Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aileen Gabriella Robinson

I was meaning to boast about this young lady’s triumph but I hadn’t because of one reason or another. Anyway, I am going to blog about it now because my good friend and fellow Toastmaster, Dr Arthur Robinson sent me the link to access photos of his 22-year-old daughter. She is Aileen Gabriella Robinson, a Malaysian beauty who won the Miss Tourism International 2011 title at the pageant world final held on New Year’s Eve at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa. She beat 53 beauty queens from around the world, to become the first Malaysian ever to win the crown title in the pageant’s 15-year history. Congrats, Aileen Gabriella!

The Miss Tourism International Pageant is a home-grown title initiated in 1994 by Danny Ooi to promote tourism for the host country and also to promote peace, goodwill and friendship among the participating countries. Then it started with participation from 20 countries and today the title is franchised to more than 85 countries around the world.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) distinguished fellow Mohd Ariff Abdul Kareem has warned that the federal government revenue was growing too slowly to keep up with its borrowings, which hit 53.1 pe cent of GDP in 2010. He admitted that the current size of government debt relative to GDP is not that worrying. Still he has pointed out that debt-to-GDP ratio jumped from 41.4 percent in 2008 to 53.1 percent in 2010 while government debt grew 14.6 percent in 2008 and 18.3 percent in 2009, far outpacing the country’s GDP growth. Here’s the scare: “If nothing is done to reverse the current trends in government expenditures and revenues, extrapolation suggests that Malaysia’s national debt will explode to 100 per cent of GDP by 2019”.

And fiscal calamity will descend on this country if the debt growth gathers speed!

Certainly, it is important that we rein in government operating expenditure, which of course, includes downsizing the bloated civil service, bringing government procurements under greater scrutiny with increased transparency and accountability and as Ariff suggested, undertaking serious tax reforms to raise more revenue.

Even RAM Holdings Bhd chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng said there needs to be political will on the part of Putrajaya to execute its Government Transformation Plan (GTP), which is partly aimed at stopping the fiscal deficit from rising further.

There is only one formula to achieve fiscal sensibility and that is to change the government.

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