Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Who have we lost you may ask? Even with the exception of those the parties cast off, such as Ibrahim Ali and Zaharin Yassin, BN and UMNO stalwarts both, there are too many to count. Let us just consider the previously solid pro-BN guys on the web:
Jeff Ooi lost from Gerakan to DAP
Rocky, lost from being a BN paper editor to 'rogue' blogger
The above 2 was even sued when still being quite loyal to BN!
Kickthefella was lost to PAS... many have forgotten he was a grassroots BN leader once!
We have lost far too many over the last 4 years, and due to a loss of direction and a crisis in leadership, not stemming from a leadership crisis like in previous times. In fact, I suspect we have had a higher net loss of significant individuals from BN in the last 4 years than we have over the previous 22!
Pathetic... I have some hope still... just a little more than barely... which will be tremedously boosted if a certain someone leaves...
Terkejut kangkung rasanya apabila ada kawan yang bagi peluang tumpang glamer dengan blogger-blogger lain di kaca TV Astro Awani... perisian selepas foto...
Ini saya masih dalam keadaan terkejut kangkung... tapi nak cakap juga! Saya difahamkan siaran ulangan terakhir "Perspektif Kita" ialah pada 1 Mei (3.30 petang)... kalau ada yang sudi la...
Perisian sedikit tentang apa saya sendiri pelajari:
- Kredibiliti blog akan lebih teransang sekiranya penulisnya 'berwajah'. Dalam masa terdekat ini mungkin perisian yang bagus sudah cukup, tapi wajah penuis akan semakin dituntut pembaca.
- Ruangan komentar atau kebolehan link penting untuk memberi kepuasan kepada pembaca. Tentu lebih memuaskan dari auto-messaging.
- Ada ahli politik sekarang yang menggunakan 'penulis hantu' untuk memblog. Yang luar-biasa ligat menjawab komen kot!
- Blog ini sebahagian turutan evolusi media yang menggoncang sejarah... dan terus menggoncang.
- Pengikut-pengikut setia DAP masih dok jual cerita kerajaan BN mengongkong kebebasan depa!
- Ramai anak muda gemar blog kerana bahasanya yang bersahaja.
Buat perhatian semua, glamer saya insya'Allah belum putus lagi minggu ini. Sudilah datang ke acara tersebut:
Sekretariat Melayu Muda, satu gagasan yang dipeloporioleh
profesional Melayu muda, akan menganjurkan satuperbincangan bertajuk: "Malaysia Baru: Senario PolitikMasakini"
Ianya akan diadakan pada tarikh dan tempat
Masa: Rabu, 30 April 2008, 7.45 pm (ada surau di tempat acara) Tempat: Aras 2, Anjung Wisma Sejarah, 230, Jalan Tun Razak,
50400, Kuala Lumpur
Tetamu jemputan adalah:
1. YB Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir, Ahli Parlimen Jerlun, EXCO Pemuda UMNO Malaysia
2. Sdr Akhramsyah M. U. Sanusi, Pemimpin Pro-Tem Alumni Melayu UK & Eire (AMUKE), Blogger
Senario politik negara sudah berubah. samada kita suka ataupun tidak, samada kita sedar ataupun tidak, ianya akan mempengaruhi kehidupan kita. Bersamalah kita menentukan halatuju bangsa Melayu.
Datang. Dengar. Bersuara. hebahkan kepada rakan-rakan. tempat adalah terhad.sekiranya berminat, sila email nama dan pekerjaan andakepada: sekretariat.melayu.muda@ gmail.com Terima kasih. Semoga berjumpa pada 30 April 2008.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I suppose for them to panic is natural. I mean, as opposed to the 'shortages' of luxuries of the recent past such as salt, sugar and cooking oil in the local market, the government recently had to sort out the shortage of a staple - flour - and are now confronted with a 'worldwide supply crisis' of rice, THE staple.
Very much like English fooballers at a World Cup, the various cabinet members must be thoroughly sick of the complaints and worries being expressed by their Wives And Girlfriends (WAGs) on the rice shortage issue. For in the end, admit it, we Malaysians are a creative enough people to be able to live without salt (got soy sauce), sugar (got cinnamon and 'tebu') or (palm oil based) cooking oil (use less, more expensive brand like Mazola or just cook with Planta), but rice?
The last time we had a rice shortage in these parts was during the Japanese Occupation of the 1940's, and then our mummys and grandads had to survive on ubi kayu... UBI KAYU!
Enough already, I ramble too much, so what are my specific grouses about the government's current plans? Here we go again...
- The plan entails massive growing of padi so the country will be able to self-reliant on rice. Huh? Hello Mr PM, it takes 4-6 MONTHS for Padi to grow to maturity, how is this going to help a rice problem that is happening NOW! Look, I know its hard, but just FOOOCUUUSSS...
- There is talk of massive planting of padi and other key agricultural crops in Sarawak. Hah! So which tranche of rain-forest is the government planning to rape this time with this padi-planting scheme! The logging companies must be smacking their lips and starting up their padi-planting subsidiaries already...
- The government is planning to build warehouses and other facilities to stockpile food. Stockpile food? You can't even get sufficient rice supplies and you're talking about stockpiling? And we're talking about food like rice here, that eventually spoils with time? And what about pest control? And keeping the food fresh? Isn't this going to take up a lot of resources? So...
- Pak Lah announced that all this will take an RM 4 BILLION program to implement. RM 4 BILLION! Ala Pak Lah, please lah don't embarass UMNO members any more by using our mother's inability to buy rice as an excuse to make those close to you rich. It's your brother Ibrahim and son Kamal right that's in the food business?
Oops... sorry, but getting personal there... well we are talking about RICE here! When in truth, securing a good supply of rice for Malaysians, even in the current tight supply situation, is not THAT difficult. So, some ideas from my non-Oxford mind?
- I presented some ideas at the end of this posting of mine on how tweaking the subsidies system a little may help in terms of the pricing mechanism: http://thoughtsintangents.blogspot.com/2008/04/forget-about-cooking-oil-rice-rice-my.html
- Government could secure rice supplies from producing countries as a inter-government deal (G2G), perhaps as a swap with one of our exports, such as Palm Oil. The government can then channel the supply, or indeed perform the actual purchases via GLCs or government agencies and coops with retail businesses (such as Tescos, Pasaraya Peladang, etc). Hold one, I recall a former PM used this idea once before...
- The government should run a campaign to shift consumption away from rice dependency. This will be hard as the pressure on food supply is affecting all types of foods, though at different times, so the shift will be for Malaysians consider a dynamic diet with no single staple, partly driven by economics and availablity of food supply. Not pleasant, but a potential future reality to prepare for.
It is a tough new world Malaysians are facing, so we need leadership that can make tough choices and convince us to support these measures. So please lah Pak Lah and co, give us real solutions to real problems, not half-measures from half-understood situations... else step aside so someone more competent may lead us.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
OK lah, Pak Lah nak sangat kita bincang tentang perubahan kehakiman, kita bincang. Sekarang akan diadakan suruhanjaya untuk mencalonkan nama hakim. Tetapi calon-calon hakim tersebut masih harus dipertimbangkan untuk dicadangkan oleh PM bagi diperkenankan perlantikan oleh DYMM YDP Agong kan? Jadi perbezaan BESAR dalam proses ini apa sebenarnya?
Mungkin yang bezanya adalah siapa yang mencalonkan hakim? Tapi yang mencalonkan hakim sekarang adalah Ketua Hakim Negara. Itu pun pasti dengan dibincangkan dahulu bersama-sama para hakim tertinggi yang lain. Tak layak ke hakim-hakim yang sedia ada mencalonkan hakim-hakim baru? Yang dimasukkan sebagai orang-orang baru untuk mencalonkan hakim ini siapa?
Kawan saya membuat pemerhatian yang pada majlis bersama Tun Salleh Abas dan Dewan Peguam di mana pengumuman tentang suruhanjaya tersebut dilakukan, terlihat begitu ramai hadirin yang ada merupakan ahli Dewan Peguam, kebanyakannya berbangsa India dan Cina. Yang Melayunya beberapa kerat sahaja. Jadi kenapakah peguam-peguam bukan Melayu tersebut begitu bertepuk-sorak gembira apabila Pak Lah mengumumkan penubuhan suruhanjaya tersebut?
Oooh, cakap sahajalah Pak Lah... Pak Lah nak beri lebih banyak hak memilih calon hakim kepada peguam-peguam bukan Melayu. Nak kurangkan sedikit pengaruh para hakim Melayu yang beragama Islam dalam memilih hakim-hakim di masa akan datang. Sebab itulah Dewan Peguam begitu meraikan pengumuman Pak Lah. Dengan cara ini, boleh lah mereka mempengaruhi pemilihan calon yang sealiran dengan mereka, yakni sekular, anak buah firma besar, Hadhari...
Bukankah Dewan Peguam sama yang dengan begitu keras membantah cadangan bekas Ketua Hakim Negara, Tun Fairuz Sheikh Halim supaya diserapkan lebih banyak pendekatan syariah Islam ke dalam undang-undang negara sempena 50 tahun Merdeka? Dewan Peguam inilah yang menyokong sangat kes Lina Joy dulu dan macam-macam lagi lah.
Jadi di manakah generasi Muda Melayu dan umat Islam Malaysia dalam mempengaruhi perubahan dalam sektor guaman, kehakiman, perundangan dan menegakkan keadilan di Malaysia? Tergadai teruskah kuasa kita? Semata-mata kerana asyik memerhati atau terlalu melulu taksub bersorak di tepi gelanggang perkelahian tokoh-tokoh tua tentang hal-hal yang semakin tiada makna?
Di manakah suara kita yang seharusnya membantah hakisan kuasa dan pengaruh Islam pada badan kehakiman, yakni salah satu dari 3 tiang kekuasaan Melayu di Malaysia? Kini kita cuma tinggal kuasa yang akan menentukan bangsa...
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
For example, whilst there is a perception amongst some that Pakatan Rakyat may be ahead of the game vs BN at the moment, the following letter (http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/81458) clearly showcases how Pakatan is also now very Anwar dependent... hence again rests too much on a Who.
So, lets shift the question back to the Whats, Whys and Hows and present the challenge of defining What are the things we the rakyat want and need, Why we want and need these things and How we wish to fulfil these Whats. Then the Whos will be less relevant as a choice and instead will be resultant.
As a result, those who wish to be a Who in Malaysia will then naturally be those whom can convince us they are able to deliver the Whats with reasonable Hows, and best of all if backed with a more reasuring Whys than self-interest.
Sorry if its a little confusing to some by this stage, but its time to up the ante. The approach looks difficult if not impossible to achieve for us Malaysians, especially Malays, at this stage, but if it was easy, it would not be worth doing... and impossible just takes a little longer...
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Karpal Singh kelihatan begitu menyokong Pak Lah dengan membidas Tun Dr M baru-baru ini. Ini adalah perbuatan yang agak pelik. Bukan sahaja tindak-tanduknya tidak selari dengan nalurinya sebagai pembangkang yang seharusnya dengan agresif menyerang Pak Lah, kata-kata dan ungkapan sejarahnya pun berbelit-belit! Contohnya:
- Dimintanya Dr M berhenti menyerang Pak Lah kerana beliau sudah bersara dan patut kekal dalam persaraan. Namun beliau memetik kata-kata arwah Tun Hussein yang membidas kepimpinan Tun Dr M dari persaraan.
- Dimintanya Dr M menjauhkan diri dari kemelut dalaman parti UMNO, padahal Karpal bukan ahli UMNO, tidak layak pun untuk memohon keahlian UMNO, malah merupakan musuh ketat UMNO sepanjang riwayat politiknya!
- Karpal menuding jari ke arah Tun Dr M kerana merestui Operasi Lalang, namun tidak mengakui tanggungjawab beliau mengapi-apikan suasana sehingga keharmonian antara kaum begitu terancam sekali pada masa itu.
- Karpal menuduh Tun Dr M sebagai orang yang mengharamkan pendaftaran UMNO pada tahun 1988. Tetapi beliau sebagai seorang peguam mesti tahu yang para hakim pimpinan Tun Salleh Abas-lah yang mengharamkan UMNO atas dorongan Radzi Sheikh Ahmad. Tun Dr M menghidupkannya semula.
- Beliau juga berbelit-belit mengatakan pihak pembangkang tidak memerlukan Tun Dr M untuk 'membantu' pemantauan tindak-tanduk Pak Lah. Alah, mengaku sahajalah Karpal, pembangkang mahu Pak Lah kekal sebagai PM!
Pembangkang mahu Pak Lah kekal sebagai PM kerana mereka percaya dengan itu, lebih cerah peluang mereka untuk merebut kuasa dari BN dan UMNO menjelang pilihanraya ke 13 kelak. Inilah iktibar di sebalik tindak-tanduk Karpal. Tak kiralah walaupun negara ini hancur sekalipun di bawah kepimpinan berterusan Pak Lah dan Khairy, yang penting, Pakatan Rakyat mahu merebut kuasa 4-5 tahun lagi.Pakatan Rakyat konon. Akhirnya bukan bagi rakyat, tetapi semata-mata berpakat, berputar-belit kata dan sejarah untuk merebut kuasa. Dan untuk siapa kuasa itu? Anak-pinak juga dalam PKR dan DAP... kerana ini jugakah mungkin Karpal begitu sayangkan Pak Lah?
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Since Anwar is now claiming that he's going to be the next PM, I see it as my civic duty to present some observations:
1) Anwar's Very Close To The Poster Boy Of Zionist Interests In The Bush Era, Paul Wolfowitz:
- Wolfowitz, whilst building a love-nest as World Bank Chief, also appointed Anwar as an officer of the World Bank to channel development funds into the tsunami hit Acheh region.
- Before you say this is because Wolfowitz thought Anwar was 'competent', remember how Wolfowitz has a habit of appointing his chums into World Bank positions - one being a girl-chum, resulting in his sacking!
- Wolfowitz's close freindship with Anwar was captured on a photo of their meeting in Germany soon after Anwar's surgery circulated widely in the Middle-East. This made Pak-Pak Arab feel quite angry towards Anwar.
- And if I may quote wikipedia,"In an interview on the BBC Hardtalk program after his release from prison, Anwar admitted to his friendship with Paul Wolfowitz, the former US deputy Secretary of Defence and former World Bank President." Read for yourself:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_Ibrahim
2) Anwar is famously lauded for having been a visiting lecturer and speaker at Johns Hopkins University among other US and European universities that are also hotbeds of intellectual zionism. Of course, it could be because Anwar is such an expert in his field... not sure what it is exactly outside of politics... Or maybe he's not a zionist, but a friend of the Skull and Bones, you know, Bush's 'club', that also have such strong influence over these institutions.
Interestingly, over the course of the election campaign Anwar disappeared for a while to Singapore, supposedly due to a commitment to lecture there which he 'could not get out of'. Rubbish lah, have you ever heard of anyone saying campaigning for a national election is an unacceptable reason to be excused from an overseas commitment? So why did Anwar really have to visit a Zionist-inclined state's institution in the middle of an election? Money? Instructions?
3) For a person who was out of work for 9 years (being in prison and all), Anwar sure has a lot of money! Not only has his family been living quite well, he's even able to fund his own party, PKR! So where is all this money coming from? We know the guy is not earning from a regular high-paying job; he's even stopped lecturing at those prestigious universities mentioned at 2)! 3 possibilities:
- He was corrupt before, so corrupt that he had enough money to sustain a political party for 10 years, on top of his family commitments and even flying all over the world! So, if he was corrupt and PKR's struggle is being funded by the fruits of his past corruption, does it make sense to think of him as a 'saviour' from corruption in our land? We thought we had a 'Mr Clean' once before, see what happened!
- He's using money from Arab contributors. Arab contributors? Hahahahaha! This was what Anwar claimed in the past too! OK, lets take this theory at its word, so, Arabs are paying for his political struggle. Are you comfortable with a PM funded by Arabs Mr DAP and Mr Hindraf?
- He's getting money from the Zionist West. Why the Zionist West, why not just the West? Because the cold war is over, and since then, the only westerners funding dissidents outside of China, especially in Muslim countries, are Zionist organisations pursuing the "New World Order", whether they by Israeli, American or British Zionists.
I am of course ignoring the possibility of a local fund-source for PKR as I tend to think no one but Daim could possibly have that much money, except for Anwar of course as per 1. above. So, do you prefer to believe Anwar was SO corrupt at the high risk of him still being so, or believe he is still a puppet of his old Arab masters, however unlikely, or that he's a Zionist?
4) By far the most damning observation of Anwar's Zionist tendencies is how he has always been a favoured Muslim leader of the Zionist press. This stretches to even before he was removed from UMNO and was a point of criticism by many of his current allies in PAS! In fact, there is sufficient distrust in PAS of Anwar for there to be hope I would say.
Surely Anwar's hero status among the Zionist press worldwide, in good times and bad, is indicative of the possibility that he is an agent of their interests? Else, why would they continue to bother with him after his fall? This also explains his non-committal stance on many things in the foreign press.
I have of course happily stayed away from the more fringe ideas to support the theory that Anwar is a Zionist, such as how PKR's 'black eye' symbol looks distrubingly like the 'eye of Zion'. I've also chosen not to highlight Anwar's willingness to succumb to the IMF during the Asian Crisis or on his past poor ministerial performance, e.g. the RM9 Billion forex loses during his time.
Nevertheless, we really should be asking these and other questions to re-discover who Anwar really is, especially if he continues to claim he is close to becoming our next PM! For the key question would then be, do we really want Anwar Ibrahim as our PM? Brrrrrr....
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Kamaruddin Jaafar? Bukankah beliau Setiausaha Agung PAS sekarang? Kalau beliau benar-benar setia kepada Anwar Ibrahim, kenapakah beliau tidak menyertai PKR? Tidakkah tindakan menyertai PKR juga lebih sesuai dengan naluri KJ ini yang juga seorang 'intelek' dan pemacu Institut Kajian Dasar suatu masa dahulu? Ini profilnya: http://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamaruddin_Jaafar
Anwar Ibrahim mungkin ada pelbagai kepincangan, tetapi kalau tidak licik berpolitik, tidak mungkin beliau dapat menghinggapi sebentar kedudukan Timbalan Presiden UMNO dahulu. Masuknya Kamaruddin Jaafar ke dalam PAS sebenarnya sebahagian dari usaha Anwar untuk memastikan pengaruh beliau tetap tegar dalam PAS mahupun UMNO selepas kejatuhannya.
Lihat sahaja betapa ramai kuncu-kuncu Anwar yang tidak lari dari UMNO, malah mengisytihar 'taubat' sekuat-kuatnya semata-mata untuk kekal menghendap di PWTC. Malah, ramai juga penyokong kuat dan 'fan-club' Anwar dari zaman reformasi yang kemudiannya menyertai UMNO, seperti Khairy Jamaluddin bersama-sama puak-puak yang kini dikenali sebagai penghuni Tingkat 4.
Persamaan antara KJ tua (Kamaruddin) dan KJ muda (Khairy) ini ketara sekali. Mereka berdua-dua tetap taksub Anwar tetapi cukup handal bermuka-muka. Kedua-duanya kaya hasil usaha mengkroni (KJ tua) atau menepot (KJ muda). Katanya kedua-duanya pandai-pandai belaka, dengan IKD lah, dengan Oxford lah.
Kini mereka juga bersatu dalam suatu misi, iaitu pemusnahan UMNO demi menaikan Anwar Ibrahim sebagai Perdana Menteri boneka Zionis pertama Malaysia.
KJ tua melakukan ini secara langsung dan sengaja. Dengan kedudukan kuatnya sebagai Setiausaha Agung PAS serta antara penyumbang wang terbanyak kepada parti tersebut, beliau telah menolak usaha pembentukan kerajaan BN-PAS, bermajoriti Melayu serta Islam, di negeri-negeri Selangor dan Perak mahupun di Parlimen. Ini walaupun usaha tersebut direstui Tok Guru dan sekaligus membatalkan 2 kedudukan Menteri kabinet pusat serta MB Selangor untuk PAS.
KJ muda pula mendukung Anwar secara tidak langsung dan tak sengaja. Dengan kedudukan kuatnya sebagai menantu Pak Lah, beliau tak putus-putus mengesyorkan supaya bapa mertuanya kekal di tampuk kuasa, sekaligus menguatkan keupayaan Anwar bagi menarik ahli Parlimen UMNO untuk 'lompat pagar' ke dalam KeAdilan. Ini pula selepas calon-calon BN pilihan KJ muda untuk PRU-12 terlalu ramai kecundang di tangan calon PKR!
Menarik sekali, dalam sengaja dan tidak sengaja mereka, kedua-dua KJ kelihatan berganding tenaga dalam usaha merealisasikan cita-cita idola mereka, Anwar Ibrahim. Malang sekali bagi mereka, kerajaan PKR yang bakal dibentuk pasti lain sekali dari kerajaan BN berkepimpinan UMNO dahulu mahupun kerajaan PAS yang berlandaskan Islam.
Kerajaan Anwar Ibrahim bakal mirip kerajaan Bollywood di mana jalan kerja dihindari pertelagahan PAS-DAP, persengkataan PKR India Liberal-PKR Melayu 'lompat pagar' dari UMNO, kepincangan kemampuan pentadbiran Anwar sendiri, namun tetap syok sendiri akibat kelincahan penarik tali boneka Zionisnya.
Oh ya, pasti kerajaan Anwar juga akan ada 2 Menteri kabinet yang sering bersengketa, KJ tua dan KJ muda!
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
We begin our story with the arrival of the new Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Dato' Shahrir Samad, into office, suspicious that he's been sent to the ministry to ensure his political doom since his predecessor got moved to a more junior ministry, probably because of these events:
Being an ex-banker, having an MBA from IMD, experience as Welfare Minister in the 1980's, being linked by marriage to an influential JB business taukeh family and of course being a blogger (!) seems to have made Dato' Shahrir better prepared than his predecessor. The new minister quickly engaged businesses and the media on the need to look at the whole price control thing.
Unfortunately, just as he was starting to feel some warmth on his seat, the shortage of rice worldwide hit the headlines. This linked article is illustrative as to how the problem is complex, whilst again, not being quite real...
In the meantime, our old man from the kampung, Pak Tam, is still wincing from the verbal barbs he's been getting from his wife up till last week. It was bad enough after they did the hoarding of cooking oil during the cooking oil 'shortage'...
Back in January, soon after they had secured some 60kg of Mazola from the local kedai runcit, topped up by 20kg of Minyak Cap Kerja which they 'luckily' found being sold 'at a bargain' when they decided to 'scout' for supplies in the next kampung at the height of the cooking oil 'crisis', Pak Tam was alerted of the coming shortage of flour, again from his kedai kopi circle.
Pak Tam rushed home to get his wife so they could secure flour supply. After a brief argument over the fact that they already had no space left in the pantry as it was full of cooking oil, and that they don't use much flour anyway outside of Hari Raya, they rushed directly to the Gigantic mall in town as Pak Tam was sure flour supply at the local kedai runcit must have completely run out.
Much to his horror, upon entering Gigantic, they were greeted with the view of piles and piles of cooking oil bottles of the cheap Palm Oil based Minyak Cap Kerja variety... Mak Tam's favourite brand as it was SO much CHEAPER than the non-Palm Oil brands, such as Mazola! They also saw witnessed an argument between the lady manager and the cooking oil delivery man about how MORE cooking oil was coming than the hypermart can store!
Mak Tam's restraint only lasted until Pak Tam started the car engine; they bought a modest 5kg of flour - Pak Tam couldn't take more as Mak Tam was giving him the silent treatment and glared lightning bolts whenever he reached for an extra packet. Thunder then came in a symphony of abuse, critique, sobbing, shrieking, historical baggage and genetic observation over the whole 20 minutes drive back home - a masterpiece of anger unsuitable for polite company!
Pak Tam continued to suffer for the remainder of the month, but thought all was over by February.
Unfortunately, his brother-in-law Pak Bakaq, the retired civil servant, came for a visit during election weekend and just had to show off how he had been quoted by a paper for correctly stating that the January cooking oil saga was not a 'crisis' but just a general panic based on no common sense. Of course the Bakaq family then had a good laugh at the Tam family's own undimished cooking oil stockpile! Mak Tam was angry for a good 3 weeks after that!
And now Pak Tam is hearing things about rice. Of course, he dare not say anything to Mak Tam now, despite his kedai kopi gang continuing to disbelieve the Pak Lah media assurances that the rice shortage will not hit Malaysia...
Back at his Ministry, Shahrir is still enjoying the relief from the 4th floor boys being too busy to 'advise' him on the price controls thing, what with the boys focusing on 'helping' Pak Lah fight for political survival. Nevertheless, to survive the on-going political storm, Shahrir has to be seen to be doing something now... well, this blogger would like him to consider the following.
How much do the cooking oil and sugar subsidies really cost Malaysians? The honest truth is, no one really knows. There are elements in the equation that are indirect and require further assessment, for instance:
- How much does the reduced price from the subsidies result in increased consumption of these goods, hence an overall higher subsidy costs.
- How much have the resulting increased consumption of dangerous subsidised 'luxuries' like oil and sugar aversely affected the health of Malaysians, resulting in increased medical costs per capita? The National Kidney Foundation will inform you that the majority of kidney failures in Malaysia is associated with diabetes (high sugar) or hyper-tension (from consumption of fats, including oils), statistically among the highest in the world!
- How much is guaranteeing a profit to the resultant monopolies of controlled goods in Malaysia via the price control mechanism worth it to these firms. For instance, in the case of Sugar, Robert Kuok is not known as the 'Sugar King' for no reason. How much has a guaranteed profit from these subsidies helped the Kuoks establish their family empire spanning the globe?
- Abolishing subsidies and price controls for food items that are really luxuries, such as sugar and cooking oil. These are bad for the health of Malaysians when consumed in excess, whilst not really adding that much more to taste - very important to us Malaysians. These subsidies are also making the rich tycoons richer by protecting the Malaysian market from competition whilst making the supply chain hard to sustain in periods of volatility.
- With savings resulting from the above abolishing of subsidies, as well as longer term savings on health costs, etc, the government may be able to continue supporting subsidies for staple food items such as rice and flour. Rice especially is worthy of subsidies both for strategically ensuring supply security locally and to support farmers that remain on the poverty line.
- With the abolition of price controls over luxury food items, there may be other savings also due to the government, such as in enforcement and monitoring of these subsidies specifically. Why not channel some of these and the less transparent medical savings to better agricultural approaches to our farmers and a better food supply chain for staple foods in Malaysia?
Such efforts would make much more common sense than the reactive behaviours of the government over the last 4 years, especially that of the last 6 months!