Posted tagged ‘NEP’

Ringgit weakening due to crisis of confidence

May 24, 2015

While the Prime Minister cum finance minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is struggling to stay in Prime Minister Office, Malaysian ringgit remains the worst performing currency and continues to weaken without any sign of reversal. Consumer sentiments are low after the introduction of GST which has triggered sharp increases in prices of goods and services across the board and Investors are uncertain of increasing political risk. Even Malaysians are wondering what is the direction and future of this country in the aftermath of GST, 1MDB, PFI, poor delivery system, poor quality of education, high corruption and the list goes on. Malaysia seem to be the only country stagnating and unable to move forward in the neighborhood while even the poorer countries stricken with war and corrupted dictatorship are able put the past behind and move forward.

Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI), in its reports which tracks capital flight, says close to RM200 billions of dirty money was siphoned out of Malaysia in 2010. In 2009, GFI put the figure of illicit outflows at RM93 billion and the figure in 2011 is 174 billion. Malaysia lost over RM170.7 billion in illicit outflows in 2012 based on the Washington based financial watchdog GFI. Why the sudden upsurge in money leaving the country. The weakening of ringgit reflects the low level of confidence in the integrity and competence of the financial regulators and authorities.  The large cash outflow of funds is weakening the ringgit further.

The weakening ringgit is driving business people with cash to convert to other stable currencies. Malaysian ringgit seems to have lost the trust and confidence of Malaysians themselves. Sharp currency depreciation and the introduction of a goods & services tax (GST) are widely expected to drag 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) growth below 5 percent from an estimated 5.8 percent in 2014 reports CNBC. Besides there are about 6.5 million legal and illegal foreign workers remitting about ringgit 20 billion per year. The situation is quite critical that even government has requested GLCs to scale back foreign investments in order to contain the outflows reported a foreign Bank.

As it is, there are already concerns that the high level of indebtedness and the goods and services tax, or GST, could put pressure on growth this year. Malaysia’s household debt-to-GDP ratio at 87.1% at end-September 2014 is already among the highest in Asia, while the government debt-to-GDP ratio may have exceeded the self-imposed ceiling of 55%. The revised budget after the huge drop in oil prices doesn’t seem to have changed the public confidence in government’s ability to reduce the fiscal deficit for the past 17 continuous years.

The years of race based affirmative policies have sneaked in chronic corruption and nepotism into the government delivery system which may take one generation to eradicate. Can Malaysia ride out of the current crisis of confidence? The BN government is too embroiled in internal feuds to bring about real structural and economic reforms. All the hype of transformation programs only incurred cost but did not yield any tangible results. The government has to become realistic and take the bull by the hone. NEP has swallowed trillions of ringgit but Malays other than UMNOPUTRAS are still in the limbo. It created billionaires out of UMNO leaders’ children and their cronies. The kampong Malays and the nation are worse off supporting NEP. UMNO’s long time lying to kampong folks has blurred the truth and made them accept falsehood as real. Their thinking is colored with fear, falsehood and anger as to the 1MDB and other scandals rocking Malaysia. We need a drastic change from the past divide and rule policies to move ahead.

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Will abolishing UPSR/PMR resolve the deteriorating quality education

September 20, 2010

The deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin started the great debate on abolishing UPSR/PMR. There were public comments on newspapers and consultations meetings held but after all the noise there were no announcement on the outcome of fact findings and consultations. Credible common evaluation strengthens and gives a sense of purpose to the education process.

The former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir wanted Mathematics and science to be taught in English and overnight billions of dollars spent to prepare the syllabus, lab tops and teaching materials and even automated power point teacher. But only after 6 years(2003-2009) the teaching was reversed back to Bahasa Malaysia. In fact Malaysian education system is full of flip flops. There are a group of parents under the name PAGE clamoring the restoration of teaching mathematics and science in English. Therefore we don’t want another multi-billion dollar flip flop. Common public transparent examination should not be abolished as it will lead to another reversal after finding that it was a mistake abolishing. How would abolishing the examinations help to improve the learning and teaching system?

Internal examinations lack credibility and education ministry cannot manage complaints of favoritism, examination paper leaks and manipulations. All changes to education must be based on empirical research and not at the vim and fancy of politicians and bureaucrats. However the quality of learning and teaching has declined considerably over the years. The introduction of NEP in 1971 started the beginning of decline in education services. Dedicated and experienced teachers were slowly replaced with teachers who should not be teaching at all. Nearly after 40 years the education service has undergone a complete transformation.         

School heads don’t have the managerial expertise and ability that will help students compete and creative value. Education system do not promote the teaching of teamwork skills, problem-solving skills, critical-thinking skills, communication skills, lifelong learning skills, and the attitude of fostering creativity and innovation. Majority of teachers are uncommitted, negative attitudes and callous. They are not interested in excellence and nation building. Mediocre teachers are promoted as school heads and only yes man senior officials in ministry gets promoted to higher positions. What kind of product can such a system produce? Looks like only crisis and suffering will teach the current bureaucrats the will to change for a better education system.

Barisan National political structure is outdated and therefore has to be replaced

December 13, 2009

The New Economic Policy (NEP) was introduced in 1970 because of the perception that the Malays  rioted in 1969 due to poverty and unequal opportunities. But the more impoverished Indian community and the other indigenous people did not riot.

The objective of NEP was to increase wealth ownership from 2.4% in 1970 to 30% by 1990. Umno, the back bone of B,N spearheaded the implementation of NEP.

The other Malaysians accepted NEP as a necessary tool for their own peaceful and prosperous living in Malaysia. The unprecedented support of non-Malays to BN till March 2008 is a testimony of this. During this period UMNO, slowly and surely, sidelined and marginalised all the component parties in BN and became absolutely powerful, arrogant, high handed and lost touch with the problems, concerns and aspirations of all Malaysians including Malays themselves.

With the NEP tool in hand, UMNO created billionaire cronies and rich UMNOPUTRAS. In the name of uplifting Malays in general, UMNO gave out lucrative contracts, privatised cash cow projects and dished out tax payers money without any accountability and responsibility to UMNO cronies.

This unreserved carefree distribution of wealth to Malays has created an inefficient system that promotes a laid-back attitude among Malay civil servants because there is no competition and striving to improve or excel to get promoted. Promotion is just automatic.

Several NEP policies which give economic advantage to the Bumiputras are viewed as heavily discriminatory, such as quotas in ownership of public company stock, housing sold exclusively to Bumiputras, etc.

But the measurements of NEP were subject to interpretation and reinterpretation. Many Malaysians felt that the 30% wealth target was achieved a long time ago but the BN government denies these target achievement and continues to implement new affirmative-action policies, education quota in public universities.

Purchase of houses by bumiputras get discount even though the Malay purchaser is much wealthier than the non-Malay purchaser. Every aspect of government influence is controlled by Malays. The government, police, army, banking system are all under the government control which in turn is controlled by UMNO.  This list goes on in every aspect of our life in Malaysia.

UMNO has shut the mouth of its non-Malay counterparts in BN all these years. Yet these strangleholds of political power could not save them from heavy electoral losses in March 2008 election. Large section Malays, Indians, Chinese and indigenous people remain poor and civil service has become more corrupted, inefficient and the peoples’ discontent reached a saturation point.

All it took was five lawyers to spark the matchbox and the whole nation caught the electoral fire thus igniting the minds of Chinese and Malays to come forward and vote for a change. A large section of ardent BN supporters voted against the BN for the first time in history causing a political tsunami in Malaysian history by depriving the BN government its 2/3 majority in Parliament and losing control of five states to opposition parties.

These results brought about a new political equation where, for the first time,Malaysians realised that a two party system is possible and viable. The ghost of May 13 was finally buried and Malaysians, who have lost hope reforming and transforming the blessed nation, began to rethink and new hope for better future for their children blossomed in their heart.

The smaller opposition parties formed a coalition to rule these five states and, to their credit, they are doing better than the 50-year corrupted BN government. There is more openness, accountability and participation of people.

But of course a party in rule for fifty years and with so many vested interests, cronies and political warlords and little Napoleons will not give up power just like that. The BN government, over the fifty years, has strengthened their grip over mass media, banking and government machinery to their favour.

With these tools in their hand they will not lie down and accept defeat. They, through deception of three assemblymen and with the support of Perak royalty, wrangled back the Perak state. Now, through hook or crook they are trying to capture Selangor which is the jewel-in-the- crown state.

Barisan National political model is exclusive and outdated. Under the changing globally liberalised inclusive thinking, BN’s exclusive and racially segregated system is incompatible and regressive politically and economically.

The BN leaders do not have the will to make the adjustment. They are so entrenched in their current modus operandi. Malaysians deserve better than what BN government can offer.

I urge all Selangor residents to give their full support to the more people-centric, people- represented Pakatan Rakyat government now because they are under siege from the federal- funded Barisan Natioanl.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin predicted that the Selangor state government may fall by January. He will be glad to be proven wrong.