Monday, January 2, 2012

Here We Are 2012.

According to the Mayan Great Cycle calender, 2012 marks the end of the Great.Cycle of 13th B'ak'tun and will bring the Armageddon, an apocalyptic phenomenon that will end the world. That will hsppen on 21.12.20012. Malaysians don't subscribe to this belief, especially the Muslims. We believe that doomsday can come any time and many signs of its impending arrival are already noticeable.

Be that as it may, life goes on. The fightings and the killings in many Middle East and west African countries go on despite the fact that the US OF A's war machine had left Iraq. Severe cold and flash floods keep many other countries in constant fear. The global economic situation looks bad and some of the giant business compamies including banks and airlines in Europe and the US are facing the threat of bankruptcy. We don't know how bad the situation really is, of course,since rich people and countries don't spell out their economic woes. Poverty only exists in the poor third world.

Well, Malaysia on the other hand is talking about becoming a high-income nation, a fully developed country and a tourist hub in South East-Asia. All the economic transformation strategies, the social integration framework and the infrastructural requirement seem to in place. What we don't want is to become a modern and developed nation at the expense of those who remain poor and depend on government subsidies to survive. Countries like the US and UK have social securities and welfare schemes to take care of the unemployed and the poor, ensuring that they have a minimum income top live on. We don't, nothing to ensure that the unemployed, the disabled and the very poor will get some money every month to keep them going. To become a high income nation would be a mockery if the streets become full of vagabonds and beggars or full of modern-day Robin-hoods who will rob the rich to help the poor (or just themselves). The poor in a rich nation will suffer more than the not-so-rich in a poor nation. Put in a more negative way which we, of course, don't like, poverty doesn't matter if everybody is poor.

What is most worrisome about becoming a rich nation is that the price of things begin to skyrocket even before people's income take a hike. Look at the price of things in the country now. While the inflation rate is said to remain at less than 4% food prices have good up by anything between 50 to 100% over the last five years. Bread used to be about a ringgit a loaf. Now it's reaching two ringgit. The 80 sen nasi lemak has now gone up to RM1.50 sen or more while the RM1 package will not satisfy a hungry person nor is it accompanied by some palatable "sambal tunis" and a wholesome half of an egg. "Teh tarik" and coffee has passed the RM1.50 sen mark while it was just some 50-80 sen before.

There's no standard price fixed, of course, for cooked food since the same stuff can be cooked in different ways with different accompaniments. But what is important is that you cannot any longer have a wholesome and satisfying lunch with less than RM5. Of course, who cares about this when government has raised the remuneration of all public servants while the income of workers in the private sector has always been better than in the government? The question is , what happens to the self-employed people who have no steady income and live from hand to mouth? Will they just disappear after we become a high income nation? Whereto and how? Do we have a welfare scheme to take of them as they do in the developed country especially in the welfare states?

We are in the year 2012 now. As far as Malaysia is concerned we are also at the brink of a General Election. The NST has just disclosed that there is a lot of illegal activities going on at the border states. Heavily subsidized goods are taken across the border and sold at market price with a huge profit, with some border enforcement officers probably helping rather than taking them into custody. More importantly they are also causing shortages in Malaysia itself. Are there enough anti-corruption officers to deal with this matter? The police has increased it strength substantially but are they being deployed mote to fight crimes such as house-breaking and handbag-snathching than issuing summons to drivers who overspeed by a few km/hour? Holding a gathering of people for public lectures and other peaceful purpose will soon be allowed without a need for a permit but why interfere with university students holding a rally on campus ground? Will 2012 bring more academic freedom and freedom of speech or not?

These are some of the worries that greet us with the entrance of 2012. Otherwise we seem to be doing all right. As for the political struggle that we see between parties and within them, where in the world is politics a peaceful and quiet affair?


abdulhalimshah said...

Akhi Norzah,
Are we not just on the brink of bankruptcy as well? The way money is being spent without even creating the sub-head or the vote when the country sees money coming down from the sky seemed that we are going to face a different kind of armageddon.

norzah said...

The PM never knew what poverty is, being born with a golden spoon in his mouth. Giving hundreds of millions away without checking govt's coffer, is to him like giving peanuts to the monkeys. I don't understand what the advisers are doing except that every time millions are given away, someone is bound to have a share. What more purchasing equipment ( jet fighters and submarines included) worth billions. When the bonds we sold mature, then we will know if we have any money left to run the government.

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
No man is an island. I see a big picture that is not encouraging. Irrespective of what the country intends or is striving for in 2012 we are subject to what happens elsewhere. The Eurozone is on the brink of a disaster and the US is watching but not participating to alleviate the situation. The ripples would eventually reach us in the form of a shrinking market. This would play havoc with our plans,projections and targets. It can be quite revealing of what's lacking! We'll see!


norzah said...

The economic impact of what will happen in the US and the Eurozone is certainly going to be a matter of great concern to us, Akhi Hank, if the goal of becoming a high-income nation is to be achieved. What worries me more is, will the poor and desperate in this country be insulated from the heat of inflation, the signs of which are already visible now. A sharp rise in the income of those in the top brackets may leave a huge gap between the rich and poor. That can cause a break in the joints of our society.

homegardensanctuary said...

It makes me feel like the new year was design to be celebrated exclusively by top govt servants only. They have turned part of the civil service into an exclusive club for themselves to enjoy the benefits and on top of that they have divide and rule the civil service into what can be referred to as "proletariat" and the "bourgeousis" .

The original spirit of the civil service as one entity, its main
purpose to serve the country and its people has been conveniently forgotten . They start labelling themselves the "premier " to justify earnings that is atrociously ridiculous an amount where the principle of rate for the job not
applicable.. and worse no conscience over the have not. Decisions made seemed unperturbed by the bigger picture as though Malaysia is unaffected by the world economic slowdown.

The masses is expected to rejoice with firefighting policies one off in nature like rm100 pocket money for this sector and that while the premier service enjoy a steady flow of high income and worse a burden into the goverment coffer when they retire because even appointments on contract there is a slap of 17 and half % payoff at the end of each contract.
As far as i am concerned this new year with all prices rising i am definitely poorer but thank Allah better than the poor but i cannot help but wonder how the proletariat are coping...while the bourgeouesis who is directly invovle in making them poorer is rejoicing....a malay proverb " mana pergi hati perut !" translated as having the heart and the stomach to do something this case widening gap between the rich and the poor ...subhanallah!

norzah said...

Touche HGS for pointing out exactly what the supremos in the civil service had done to so-called mprove the service. Yes they had indeed created the super league ( the bourgeoise) and the common workers ( proletariat), the Brahmins and the Pariahs, in the once unified civil service. I am certain that the Pariahs are not going to be happy with the new remuneration scheme nor will the new scheme improve the performance of the civil servants and quality of the service.

I just don't know who the advisors are who concocted the new scheme. They must only be thinking of themselves at the top of the cliff. It's up to the pariahs to take up the matter through the union. What's the pariahs in the PTD Association doing anyway?

norzah said...
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norzah said...
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norzah said...
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