THE MALAY ECONOMIC AGENDA
To build a united country, we must have the right economic foundations. The link between economic prosperity and unity is unmistakably clear. We cannot unite people if they are mired in poverty and misery. Under that situation, what we have is a time bomb waiting to explode. How to create economic prosperity, that should be the number one priority of any country. Economic development is the absolute number one priority of any government or people. Otherwise we could ask the stupid question of what is government here for? If we were to ask people what is it that they want, almost invariably their answers will be they want jobs, medical facilities, schools, housing facilities, and so forth. They are not here to take part in some cryptic debates on some nebulous ideas of Islam Hadhari or whatever. Of government, they will ask, is this a government that promotes economic development or a government that puts in place a system that encourages everyone to strive hard for themselves and their families?
Especially so for Malaysia which is made up of several racial groups. The problem is compounded by the fact that the different races in Malaysia differ widely in their economic progress. Chinese in general earn twice as much as a Malay does. The Indians earn more than the Malay even though, the disparities within the Indian community are most pronounced. Certain sections of the Indian community have pulled themselves way ahead of their other brethren. It is incredible that Dato Seri Samy Velly has blamed others for the Indian plight. What has he done to the Indian community?
We need first to build an economy sufficiently prosperous so that the various races can benefit equally. Equally means equality in chances. I for example want an equal chance to participate in owning a share in Pos Malaysia Bhd so that I too can make money when our government assigns Pos Malaysia to pay out the subsidies to motorists. Boy oh boy, I too want to manage the RM 1 billion that the government has already placed with Pos Malaysia to handle the rebates. Suppose the RM 1 billion earns interest, where does the interest accrue to? And I too want an equal opportunity to make money when our government assigns somebody or anybody to pay subsidies to the fisherman. I want to create ghost fisherman and ghost fish harvests. And I can only foresee horrendous abuses in the payment of subsides to fisherman when we cannot even control the current subsidy on marine diesel. My fishermen friend make more money by buying subsidised diesel and selling it on the high seas. Oh, before I forget, maybe the DPM can give me some slice of the air transport business, you know the same as the favour he gave to Gading Sari Air Services. Surely being your ex ADUN and former Ketua Penerangan, DPM can do me that favour.
In order to build a strong economy, we need to create the appropriate economic environment that educes equally appropriate economic responses. For example, in Malaysia where free market economy is practised, people must be trained to respond in the right manner. This of course presupposes, that the people who are economically active are sufficiently schooled in free market economics. To mould the various economic participants who can respond positively to the prevailing economic system is the number one challenge of the political leadership.