything from him.
Our Minister of Economic Affairs
OK granted that the PH government is just eight months old.
We cannot expect results so quickly.
However it should not take more than 24 hours for the PH government to announce a list of the old BN / UMNO policies that must be abolished and the new policies that must be put in place.
Tak payah pikir panjang. Just make the announcement first and then follow through. But even this is not happening.
For example abolishing the Sedition Act was put into the PH election manifesto. It took some time but the Sedition Act was first put into cold storage or KIV. But that lasted only a couple of weeks. When the Seafield temple issue flared up the PH government announced that the Sedition Act was being “reinstated”.
Reinstated? What for?
How many people were arrested in Seafield Jaya under the Sedition Act ? None?
Instead they arrested some Facebook or Twitter posters on a totally unrelated issue – for “insulting” that used Lada owner.
The Seafield temple was a local issue involving some developer.
It does not involve any sedition.
Why ‘reinstate’ the Sedition Act? Tak ada kena mengena.
[By the way is it true that the Jabatan Bomba has rejected the results of the autopsy? Why? What is the locus standi of the Jabatan Bomba to even accept or reject the autopsy report? Only the family of the victim has locus standi to accept or reject the autopsy report.]
Back to the economy I have been raising the issue of putting our banking system back to what it was in the 1980s and 90s.
Without reinstating our banking system we are NOT going to see robust economic growth.
I would like to think that my persistent and consistent Blog posts about liberalising our banking and financial system has had some influence on these discussions above. But these are talk show type discussions.
Where are the government’s policy decisions or at least the policy debates to reform our really rusty and economy-destroying banking and financial system?
Yes the ‘consolidation’ of the banking system [around 2001] has already destroyed our economy. Much growth has been stifled by the most inefficient banking and financial system that we have now.
You want proof ? Just look at all those Ah Long stickers all over the place.
The Ah Longs will never go away because they fill a huge vacuum in our financial system. A vacuum vacated by the oligopolistic and constipated banking system.
We need to bring back local commercial banks, finance companies, credit and leasing companies and such. There must be a bank or finance company or small scale credit and leasing company on every street corner in every small town in Malaysia. Credit makes the world go around.
The ketuanan fellows listened to that really stupid mamak and “reduced” our efficient banking and financial system to basically SIX government owned mega banks. They called it ‘consolidation’. Ever since that ‘consolidation’ our economy went from a tiger to a kitten.
You can see the above historical GDP curve for Malaysia from 1980 to 2017. We suffered that Asian Financial crisis in 98 – 99. The bank consolidation [plus wiping out finance companies, credit companies etc] took place in 01 – 02. Look at the GDP growth before and after the Asian Financial Crisis.
The Asian Financial Crisis is long over. Yet we have never fully recovered until this day – eighteen long years later. Why? Because we killed our financial system. The stupid mamak convinced the ketuanan village idiots to reduce the entire banking and financial system to just a few GLC banks.
So please lets reinstate our banking system. Apa susah sangat engkau orang ni tak faham? Just look at the numbers. Just look again at that Ah Long poster. The Ah Longs will never disappear.
I have also been raising the matter [many times] of abolishing the many huge, oppressive and unethical monopolies and oligopolies that we have in this country – all sanctioned by the previous government.
Unfortunately the present PH government is not even thinking about abolishing these monopolies.
I hope the NGOs, public interest groups, consumer associations and others will take this up urgently. I am the only guy raising these issues again and again.
This “required thinking” is not happening. If these issues are not even being discussed seriously by our new government then how will they even begin to make the policy changes, and pass or abolish the relevant laws in Parliament etc?
I received the following comment by a reader about Salahuddin Ayob the Minister of Agriculture and the issue of the Bernas rice monopoly.
Dear Tuan Syed,
I live in Kedah and I heard some disturbing news. Apparently the Agriculture Minister has refused to meet any of the rice millers when he was in Kedah. My friend who works as a rice miller said that the government is planning to kill off ALL rice millers before thinking of breaking up Bernas. It seems like they want Bernas to take over the rice millers too. What is going on???
OSTB : I say Salahuddin Ayob betul ke saudara tak mahu jumpa dengan rice millers di Kedah? Apa pasal? The reader also sent the following [old] news article
PUTRAJAYA will not rush into decision on Bernas rice monopoly the firm’s contract expire only in 2021, said Salahuddin Ayub.
Cabinet agreed to break Bernas’ monopoly special committee planning replacement model.
big issues faced by country
cannot rush (into making a decision)
national food security issue,” he told press
proposed models submitted to govt will be reviewed
ministry to increase padi production to 75% from 70% within four years
– Bernama, January 22, 2019.
My comments :
Increase padi production by 5% in FOUR years??
That is just over ONE PERCENT a year.
Saudara Salahudin Ayob, kalau hang tak buat apa pun, kalau tak jaga sawah, tak potong rumput pun, the padi harvest can still increase by MORE than ONE PERCENT every year – by itself.
We do not need a Minister to increase padi production by just over ONE PERCENT a year.
Itek pun boleh tambah output sawah padi lebih daripada ONE PERCENT satu tahun. Even the itek can do better than that.
There is no need to fikir panjang-panjang about removing Bernas’ rice monopoly. Just remove it.
There is no need for any new rice distribution models, suggestions etc.
Just let the market decide what it wants to do.
Maintain Bernas. No need to shut down Bernas.
Maybe break them up into three or four companies.
They are already there with their rice godowns, trucks, depots etc.
And you can do that soon – dont waste time.
But in the meantime no more monopoly.
Immediately put a stop to the rice monopoly. Please do it now.
Let other companies, other people also free access into the rice market.
Then let Bernas / broken up Bernas compete.
Saudara Salahudin, kita sudah dewasa ke belum?
Takkan nak pakai tongkat sampai hari qiamat?
Did you know that some grades of imported rice are cheaper in Singapore than in Malaysia?
In Malaysia they sell that low quality 20% broken rice for RM3 per kilo ??
Ramai orang kita [orang Melayu] terpaksa beli beras RM3 per kilo inilah.
Orang lain pula beli beras ini, dimasak kemudian dicampur dengan pet food dan diberi makan kepada anjing. This is the truth.
Food security apa?
There is no super security threat about rice.
It is just another product.
Without oil palms and rubber our economy will be quite dead.
Palm oil and rubber bring in billions of Ringgit into our country.
Yet there is no ‘monopoly’ over oil palm, palm oil or rubber.
Same applies for rice, cabbage, sardines, chicken or even Christmas turkeys.
Dulu, the ketuanan boys even put an AP on the import of christmas turkeys – which are consumed largely by christians over Christmas. Pada bulan lain [April ke, Julai ke, Ogos ke] the sales of turkeys are very low. Turkey sales peak during christmas. Itu pasal they are called Christmas turkeys, christmas turkey dinner etc.
Itu pun depa pi letak AP. Orang kristian nak makan christmas turkey pun kena bayar tol kat Dato AP dulu.
So lets please stop all this rubbish. These are the old UMNO / BN policies that dont work.
Tak payah fikir panjang. Dont waste your time arguing uselessly.
Lagi pun, hangpa ni bukan faham pun bisnes ke, ekonomi ke.
Sad to say this is the truth.
So what should you do? Just ask the market.
What is the feedback from the market.
What do they want?
Tapi janganlah tanya adik beradik hang saja.
Why dont you want to meet the rice millers in Kedah?
Tanya orang yang terlibat dalam perniagaan itu.
Tak kira bahasa, agama atau bangsa.
All these PH Ministers are indeed new kids on the block. Their immediate reaction to any criticism is to be defensive.
For example despite that Jamal Khashoggi fellow being butchered to pieces by Saudi Arabia, our Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah made a statement in defense of Saudi Arabia :
That was indeed a very defensive statement by the Foreign Minister. Pasai apa? Why? Pasai apa dukung sangat Arab Saudi itu? Hang bukan arab pun.
And someone please tell Yeo Bee Yin PLEEEEEASE dont go to Poland and tell the whole world that you are the ‘new kid on the block’ Minister representing Malaysia. Malulah kita.
Our country has been independent for over six decades now. Even before that we have a history that goes back about a thousand years. So please do not embarrass our country by saying that you are the “new kid on the block” Minister.
This is like Vivian Balakrishnan, the Singapore Foreign Minister volunteering to make coffee and tea for Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s summit in Singapore.
“.. Singapore would just be serving coffee and tea to its guests during the Trump-Kim talks.” Read more here.
Some Singaporeans actually asked their Foreign Minister to resign.
Its a new ball game.
No more big party politics.
We all have to sit around the table with fewer seats.
So drop your party platforms – or adjust accordingly.
Just stick to principles, stick to the law, stick to economic principles, stick to international norms, stick to common sense. You should be alright.
Source : Syed Akbar Ali