Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp is going to be a summer blockbuster in our local cinemas. But in the Malaysian political scene we have BN's own production, Pirates of the Peninsula starring Najib and Co on our daily screens. Here, rape, pillage and plunder of the nation's coffers continue unabated due to corruption and lack of transparency and accountability.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's statement that the BN Government is hardpressed to maintain the subsidy costs is a hint that there may be more price increases to come. However, he tried to tone down the severity of his statement by saying that the government will try not to burden the rakyat or populace.
This is a smokescreen from the BN Government because any subsidy cut will surely lead to a rise in the cost of goods especially basic necessities, which in turn will lead to the rakyat having to cope with an increase in the cost of living.
Muhyiddin must think that the rakyat has no knowledge of basic economics.
DAP MP for Klang Charles Santiago informed Malaysia Chronicle that right now the cost of living has gone up by leaps and bounds and the price of RON 95 petrol may go up very soon.
"With the rising cost of living, the BN Government should implement the Minimum Wage Policy immediately with the minimum wage being set at between RM1,500 to RM2,000. People are constantly struggling to make ends meet and my constituents are telling me to raise up this matter in Parliament as they are finding it tough to cope with the daily price rises," said Charles.
Completely neglected the economy
No matter how Muhyiddin tries to wing it, the whole economic malaise is due to the BN Government's mismanagement of economic policies and also due to spending most of their waking hours trying to destroy Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Pakatan Rakyat coaltion.
The Klang DAP MP also suggested that for the immediate measure, the BN Government should give cash aid of at least RM500 to the rakyat who earn below RM1,500 to help them tide over the period of waiting for the Minimum Wage Policy to be implemented. The subsidy cuts should only be implemented after the implementation of the Minimum Wage Policy.
It can also be seen that the BN Goverment is dragging their feet over the implementation of this Minimum Wage Policy. This despite the BN's People First slogan, slammed Charles.
The BN Government is also up to their necks trying to stem the domino effect of spiralling inflation. Wages are depressed due to the overwhelming presence of cheap foreign labour and this leads to poor purchasing power amongst the lower income group.
All-out effort to discredit Buku Jingga
According to the political opposition, their Buku Jingga or book of economic reforms contain solid measures to solve the nation's economic woes. This has caused much anxiety in the BN camp and their media and economic experts have been instructed to slam the ideas in Buku Jingga as having the potential to bankrupt the nation.
The BN Government too cannot deny it has been spendthrift. The leakages reported in the Auditor-General's Report amounting to RM28 billion and the megabucks corruption in its huge white-elephant projects e.g. Port Klang Free Zone (amounting to over RM12.5 billion) have shocked the nation.
Malaysia Chronicle also spoke to PAS Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar, who said it was timely BN admitted that they are unable to solve Malaysia's economic woes and are clueless on how to steer the economic ship.
"From this the rakyat should be able to evaluate BN's economic know-how and ability to manage the nation's coffers," said Mahfuz, who is also the PAS vice-president. He was referring to Muhyiddin's conceding that the BN government had no choice but to cut subsidies and raise prices.
New alphabets TEM for Najib's economic soup
According to Mahfuz, Pakatan-held states of Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Selangor and even Perak (during the Pakatan government's 11-month tenure), had managed to be thrifty and channeled the savings obtained through prudent financial management towards programmes benefitting the rakyat.
When PAS took over Kelantan, it was the 3rd poorest state in Malaysia but now it is the 6th poorest. It may not seem much but this improvement took place despite Kelantanese being denied their rightful oil royalty payments and Federal aid.
Kedah too has lessened the collection of unpaid Quit Rent and although this amounted to less revenue for the state amounting to about RM50 million, the state has still managed to stay afloat via implementing prudent and thrifty measures.
Selangor and Penang are clearly doing much better than during the BN's tenure, although all the Pakatan state governments have had to service and bear the losses inherited from BN rule.
"The BN Government overspent by creating useless white elephant projects. The confession by the BN Government via Muhyiddin's statement should be enough for the rakyat to wake up to the reality of BN's incompetency and vote them out in the fast-approaching 13th General Election," added Mahfuz.
It looks as though Prime Minister Najib Razak needs another acronym to define his economic programmes, and according to Pakatan, it is none other than TEM - which stands for Terrible Economic Mismanagement!
- Malaysia Chronicle
Written by Selena Tay, Malaysia Chronicle
Written by Selena Tay, Malaysia Chronicle