Monday, October 24, 2016

The Unexpected President of USA

Many in the US and throughout the world are shocked by Donald Trump's victory in the Presidential election. During the campaign he has been branded with so many insulting terms such as 'a know-nothing about politics and foreign policy,crude and harsh, has no respect for women, lies about almost everything etc. etc. Yet he won, winning over States that are known to be Democrats stronghold such as Pennsylvania. The US and world media are abuzz as regard to why he won although he was called a 'washout" by some.
the debate
There is now a wild protest movement in the US, rejecting or expressing anger at his victory. But what's the use? The people have voted for him to be President rather than Hillary. You can only remove him from the White House later on,if he proves to be incapable of running the country.
the protestmore protest
Meanwhile we in the developing countries can only express our amazement at the turn of event. Who are we to pass judgement on the Americans' choice for a President. What he said during the campaign can only be a provocation and a postulation to win votes. If he had said many nasty and offensive things in the campaign, that indeed was what the Americans liked to hear and so voted for him.
What we in the developing world can do is just state our hopes for what he will do, based on his election taglines. He wants to stop terrorism. So do we and it's not true that Islam or the Muslims support terrorism. He wants to do away with corruption. So do we, and very much so in Malaysia. He wants to stop immigrants from taking away the jobs in the US, deport them if necessary. So do we in Malaysia but thousands of foreign workers are pouring in. He doesn't want America soldiers to die fighting in foreign lands. Good. Take them all back to the US and let us fight our own enemies. He doesn't want foreign countries to market their products in the US.Good. Let the developing countries trade among themselves. He doesn't want Palestine to exist. He is not God and should only stop Israel or assisting Israel from transgressing into Arab's territory.

He wants America to be completely Americans as in the olden days. Good. Don't export the materialistic and capitalistic American culture that corrupts the values of the eastern world. It would nice to see the Hilly Billy and Amish culture in the US again. They are very nice people really.
the president elect
Maybe the so-called third or developing world can do better without the intrusion of the Western Cult as championed by the US.We don't really like the modern cowboys and their rustling activities. We don't want shooting-from-the-hips habit that Americans taught us. So, if Trump can "cleans" America and let the rest of the world handle their own problems without trying to become the world policemen, maybe the world will become a better place to live in.

So, hail to the new elected President of the United States. Use the country's wealth more for development rather than financing wars in foreign countries, curtail the activities of the CIA and all foreign intervention, maybe we can have more peace in this world, even if we're not half as rich as the US.

the 2017 Budget...

The 2017 budget has just been announced and I don't see any serious criticism in the mainstream or social media. Everything sounds so rosy with no indication at all that the country is facing any financial problem. Everyone seems happy although opposition members of Parliament staged a walk- out during the presentation by the PM cum Finance Minister, ostensibly as a result of the PM's accusation that Tun Dr Mahathir had been the cause of a split among the Malays.

Total allocation of RM260.86billion is about 2.5% less than lat year's allocation. Operating expenditure of RM 148bil isa 2% less than last year's while development expenditure of RM46.8 billion is down by 11.63% Is that any indication of a progressive and expanding economy although the Revenue Collection estimate at RM219.7billion will increase by 3%.
Emolument for public servants goes up by 8.9% to RM77.46 billion.
Financial Deficit target is set at 3%of GDP , a reduction of 1% from last year.
It was mentioned that Per Capita income rose from RM23,100 in 2012 to R%M26.891 in 2015.
the common worker
So everything seems OK and the PM is enjoying the support (even praise) of all those receiving a fat allocation in the 2017 budget.Most noticeable is the raising of BRIM payments to all families with an income of RM4,000 and below per month. Does that mean that all workers with an income of below RM4000 per month can also qualify to get a BRIM package? How about pensioners with a pension of less than RM4000 or even 3 or 2k? If they qualify, the number of BRIM receivers would easily double or triple. The amount can go up from RM450 for bachelors with an income of below RM1200 to RM12000 for a family with an income of less than RM4000.

BRIM is a clear financial handout, a gift, earning something without doing anything. Even an encouragement to earn less than RM4000 or remaining unemployed. I believe even in the US you've to prove that you're trying to get a job before you get a dole from the welfare department.Very nice of government to give out cold cash to the needy low-income group, but at whose expense. Not from the pocket of the PM, the Ministers and the rich. It's from the public coffer. Come to think of it. Even Robin Hood and his merry men did a better job by robbing the rich to help the poor.
happy BRIM recipients
No, the government does its job to help the poor. The recipients of BRIM themselves must consider where they left their self-pride in taking the monetary gift.Unless you couldn't care less where the government gets the money to pay you, even if it has to rob the public coffer or sell more national assets to foreigners.

Another notable fact is that assistance to public universities has been cut down by 20%. It means less scholarship funds and financial assistance to students from poor families. We've already heard of cases where oversea students had to return home for government funding has been stopped or reduced. If true, there certainly is a cutback in our investment on human resource development in preference to giving cash handout to the low-icome group.future human resource

I reserve other comments until the public, not just the Ministers and political bigwigs, speak up.
Until then I assume everyone is very happy with the budget.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Becoming a high income nation…..

I suppose every nation can become a high-income nation if a high per capita income and a high salary for workers are all that it takes to be considered as one.symbol of the rich

But certainly it takes more than that. A high per capita only represents a high average if all the gross income of the nation is divided equally among all the  people. But the income pf the nation is never divided equally. Often 90% of the income is shared by 10% of the population - the rich and wealthy- and only 10% is enjoyed by 90% of the population.- the poor and impoverished. In such a situation a very high gross national income does not mean that the country is already developed. Increased productivity can only happen in the modern sector of the economy while the low productivity sector - the poor and traditional sector of the economy, remains impoverished..

High average income among the people also does not mean that all workers are enjoying a good income. Top management executives  in the private sector and the public service  maybe earning a very high income but the common worker earns hardly enough to make ends meet. Even setting a high minimum wage and upgrading all pay scales in the public sector, almost  equivalent to that which prevail in the highly industrialised and modern business sector, does not mean much if the cost of living
keeps rising like the tidal waves.
home of the poor

It is the level of living attained by the bottom 10, 20, 30, or 40 % of the low-icome earners which must be used as a measure of development. The less productive and poor segment of the population usually forms the  main bulk of the population of the developing or less developed countries.
The poor majority gives the country its name and identity - the average citizens of the country. They are the people that you see in the less developed areas of the cities, in the thousands of villages and the underdeveloped rural areas - the inhabitants of the slump and neglected parts of the country. If these people remain poor because of low productivity, low income, and economically unsupportive living environment, the country as a whole remains as an under developed or developing country although you might have many city centres as rich as New York, London, Tokyo etc.
don't discount us

Malaysia is certainly moving forward in terms of gross national productivity and gross national income. But many factors are keeping the standard of living for the average income earner dejectedly low as compared to that enjoyed by the rich Malaysians. Rising cost of essential goods for decent living, huge leakages in disposable income as a result of "kleptocracy" within the government as alleged by the world, and a  fiscal policy that imposes higher charges, taxes and rents, reduces subsidies to help the poor, and distribute development funds and monetary gifts to gain political support, has eaten away into the increased wealth and assets. The fall in the market price of major export commodities such as oil, rubber, oil palm etc has further aggravated the economic wellbeing of the nation.

Current talks on the possibility of a rise in toll charges, charges for electricity and water, another jump for the GST from 6 to 8%, more borrowing from various Funds such as the EPF by the government to supplement its financial needs, make the people - the average wage earner- more jittery. There seem to be little or no control at all on the increase in the price of foodstuff, housing and public services formerly provided by government but now by the private sector. The tender and bidding system for securing development projects in the government seem to have been manipulated to allow for a wide margin of profits to be shared by certain parties. Is this being investigated into so that the development costs of projects can be more realistic and "grease-free"?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Malaysia: Everything Can If...

Malaysians of all races have joked about the slogan "Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can). In many cases it's because there are several things that government has done which they consider "stupid" or "foolish" and not in the interest of the poor and the lower-income group of citizens. Donations and gifts to high-powered leaders are okay. But to the underpaid public servants, even ten on twenty ringgit is a hideous crime called corruption.

There is a strong drive now to catch the erring public servants working in government agencies. But politicians whether  holding public office or not but reputed to have received millions or even billions as donation and "gifts" are enjoying a life of luxury and plenty. Mereka boleh.

Holding a protest gathering without an official approval by the police is 'tidak boleh' (illegal). But if government supporters like the 'red shirts" decide to hold such gatherings in the city, it's  boleh ( can).
They certainly would have obtained an approval from the police, if questioned. The police might even help to control the traffic.

There are indeed several things that can be done in Malaysia if you approached the right authority or person in authority. Some say, anything at all, if the powers that be is properly approached. Most important is to know who to approach. If he (or she) says 'yes', you're on. Many things that were before  considered as unnationalistic or against the interest of the  bumiputras have been done, with proper approval of course.

So, young Malaysians. this boleh land is yours to exploit as entrepreneurs provided you can find the right backing or be on the right side of the political road. Make a wrong move and you might find your
rights being withdrawn. You can even become an outcast in your one country.