Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Choice Do We Have?

After years and years of running at a deficit, the spendthrift BN government has painted itself into a tight corner. It now has no choice but to purge subsidies and raise prices of goods and services.

Generally, we shouldn’t be too worried about a budget deficit. More so when the deficit is moderate – it won't hurt the economy. In fact, it can boost economic growth because government spending is a component of a nation's total output, known as Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The problem with Malaysia is that we are spending way beyond our means. And it is made worse by the additional fact that nearly everything that we are spending on involves out-and-out wastefulness. Malaysians have only to read the yearly Auditor General's report to know the measure of our fiscal recklessness. In fact, our fiscal indiscipline sticks out like a sore thumb and Malaysians should rightly be alarmed.

After all, during the last 56 years after independence, Malaysia has had 49 years of fiscal deficits, with fiscal surpluses in only seven!

The last time that the Malaysian government budget was in surplus was the five consecutive years during 1993-97. Guess who was the Minister of Finance then? Yup, between 1991 to 1998, Anwar Ibrahim was in charge of our purse strings.

But from 1998 onwards, Malaysia has been running jumbo budget deficits year after year. So when the unfailingly glib International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed asked on Monday, "What choice do we have?”– I was ready to cut him open and tear his heart out!

Malaysians have to endure a lot these days. Higher fuel prices. Higher electricity tariffs. The sugar subsidy disappeared and this means higher food and beverage prices. Next year, we can expect higher tolls. Higher bus, taxi and train fares. And don’t forget GST is coming soon too. Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin described it aptly: A cost of living tsunami!

Mustapa failed to understand what Malaysians are going through. He is a first-class vermin!

Tell me, why did the dimwitted government allow the deficit to grow so humongous in the first place? Why were we spending immoderately? Are we incapable of spending wisely? Of course it didn’t help that we have politicians who are kleptomaniacs. And they are in cahoots with rapacious cronies and corrupt government officials.

If we had been serious about doing away with leakages, bailouts, closed tenders, bloated beadledom – we could still salvage the situation. This didn't even include the cash handouts and freebies generously given out by Najib Razak and company from time to time – just so he can stay in Putrajaya. The truth is, we wouldn’t be where we are today if not for the profligate BN government and its unrestrained squandering of public funds!

Now I shall pose the question. What choice is there but to dump the Government? We didn’t manage to do it in GE13. Can we afford to wait for GE14?

Maybe we should learn a thing or two from Thailand! One hundred and fifty-three MPs from the opposition Democrat Party resigned en masse on December 08, 2013 to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve Parliament.











Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, accompanied by party members, announced their immediate resignation. Image credit: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/383826/democrat-mps-resign-en-masse

Whether Pakatan Rakyat reps can summon the courage to do as the Thais did, I don’t know. All I know is that if we don’t bring back sanity to the government, the country will bleed. And bleed. Until it is nothing but skin and bones. And ordinary Malaysians will suffer anguish.

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