O oracle..How do you see the state of our economy?
Where are the investments coming from? Almost all countries in the world have announced some stimulus packages. We did too. But where is the money going to? People haven’t the slightest idea where the money is going.
There is a sense of all consuming frustration around. People would like to have more money direct into the pockets. The government has announced many things, but there seems to be no money actually going into the market. If they are, they must be invisible or is trickling down slower that a tortoise’s pace.
We should have done something on the quiet side. We need to get investments in. who do we sent? I don’t think we can have any other better person than Dr Mahathir.
Why? I asked. Because he’s a brand?
Precisely. If I were the PM I would go meet up the former PM and ask help from him. His name alone is creditworthy. He’s known all over the world.
Right now the two countries with money are India and China. Japan- of course. When the PM went over to China, what did we achieve? I don’t see anything coming in. China has a few billions to commit to Malaysia but from what I hear, PM didn’t ask anything.
The oracle said he was perhaps the only person who met up with all the leaders of CCP. He asked those leaders what the PM asked. They answered nothing. Very strange. I don’t think the PM went to China to celebrate the anniversary of Tun Razak going to China in 1974. Or to have pictures taken. Or to get accreditation from China.
So what has our economy become? FDI is dwindling. Domestic demand isn’t that good. We are becoming just a plantation economy. How do we get maximum revenue from that economy? We will always try to have low-currency policy so that our plantation exports are cheaper. And we insist on keeping low wages by importing labour. That’s another source of leakage. Do we tax our imported workers? I know they send a lot of money to the home country.
The immediate step is to quicken the speed to market pace. You want to spend? Make sure the spending effects are felt immediately. Re-examine tender procedures. You spend on infrastructure? It will take months before the spending takes place. You have to devise a method to speed up tender process. There must be a sense of urgency.
The PM needs to ask Dr Mahathir to help out. Of course he gets scolded. That is Dr Mahathir’s way. He always never agrees first. But i don’t see the PM doing that. So he has to contend with Dr Mahathir.
O oracle. if DR Mahathir is not palatable why doesn’t the PM ask you to go around?
I am not interested.
But what if the PM invites you to? The Oracle didn’t answer the question.
I have spoken to Lee Kuan Yew a few times. I asked him, will Singapore invest in Johore? Lee said no. I asked why? Because they don’t want to offend Mahathir.
In order to entice Singapore to invest heavily in Malaysia, we have to make some concessions. Dr Mahathir will be on the rampage. But not for long if the positive effects are seen quickly. Who would go against the logic of facts? So we have to look at our longer term interests and manage the giving up of concessions.
You see, investors will look for the most important thing when deciding to invest. They look for political stability. If the PM doesn’t take steps to firm up his control over the country, there won’t be stability. Unfortunately, the PM and his team is new at managing crisis. He must have team members who are composed when faced with challenges and who can work under pressure. The composition of the cabinet has a bearing on its ability to manage crises. No doubt it is the PM's prereogative to appoint anyone he wants, but he needs to use discretion wisely.
Oracle sir, I am thinking, the government must look with an open mind at any means to bring more money into the economy. For instance I support the proposal by this group to take over the toll concessionaires. That’s’ 50b into the economy. In cash. Imagine the multiplier effects from there. Whoever receives the money, will be spending in turn and that could spur the economy. One or two concessionaires may balk at the idea, but the rest would welcome buyout.
Admittedly, I put up to the question as I have been dying to know whether the Oracle is behind the bid to take over the concessionaires.
These people came to see me, said the Oracle. I took a look at the proposal and I think it makes sense. I supported it and thought it worthwhile for the government to take a look at it. Shaziman was in favour of it. The PM was not against it, but the guy who heads the EPU- you know the fellow, Nor Yaakob, he has other ideas.
Perhaps Oracle sir, people are afraid that down the road, this take over giant who comes from nowhere will run out of money and the government will have to bail it. That would mean a drain on our financial resources.
Look, the government must study the cash flow. If the cash flow is reasonable which requires an extension of toll tenure, the government should be supportive. After years of experience, we can see from the cash flow projections, whether this proposal is a fly by night operations. Toll operators collect cash.
People are fed up of toll increases. The government must find ways to reduce toll rates or pay more subsidies to toll operators. That wont do as it woud mean a drain on our financial resources. This proposal can overcome these contraints. Toll rates can be reduced with concession period being extended. Plus, the government doesnt need to pay subsidies.
It’s about injecting money into the system. We need lots of it and fast.
Let’s come back to politics Oracle Sir- One Malaysia.
I gave my views to the PM- what is this One Malaysia which nobody seems able to put their finger on. So I asked him- what is it that you want? What do you hope to achieve by this One Malaysia? More importantly, how does the concept benefit UMNO?Will it soften up UMNO's image?
Actually if you were to ask me, what One Malaysia means, is what the people expect of Malaysia. That’s it. People expect and demand for example, integrity. Integrity of the leadership, the system. We have problems with the police, the judicial system, administration; we take the bull by its horns.
Integrity for example. The PM says that his cabinet is a people’s cabinet. Why do we see so many senators as ministers? Some of them lost. You don’t put losers inside the cabinet, not good for morale. And talking about morale, I have received feedbacks, that this year’s, cawangan meetings were subdued and lackluster affairs. Attendance was very low. What does that tell you? It tells you that morale among UMNO people is low.
You know everyone knows that Maybank made a mess about their buys in Indonesia and Pakistan. Yet that fellow was made a minister and now heads something important within the government. Look at the fellow from MAS. Where is the profit from airline operations- which is the core business?
Yes Oracle sir, I never knew that MAS has become an oil trading company.
When the PM inducts this kind of people into his cabinet, it lowers the morale of those who got elected and reflects that we are having a bad draught as far as leadership material is concern.
You know, when this kind of stories get carried around, the leadership loses the confidence of the rakyat. Losers and tarnished individuals get inducted into the cabinet, government positions etc.
Again, what do people want? People want a government that’ free from corruption. I am more inclined to repeat what Dr Mahathir said- how can the leadership stem corruption if they themselves are corrupt?
The government has got to take exemplary actions over corruption. The people are not convinced if you catch out the small fries and you can’t fall back on the tired excuse that you can’t have the evidence and proof. How is it possible that with small fries, you CAN find proof and evidence? How do you reconcile this? You are super efficient on one particular group, you become dumb on another.
Simple things the government takes will improve its image. Take for example, the death of Teoh Beng Hock. Someone should have directed that the last group that interogated the man should have been taken into custody. Arrest them first to contain more damage. You know, an instance of personal wrong or wrong committed by overzealous officers can be blown out of proportions to make it look like the government is behind this. Nip it in the bud. Similarly with the cow head incident. People want to see swift action. Arrest them. Show the public you mean business. Charge them for whatever charges that can be proffered.
That’s what One Malaysia should be. Good government with good leadership, integrity, corruption free and efficient.
I asked the PM- aren’t you worried about these developments? Yet no one sees it fit to press the panic button. Many UMNO leaders, especially those who owe their positions to the PM are behaving in a business as usual mode. I am afraid no one has the temerity to tell the PM the other side of the story.
Perhaps bloggers or cyber writers can play such role?
Depends. Provided the PM reads or his people read. Then again, iIf you write as a sycophantic apple polisher- you lose credibility. To get credibility you must be critical. That attracts the younger generation. They don’t want to listen to a picture that is all rosy. They don’t believe that anymore. They are thinking public.
Besides you, there are a couple of other bloggers I read said the oracle of Syed Putra. That fellow de minimis is good. He has sound things to write.
Oracle Sir- de minimis is a renaissance Chinese gentleman. He has an economics and also a law degree. He is now in practice. Perhaps, you may want to see him sometimes?
Thank you Oracle Sir, for having us here. Permission to take some photos.