Saturday, May 29, 2010

Propaganda: Malaysian Style

The maxim that ‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it’ appears to be the driving principle behind the public relations effort by our Malaysian Government over the proposed removal of the subsidies. The official ‘story’ such as the one by Sin Chew entitled ‘The Malaysian Dilemma’ exemplifies this. Here is an extract:

If Malaysia's economy can expand robustly over the next couple of years, and our incomes grow significantly with the wealth gap narrowed concurrently, then the ensuing pains from subsidy cuts will be diluted.

Very simple. The subsidies North Korean government has provided to its citizens are perhaps the most generous in the world, but with appallingly low incomes, the people remain impoverished despite the generous government subsidies. In contrast, South Koreans can still enjoy very comfortable lives without the generous handouts from the government, because they have very high incomes.

As a matter of fact, our government needs not worry about subsidy cuts. More importantly, it must implement policies that will enhance economic growth, improve government efficiency, while cutting down unnecessary red tape and corruption so as to boost investor confidence.

Subsidies will no longer be that important once our per capita income becomes doubled.

Since this is an issue that concerns our livelihood, we should ‘THINK’ and see how ridiculous the argument above is.

IF, If and if
Reading the first paragraph implies that our economy has been stagnating, our income has shrunk and the wealth gap between the poor and the rich had grown substantially during the past decade.

Albert Einstein once quoted that ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ So, let me ask you a simple question. How confident are you that the people that led our country on this financial precipice can find the courage, vision and wisdom to reverse our downturn and lead us onto a different path?

Subsidies Sucks
Is it true that subsidies are the bane of economic wealth? This article seems to imply that subsidies are the reason behind the decline of North Korea’s economy whereas the prosperity of the South Koreans is due to lack of subsidies. This is like comparing an apple with an orange. North Korea is under a dictatorship with substantial military spending. Further, with economic sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations, it is little wonder the country is suffering economically. To imply that subsidies are the reason for the poverty of the country is cheeky, to say the least.

Government Initiatives
The article goes further and states that the Government needs not worry about the cut in subsidies since ‘subsidies will no longer be that important once our per capita income becomes doubled’. Is this supposed to be a joke? Do you see the twisted logic here?

What the article is actually saying is that with the cut in subsidies, the Government will finally implement policies that will enhance economic growth and cut down on red tape and corruption. Of course, this implies that the Government has failed in implementing sound policies on economic growth for decades. Red tape and corruption have been allowed to flourish until we stand at the very edge of financial ruin.

The crux of the argument by the Government is that the subsidies are a waste of money. And that they are better used elsewhere to fuel economic growth of our country. We are now being asked to hand over more money to the people that created this mess in the first place. Now that’s really insane.

Whilst the Government is to be lauded with coming clean about the dire financial situation Malaysia is in, one should wonder whether it is too little, too late. Critical analysis and constructive suggestions such as ‘Economic tsunami heading our way’ by Dr Lim Teck Ghee is most instructive. What we don’t need is non-sensical propaganda saying ‘Yes’ to every government initiatives especially one as detrimental as removal of subsidies. Added with the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST), these are really dire times ahead for Malaysians.



Cutting out subsidy has its own merits.It is agreed that subsidy is not the best or most efficient way to progress economically. But here we are talking about a situation that is not as it is.

The UMNO/BN regime is trying to make the Malaysian citizens bear the whole cost of its corrupt practices that is the main cause of the impoverishment that we may now be up against.

It is absolutely unacceptable that it tries to address the problem with one sided solutions.What has it done to actually do away with the level of corruption that has so permeate all government services. Nothing except making more promises that has been proven to have no merit again and again.

How can it save the Malaysian sampan from sinking when we are asked to bail out the increasing volume of water in the sampan without having to plug the leaks.

There is no reason for this country to face this kind of economic/financial dilemma, when it is so richly endowed with abundant natural resources. The population size, the absence of damaging natural disasters, the richness of its land should have endowed its citizens with a standard of living that not many other country can boast of.

It is the level of corruption and greed of those in power that has exceeded its ability to sustain that so impoverished this otherwise rich and prosperous country.

The resources of this country helped the colonial British to prosper GB in the past quite comfortably. That was because they managed it well.

But the current regime's greed has been so blatant and excessive that it cannot even sustain that small group of plunderers.

Perhaps this country must fall before it can ever get up!



Good arguments, myc(o)untree. Unfortunately, all we see in the official media are people nodding their heads and agreeing to the subsidy cuts. And don't forget about the GST that's just around the corner.

The problem here, unlike Greece, is that we are a multi-racial country. There might be a tendency for people to start pointing figures at each other when the going gets tough. That might complicate things and if that happens, I fear that this country might never get back up on its' feet.

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