Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Politics, Development and The People. Are We Making Headway?

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several of the Singapore Cabinet members will witness the signing of a bilateral agreement with Prime Minister Mohd Najib for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) today at the 7th Malaysia-Singapore leader’s retreat since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in July, 2016. 

The country's economy is expanding on RM1.3 trillion toward RM2 trillion in seven or eight years' time as Mohd Najib shared the input on Malaysia’s economy and he could then close his eyes and approve any request by the public.
Malaysia has been headstrong with mega projects since the administration of Tun Dr. Mahathir. Mega projects such as the LRT, North-South Expressway, Sepang International Circuit, Putrajaya administrative center, Petronas Twin Towers to name a few, did place Malaysia on the world map to draw investors and tourism in.

In present days, Najib implemented several mega projects through the introduction to the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) such as the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project, RAPID (refinery and petrochemical integrated development) in Pengerang, MRT, East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project, Pan Borneo Expressway, etc. 

The upside of such mega projects, it creates job opportunities and the rakyat’s income would increase. This parallelism leads to the government growing treasury revenue from RM220 billion to R340 billion, henceforth will enable to provide the needs of the people. 

Was the mega projects lenient with developing the country’s economy? This is the main question one may find discussed and raised concerns in the chatterbox on the cyberspace and public places. If at all, these mega projects are the solution to our revenue and economy, Malaysians should been on board the high income country status not the mere narrative. Yet, the country found itself stuck in the middle-income trap. 

According to Bank Negara assistant governor Abu Hasan Alshari, only 6% of Malaysians have enough savings to last them for more than six months once they lose their source of incomes, while 18% can last for three months. This shows that some 76% do not have enough cash savings to see them through difficult times the moment they lose their jobs. 

To the medium to low income wage earners, they are captivated nor smothered with the vision of a developed nation or the TN50. They are more concerned about the fast rising cost of living and ringgit depreciation. If the Ringgit does not go down, the price of fuel may rise to RM2.20 per litre on RON95 comes January 2017 and further aggravating the people’s livelihood. 

The current government are lacking effective execution and making political pledges. Mega projects are only temporary plan and by nature contributes significantly to our national debts, not boosting the national economic statistical in a long run. 

A good governance and meritocratic policies will transform the country’s economy, thus enhancing our value of Malaysian products of R&D input liberated by the people through skills and technical education. Economic development must not be taken for granted. 

Hopefully, the Government would relook into the GST enforcement not as a mean to curb losses from the crude oil prices falling. Investment funds of China to partake in massive development project are not the answer to nation’s success. 

According to export figures of October, Malaysia has slipped by 8.6% while imports dropped 6.6%, showing that domestic demand remained weak. Should the country continue high strung on racial policies and hypocrisy, discrediting past contributions and practicing character assassination to stay afloat, we will not survive nor break the bottlenecks in economy nor politics, internally even more externally.

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