Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Money Changers in the High Seats of our Temple


 
1969 was our own cataclysmic economic depression of the 1930's. It brought to the surface, gnawing economic disparities between the major races in Malaysia. Most significantly, it exposed the economic deprivations of the Malays.

What caused it? The easy answer was capitalism or free market economy. The depression of the 1930s in America impressed the minds of the American people of the efficacy of government. Only the government can remedy the situation provided of course government is in the hands of 'good people' like us naturally. Good people like us naturally exclude those agitating for reforms and more naturally those asking for a break from a siege mentality.

From 1970 onwards, what we have is our own New Deal in the form of NEP. It sought out primarily to redress the economic problem of the Malays. We saw coming into being, various regulations and institutions armed with the explicit agenda of jumpstarting the Malays in various economic enterprises. A fuller analysis of our New Deal isn't the subject of this essay today.

What is the subject is the perception molded about government's role in the pursuits of our industry and improvement. The fundamental perception is this- active intervention of the government especially central government is the remedy to the economic problem. The economic problem disemboweled up to 1969, was viewed largely as the failure of market economy. Capitalism was the cause of Malay backwardness. Free market has largely benefited the more industrious and uninhibited Chinese. The conventional wisdom was, in order to remedy the situation is to enlarge the role of government and at the same time, put up with regulations to curtail Chinese economic enthusiasm.

In what form/s did this perception express itself/themselves? It took the form of allowing benevolent public servants, disinterested experts, assuming almost unbridled powers which once narrow minded and selfish economic royalists held that were widely abused. Businessmen are just not responsible people. 1970 was our own beginning year when "the moneychangers have fled from the high seats in the temple of our civilization". This phrase was used by Roosevelt when announcing his new Deal that sought to justify the enlarged role of big government.

In my opinion, the thinkers behind our own NEP were inspired by Roosevelt's New Deal in two senses; one- in accepting that the economic problem was the result of the failure of market economy and two- accepting in turn that the remedy is bigger government and therefore bigger and almost unchallengeable powers. I am now more convinced those thinkers of our own NEP didn't sit down to think of the problem from our own local perspectives and must have been studying excessively the NEW DEAL and adopting its approach almost carte blanche here in Malaysia.

The main by-product of this thinking is the change in the belief from individual responsibility, laissez faire and decentralized and limited government to a belief in a more robust government led of course by benevolent public servants and politicians. The new belief was basically about the role of the state. The state is now viewed as the power that is created to protect people from the vicissitudes of fortune and to control the operations of the economy in the general interest of the people. These roles must be agreed upon even if it involved, as we were to see from 1970, government ownership and operation of the means of production.

This idea fitted into the strategic thinking of Malay politicians because enlarged government role conferred unto them powers that would not be achieved if left to free market forces. It allowed them to build a fortress which Dr. Mahathir wanted to disassemble through his thinking in later years. What Tun Mahathir did not realize was that government money changers have occupied and entrenched themselves in the high seats in the temple of our civilization.

If the agenda of Malaysia is to be achieved, this temple must be invaded.

5 comments:

Anonymous,  24 November 2009 10:46  

who is tasked to invade this?

kuldeep 24 November 2009 10:51  

I am amazed that the current modern management practise as practised by ECER/GLCs is designed to move projects at a snails pace..I always believed that time is a precious asset too.

Case in point is the pineapple high impact agrobiotechnopreneurimpetus initiative for Rompin/ECER.

Announced in Jan 2008/Consultants appointed for 6 months study/Nov 2009 advertised for "outsource"partners to operate/manage the whole kaboom.
2 years still no pineapple?3 years..will there be pineapples?Myb by then pineapples can be mass produced in Bioclone factories?

Why can't they just employ (in 2008) a core group of pineapple experts (we got lots of them in the country)..and start planting in phases..training locals participants etc..I am sure if we maintain that "Felda Pioneering" spirit..we would be able to enjoy Rompin pineapples a year back.

Remember that photo of Tun Razak in a bush jacket..giving instructions in a partially cleared jungle.And Felda is undeniable a success..

Its all about passion,believe,will and hard work.Nowadays..its about Public Relations,self aggrandizement and protecting your arse.

Its never the policies..its the execution

Anonymous,  24 November 2009 11:31  

amazing...today's STAR...took me 10 pages before I can find anything positive and rakyat centric..

First 10 pages was all about political infighting and sniper attacks.Sad reflection of our society.

At least..the some Blogs do concern themselves of the country's economic future

Anonymous,  24 November 2009 13:14  

Power corrupts. And the thought of losing this power has made them hold on to their seats at all costs turning them into warlords.
Yes, we all are eager to know who you would propose to invade the fortress of these warlords?

Anonymous,  24 November 2009 13:56  

Bruder, can you PLEASE comment on the SWEET deal that NAZA has received on the MATRADE-CONVENTION centre in KL. I do know that a lot of UMNO or pro UMNO bloggers, dont want to touch the matter as they are "INDEBTED" to NAZA.

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