Monday, May 31, 2010

Subsidies make Malaysians a 'spoilt' lot

I borrowed the annoying and grating title from the news report here. It is annoying because it reflects an uninformed and highly condescending school of thought that assumes that Malaysians chose to be widely subsidised.

Did Malaysians choose to be subsidised?

Or, was it the past political masters who decreed, in their infinite wisdom or, infinite folly, that the path to popularity was by way of introducing consumption subsidies a'la Brunei and the Arab states?

DR. R.THILLAINATHAN wrote a useful historical excursus into this matter of government policies that introduced consumption subsidies that escalated and ballooned to the present unwieldy structure. You may wish to read the paper here. I urge you to read it.

To whomever it may concern, please stop calling Malaysians a "spoilt lot" because we never asked for consumption subsidies.

We were coping fine with our personal struggles and, we would have found our own comfortable level of living.

We did not ask to be subsidised.

Now that the shit has hit the fan; now that the Malaysian Government cannot cope with dishing out subsidies, I am not about to go on a witch-hunt. I am not interested in chasing after retired political masters. That is a job for other politicians, if they wish to do so.

Like every other Malaysian I am interested to see how this "subsidy addiction" that is not of our asking is managed by the Malaysian Government as it is currently constituted.

The immediate thing that I want to say is that the laboratory (not "lavatory" although many Malaysians mispronounce it, whether deliberately or otherwise) conducted by Idris Jala and his team has somehow avoided educating the Malaysian public about how Malaysia has arrived at the the brink of bankruptcy due to subsidies.

That is why, a historical context is needed...unless the present Administration does not think that Malaysians are intelligent enough to appreciate the need to know how the shit has hit the fan...or, unless the present Administration does not want to incur the wrath of political masters past whose shadow still writs large...

Whatever be the reason, just stop calling Malaysians a "spoilt lot" because that is absolutely unfair and untrue and annoying and grating on our nerves.


Wenger J. Khairy said...

Good one De Minimis,
Brown Nosers Anonymous (BNA) as usual these folk

Raison D'etre said...

Good one DM.

Am wondering why it needs increases to finally allow our fuel price to market prices, when the world's crude goes up and down and up and down.


petai goreng said...

just wayang lah,to distract from real issues ie leaksges etc

walla said...

Likely the two key issues impacting on the decision to remove subsidies are:

- how the government spends;
- what the rakyat makes.

in some combination matched against the specter of national bankruptcy. These two issues should be delved into separately and then combined to spot the root sources of the present dilemma.

There could also be other things which one should be mindful as well. Like impacts of the introduction of the GST during the period of subsidy rationalization, the country becoming a net oil importer by next year, an eurozone downturn, another round of brains exodus, further tapering of FDIs, oil price hike impacting on travel, tourism and power costs, weakening of the ringgit, and other sime-like losses.

Meanwhile, some studies on the effects of subsidy removals, and related matters:

semuanya OK kot said...

A few months ago, Dr. Fong Chan Onn gave us a lucid, easy-to-digest review of key issues, especially the link between low wages on one hand, and subsidies and inflation on the other. He highlighted the critical need for genuine competitiveness and educational reform. However, the oligarchs will continue to try distracting us with "bread and circuses", and even an occasional scare (like a medieval village hanging).