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Sakmongkol ak 47

Friday, 14 October 2011

The 2012 Budget- A Crowd Pleaser

Let us speak with openness. Can we expect the over RM 4 billion to be spent as handouts, one off at that, be expected to be a principal transformative element of the 2012 budget? Out of the 232 billion, 180 billion will be spent as OPEX. That’s money to spend on operating the economy; paying salaries, servicing existing loans etc. Can that be the transformative ingredient? That leaves 50 billion as CAPEX.
Now as I understand it, to transform an economy, we must have capacity; i.e. we need to spend on building capacity and capabilities. Capital formation, building skills and technology. These now are uncertain given that even allocation to education is being reduced. We are simply held back from transforming because we hold back on building capacity and capabilities.
We are doing exactly the reverse. We are preaching that in this world, we DO have free lunches. We are entrenching the rent seeking mentality- things can be had for free and without efforts, as long as we install a benevolent despotic and overbearing government. Ignore the bullying; ignore the excesses because what are important, impoverished people can be made a happy and contented lot once a year when the budget is announced. Let people think, budget time, is when the giant ATM machine is taken out.
You get the feeling that the finance minister when presenting the budget the other day, can’t wait to get to the paragraphs where he gets to play Santa Claus. He rushes over the paras telling stories about capital market, restructuring the rural economy. He’s over eager to come to telling the story about how he plans to easing and pleasing people facing the world of rising prices. 
To be sure, Najib likes to give money. There must be a psychological term to describe the feelings when a person gives out money to other people- that particular categorization of people who feel empowered or even smugly superior when giving money to the other people. Perhaps that reinforces the ruling class complex, no?  You servant, me master ya?
I find disingenuous this argument:
With these developments, the Government will put in place measures to stimulate domestic economic activities, in particular public and private investments, as well as private consumption. Private and public investments are expected to increase 15.9 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively, supported by higher foreign direct investment, implementation of the ETP and Second Rolling Plan (RP2) projects under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP). Private consumption is projected to increase 7.1 per cent following higher disposable income and a more positive employment prospect. On the supply side, the services sector is expected to expand 6.5 per cent, while the construction sector 7 per cent. Therefore, economic growth in 2012 is projected between 5 per cent and 6 per cent.
How? What are the measures? The vanguard for our development (unspoken of course) seems to be those large companies given projects under the ETP- hence the implementation of the ETP and a continuation of the projects under the previous budget.
The ETP is of course just the marketing arm of big business using the government as a front. I have written some time ago, the ETP coordinator or convener as it really is, just called up for the business plans of the big companies in Malaysia, re-package them, given a brush over by the McKinsey boys, and hey presto- held it out as THE business Plan for Malaysia.  Somehow naming it ETP will miraculously transform Malaysia. It does- it transforms rich companies to mega rich companies. Hence the idea of the NKEas- national key economic areas are prima facie good and worthy thinking- but assigning them to selected PDP is something else. The PDPs happen to be the very companies asked to give inputs into the ETP.  They get to be richer beyond the imagination of us mere mortals.  To have this idea that the government, attributed with omnipotent qualities, is able to efficiently micromanage the economy, replacing the free play of market forces is incredible. This is the fatal conceit on the part of the government.
Therefore you find Gamuda (who was the originator of the idea of MRT) remains in fact, the project coordinator for the cost yet to be ascertained MRT project. It has now become MyRT? What’s that? From a PFI project it’s now a 100% owned project under the government’s MRT corp? Gamuda gets to build the RM 12 billion tunnel using cheap loans guaranteed by the government? It gets a 3% rate where the difference between that and the market interest rate is paid for by the government? So what was the real MRT plan? A business package to be parceled out to a few selected companies? Gamuda gets lion’s share by way of direct negotiation- while a single package of the business is to be competed out by 20 Bumi companies. The big one you give out directly, the smaller ones you let the smaller boys fight it out.
What’s actually a rolling plan? Are they projects that were supposed to be implemented last year but counted once again as new projects this year? Then they shouldn’t be included in a new budget year. It means the government didn’t have the discipline to make the projects take off in the relevant financial year.  What exactly is the employment figures that is mentioned as an increasing disposable income agent?
He doesn’t tackle the ways to actually reduce the price at source. He talks about giving money directly into the hands of sections of the people, who are probably identified by the welfare department or ministry. Come to think of it, the people identifiable and qualifying as welfare recipients must have come from Sharizat’s ministry. (Didn’t she announce that a person able to see with one eye only is now qualified to receive welfare assistance because the one eyed fellow is now an OKU?).
What if the price of oil is lower than expected? What if, given the state of the world next year experiencing slower growth all around, we can’t export as much as we want? The IMF reports that slowdowns of economic growth in Europe and USA will have contagion effects where funds will be taken out of Asian economies. Are these developments not taken into account when budget 2012 was being prepared? Was this element left out when the Finance Minister quoted IMF in his speech?
What if domestic demand isn’t sufficient to absorb our excess capacity? MIER has revised Malaysia’s growth rate to below 5% throwing doubts to the finance minister’s claims that our growth rate will be around 5-6%. Never in our history, has a credible research organization such as MIER come out immediately after the budget to cast doubts as to the veracity of the finance minister’s numbers.  Where did those numbers come from? MIER said domestic growth is not sufficient to counter shrinkage in external demand.
See? Our economic optimism is based on external demand. External demand pushes up our exports. If other economies face problems, they reduce their imports. Our other major export earnings from the sale of oil are another problem area. Other countries buy our oil. If we cannot sell as much export like we want and the price of oil drops, then our income will be greatly reduced. We don’t have a large domestic market. If the high impact projects do not take off as planned, no money is going into the market. The RM 4 billon pus that’s going directly into consumers is not going to create much impact as it can be reasonably expected; the money will be used to satisfy deferred spending.
That’s a substantial reduction in percentage points translating into large actual shrinkage in the economy. The income of the country will be lower than projected and the country will grow at a rate less than stated. Producers cut back because those entire one off handouts or large portions are used to satisfy deferred consumption clearing old inventories. New demand is too weak to stimulate production. Domestic demand is cut back as is external demand because each economy in the world is caught out in its own recessionary phase.
These are the realities possibly emerging independent of the PM’s recent budget projections.  How could the Malaysian economy be saved? Possibly by our leader bringing in money into this country. and the money is given out to investors and consumers. Producers get access to cheaper funds. Government spends its way out of recession in ways that cut away at lag times. Consumers given sending coupons to prevent hoarding up. The finance minister is doing it already to students right? Money must circulate in the economy to stimulate domestic demand.
The 2012 budget is indeed the most unique. Never before has a budget been turned into a huge CDM- cash dispensing machine. Money into our hands is a welcome relief and pain remover; but it’s not a responsible way of managing a country’s budget. This is the most irresponsible budget that I have ever heard. The complex and real economic determinants are rushed over in order to allow the finance more space to act Santa Clausian.
It’s more notable for handing out cash instead of putting the economy in order. The capital market is mentioned as in passing; as though some phone calls were made to leading bankers in Malaysia to give some inputs on the capital market. Hence just a cursory almost text book mention that our ratio is strong and better the world average. So? How does that translate into accessibility of the SMEs to the capital market? How do we ease imports of capital goods into the country to build capacity? Isn’t the theme of this budget is transformation?
 Its more notable for its explicit take my money and vote for me posturing. Because all the disposable incomes because they are one off events suggest that they are given for the purpose of inducing the recipients to vote for the government.  I am sure there is a simpler term for that- bribery?


Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 08:48  

Who decides that which projects that is proposed during labs is accepted?Do they hv voting system amongst lab members and the brilliant Pemandu officers.
Or is it decided by idris jala?

Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 09:47  

Many thanks Zak ! Those BN clowns were praising JIBBLY 'S BUDGET LIKE THEY WERE SMART ASS HOLES!
It looks like the malay race is being induced each year with heroine to keep them high most of the time!
We really do need a "SAVIOUR" FOR OUR COUNTRY"S ILL!
It's time to kick ass come next GE

Red Alfa 14 October 2011 at 10:38  

Salam Dato'

1) PM Mahathir had Cronyism is Good.
2) PM Pak Lah made Son-In-Law is Good
3) PM Najib has Give Bribes is Good.

UMNO do ave 'em. Corruption rules, OK.

Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 10:55  

I share your sentiments, Datuk!

The country needs a honest, firm and wise hand to lead it forward in these trying economic times, not a sugar-daddy Santa Claus who will mean harsh suffering in the future.

Najib does not fit the bill; rather he is notorious for his kostan-deny-flip-flop moves.

Najib came across more like a "cure-all" snake-oil merchant spreading
temporary feel-good Panadol-like goodies when he presented his 2012 Budget,
dishing out money left and right like there was a mountain of money in the
coffers, never mind that the national debt has ballooned to RM455 bln.

He even tried to squeeze in a pay hike for MPs - at a time when his Budget
ang-pows are supposed to be helping to ease the financial pains of the less
well off rakyat suffering [revalent high prices. A pay hike which one report
stated may double the MPs' pay. Money grow on trees meh.

(One side point which arose was whether Najib & Co were trying to
increase their pay with an eye on the higher pension it would mean when
they get kicked out come GE13!)

But when, rightly so, there was a loud outcry against the pay hike, what did
Najib do? BRAKE! KOSTAN! U-Turn!

And not only that. Nazri became the kambing hitam, with Najib saying that
proposal came from Nazri and was included at the last minute. As Finance
Minister, even if it was a last minute proposal, it is simply irresponsible
to try to pass the buck. What comes out of the Finance Minster's mouth is
his own responsibility. No one else is to be blamed. Full-stop. But no...
kena hantam, shed the blame. Wriggling out of a trap.

(And then there are the learned opinions that the Budget is based on highly
questionable data and projections, the long-standing corruption and crony
system still infesting the nation, BN's ever-weaking hold on power... and
other related issues.)

Semalam Ku Li joined the ever louder outcry about the RM456bln federal debt, stating
that "it is worrying that Malaysia's debt had "ballooned" from RM200 billion in 2004 to RM456 billion in 2011".

Of course, right on cue, the greenhorn son of Chua Soi Lek had to jump in with his syncophant "the Opposition was wrong in judging the nation's economic status when it ignored income per capita and only focused on the national debt". There was even this Chua Tee Yong gem:

Refuting the Opposition's claim that Budget 2012 was an
election budget, Chua said: "If this is true, then the Barisan
need not decrease the financial deficit but merely increase
one-off cash payments to the low-income groups."

Huh? Didn't Najib just dish out a big ioncrease in one-off cash payments, not only to the lower income groups, but also to the civil servants and others? And I thought the young ciku is supposed to be a trained accountant?

I wonder what happens when GE13 comes and goes, and then, as Najib had already said, the GST plans will be implemented. How long will the sugar candies handed out to the poor electorate last when they find that their pockets are getting emptied faster and faster?

OneMalaysian,  14 October 2011 at 11:19  

Dear Sakmongkol

“We are preaching that in this world, we DO have free lunches. We are entrenching the rent seeking mentality- things can be had for free and without efforts, as long as we install a benevolent despotic and overbearing government.”

There are so many quotable quotes that I had a hard time choosing one. Before I begin, let me suggest a correction to the above quote. The word “benevolent” should be replaced by “corrupt”. Benevolence means that the government IS doing something good for all or most of the people. Since this is not true, and only a few cronies benefit richly at the expense of the masses, which have to wait for their annual handouts at Budget time, I think “corrupt” is more appropriate, especially when we know the connection between the cronies and the people in power.

I have this feeling - I have actually not spoken to kampong or new village folks – that many disadvantaged Malaysians think the government has a bottomless pocket from which it can pull out an endless supply of money, much like how magicians seem to be able to pull rabbits out of hats. And this money can then be “benevolently” distributed to the needy or be used to bribe (did you suggest that?) the people to vote accordingly, so the cycle of benevolence can continue.

The truth, of course, is that there is not bottomless hat. This sleight of hand is accomplished by the Finance Minister cum PM going hat in hand to the bond market to borrow money to fund this apparent benevolence. The EPF is a major lender to the government. Simply put, the government is borrowing money to give it away, including from the EPF.

The better way to help Malaysians, especially the bottom 40% who have a household income of less than RM2000 per month, is to ensure that their education and skill levels are continuously upgraded so that they can go into the knowledge market. Real wages and salaries have stagnated for the past 20 years. While this is happening, house prices especially in the Klang Valley are skyrocketing, and food and other costs are inflating away. That is why the household loans have increased alarmingly to about 70% of GDP. The CEO of Maybank has recently expressed concern over this. The government is doing nothing to address this long tern issue – narrowing the gap between real earning and the runaway borrowings. America went into an economic crisis that they are still in when the average household debt to GDP was only about 75%.

When we see that there are some 3-4 million foreign workers, legal and illegal, in the country, we are entitled to think that there far more jobs than there are working Malaysians. If that were true, then real wages would have gone up. We would all have a fantastic standard of living. But this is not the case. 50,000 to 60,000 graduates are jobless, and millions more work in low paying jobs because high paying ones don’t exist. Most Malaysians earn far less than their counterparts in Singapore or Hong Kong. Young Malaysians live with their parents out of necessity for free food and lodging. They depend on their parents to buy them a car and/or a house. This is cross-subsidy. This simply means that household income is being shared. What the young people cannot earn is subsidized by parents. This is exactly what the government is doing for some Malaysians. In both cases, it is not something to proud of. It speaks of an undesirable situation. We should be ashamed that this is happening in a country that aspires to a brighter future.

DeeI,  14 October 2011 at 11:27  

for the 1st time in my simple English..the government is giving money to his deserving subjects and not into the pocket of certain rich individuals...AMIN.

Jong 14 October 2011 at 14:10  

"deserving subjects" or 'YOU help me I will help YOU'?

What about 1.7 million of us tax-payers from private sector, don't we enjoy equal benefits? We do pay taxes too in case Najib forgets! We work our butts out and diligently contribute to nation's coffer yet being treated like step-kids?

Looks like the minority is supporting the majority, no? Where's fairness when already deprived of level-playing field, we now have to pay and reward a bloated 1.3 million civil workforce known for their punctuality for Break-time and Punch out-time and already enjoying attractive perks?

About time we get together some legal eagles to challenge the sitting Government and LHDN in court for irresponsible use/distribution of our tax money!

Raison D'etre 14 October 2011 at 15:03  

Sorry Deel,
They're giving crumbs, tit bits, itty bitty pieces, to the masses, and keeping the big bucks still to the, urm, non masses..

And where do you these crumbs, tit bits and itty bitty pieces come from? Their pockets? Nope. Its more a sleight of hand trick. Same like the discounted toll fees trick.

Lets stop being so feudalistic in our thinking, shall we not?

Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 15:18  


If I am in the government, I would give my 'deserving subjects' at least another1% more than what Najib is giving.... long as my 'deserving subjects' does not question the vast amount that I quietly give to myself and certain rich individuals.

Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 16:15  

Dato, well done for your brave write-up. Anyway, I just want to ask for your opinion on the proposed listing of Felda Global Ventures on Bursa Malaysia. One famous and influential bruogger said that this listing will make Felda a global player in both upstream and downstream sectors, and enrich as well as empower the settlers. Betul ke? Just wondering who is actually yang nak di"enrich" kan?

Old skool...

DeeI,  14 October 2011 at 17:06  

Hei Jong n anonymous 15.18,
Don’t you know that all the govt. servants were underpaid for years. They nursed the sick, they educate your children, they keep laws and orders, they defend the country, they keep the country clean and healthy and they service the people. Therefore, then, they deserve the remuneration. You goblok!!!

OneMalaysian,  14 October 2011 at 18:40  

Dear Sakmongkol

This subject is not well understood by most Malaysians. One of your readers said for the first time the government is putting money in the people’s pocket, so implying this is no bad thing, and much better than putting money in some rich people’s pocket. I am afraid this might well be the general feeling of MOST Malaysians – what’s wrong with the government giving us money?

At the risk of being long-winded I want to tell my fellow Malaysians that this giving of Budget time money – small amounts, really – means things are not OK. It means that without these small sums we will all sink into debt or cannot make ends meet. It means the government has failed, after 54 years, to provide us with good paying jobs that can make us as rich as the average Singaporean so that we do not have to desperately wait for handouts. It means that the government has failed to wean us off subsidies. In fact it is turning us into a nation of subsidy-handout junkies. We cannot live without them.

Until Deng Xiao Peng emerged from political banishment in 1978, every working Chinese earned RMB 30 per month, from CEO to the floor worker. But each was given food vouchers for rice, sugar, oil, etc, free education and health care (of poor quality) and a small miserable company flat no bigger than 400 sq feet. The Chinese were poor, and were totally dependent on the government and the subsidies. Now, 32 years later, after Deng declared that to get rich is glorious, the most Chinese in urban areas earn between RMB 3000 to 30,000 p.m. But most subsidies have disappeared. They now have a much higher standard of living without those subsidies (e.g. petrol is at world market prices) because they are earning far, far more. This is the route we should take – have access to high paying jobs with little or no subsidy instead of low paying jobs that need massive subsidies. A socialist country (China) is embracing capitalism fast, while a nominally capitalist one (Malaysia) is going backwards to embrace a bad version of socialism.

This is one subject that if written in Malay would reach a far wider readership.

Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 19:12  

Najib oh Najib.Kesian lah kat anak cucu saya.Anak cucu you ok lah. .kurang2 ada uncle loaded.Anak cucu saya nak hidup macam mana bila minyak habis,Gdp turun n hutang negara 100%Gdp?

Anak u dgn idris jala ok lah.

Berjimatlah sikit.Opex 180 bil tu banyak.Buat projek2 biar lah betul.Lambat sikit ok if can save 30%.

Minta ampun oh Najib.Tolong fikirkan anak cucu kami.

Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 22:07  

Dato Sak,
The PM is doing a great disservice to the country when allowing for deficit in the budget and dishing out money that the country need to borrow from somewhere. Why the cash handouts? We need more money to pay doctors to work in government clinics, more beds for the hospitals...yet the government irresponsibly give out cash. I am so ashamed with the present leadership that I do not know what to do.

Sometimes I feel we (Malaysians) are like leemingsg being led into oblivion en masse!

Quiet Despair,  14 October 2011 at 22:37  

The private sector don't like it. So do the middle-class like Sak (excluding me).
I am fine with it.
So it's not really a crowd pleaser. It is an election budget pure and simple.
And the target is the Felda settlers, the government staffers and the lower-income group.
Fair enough. These are the vote-bank of BN.
The government is stupid if it did not come up with this best ever budget with goodies.
What's wrong with being a Santa Claus when you have to ensure a mandate of your own, yes DS Najib.
Come March or April you will be entrenched in your seat as our PM again.
Why is the middle-class so selfish when they too benefit in terms of free schooling and RM200 for books etc.
And it's good news to middle-class parents who send their kids to private school with the incentives for such schools.
And why is the opposition MPs so against the increase in allowance? Just to show to the rakyat they are prudent and want to save the governmet coffers.
Bull. Something fishy alright. I like to believe Anu-war does not need it since he is funded by his overseas sponsors.
Whatever negative perceptions of the budget, I am glad to note that the country is not going bankrupt like the shizznits claim.
My only quarrel with Najib is the increase in the retirement age for government workers to 60.
I hope it will only be extended to the IMG or technical workers and not passengers and dead woods who are now filing their option papers.
It will cost more to pay their pension and gratuities. And think of the medical bills the government got to cough up since 50-60 age group are prone to heart-attacks.
Luckily I am not in the civil service. I plan to retire at 45 and be a beach bum.

Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 23:04  


Why are you the lone voice of rationality these days?

TRH and his AMANAH NGO needs to step up to the plate and make their stand fast. Already Najib's sleigh of hand is winning the gullible innocent hearts of the poor and the civil servants.


Anonymous,  14 October 2011 at 23:29  

2100 years ago the great emperor Julius Ceaser had done the same things what Najib are doing today. Emperor Julius Ceaser rules superbly! Why can't Najib follows Julius Ceaser?

Melayu Baru,  14 October 2011 at 23:48  

Assalamualaikum Dato Sak,

At least the TPM was blunt enough - it is an election budget. No two ways about it.

It is a sedative designed to lull the masses for short period of time the one time handout will sooth their immediate pain. Once they have the cash in hand, the goodwill stays and election will make them forget the pain that is coming.

They dont understand bonds, economic forecast, govt borrowings, FDI and other economic terms. Once they see the money at hand, they get a warm fuzzy feeling from the people that gave it to them. Lepas tu election pulak - aiseh, sure pangkah gomen punyalah...

So, here we go again - BN need the masses to stay stupid. If they know what the government is doing they will disagree. So, they keep them simple folks stupid.

Next election sure menanglah... All the rational voices are the minorities. You, Dato', know that this is Sisyphean effort. Endlessly laborious and futile. Those reading your blogs would parrot your view - but what can they do to change the people ignorance? How do you convince the smiling folks who got to shake hand with the elites that they got the short end of the stick? How do you tell the makcik felda that the rich are creaming her children's future?

We all agree to this reality - some spew vitriolic words to emphasize the point.

Readers of this blog - your voice doesnt matter. You are outnumbered 10 to 1. Your hand is tied. Your leg is tied. Now you fight with this evil government.

Sure kalah la, bang. Apa lagi kalau ada pengundi hantu. Korang nak lawan macamana hantu dan setan ni?

Jangan syok sendiri tengok blog yang support your theories and hypotheses, the real work is 100 times harder out there.

I suggest that if you want to see change, dont just read the blogs. Go out there and reach the folks.

Dont talk about this budget. Convincing them it is a bad budget is a futile exercise. Make them see the injustice, corruption and swindling. Make them realize this government is stealing from them and their kids. Make them realize that this government is misusing their power to enrich the few.

Work is hard, journey is long. I dont think this evil will die in 13th GE. It will take few more - but the work must continue.

Aim high, try hard. Then pray.

The sooner this evil fall, we will have a more secure future for our kids.

Melayu Baru

Jong 15 October 2011 at 10:59  

Someone sent me this which I think it aptly applies to current situation Malaysia is in, created by our 'Mr No-Direction PM' - Najib Tun Razak!

" When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work(pay taxes), because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!"

Folks, use your precious vote come GE-13, down with Barisan Nasional(BN)!
Change must come, it has to, to save this nation from chute of DOOM!

Orang Miskin Mersing,  15 October 2011 at 14:55  

YBhg Datuk Sak,

QD was right.
Sebab tu orang Melayu perlu dikekalkan bodoh dan miskin.

QD antara individu yang berjaya mengecap kehidupan yang baik, boleh retire at 45 lagi. Saya dah 45 belum boleh bersara lagi, malah kena kerja lebih kuat sebab tidak tergolong dalam kumpulan bernasib baik macam QD dan akan berhadapan dengan kenaikan harga barang asas bila gaji orang gomen mula naik.

QD juga betul bahawa UMNO/BN akan terus memerintah dan DS Najib akan terus jadi PM, no matter how corrupt, flip-flopping or power abusive they are. Mat Bangla, Indon, Myanmar, Aceh, Nepal, Pakistani sudah ramai ada I.C., sampai anggota Polis yang bit ronda pun tak berani nak check sebab pendatang-pendatang ni dengan berlagaknya boleh tunjuk My-Kad.
Sebab itu lah Yang Berbahagia Datuk Sak, QD dan gerombolan tak bimbang sedikitpun dengan apa juga komen posted in your or any other pro-opp's blog, because UMNO/BN will win GE13 handsomely.

The Budget? Hanya orang Melayu bijak pandai macam QD dan gerombolan yang boleh faham. Orang Melayu kebanyakan hanya faham dan gembira dengan token RM500, duit budak sekolah RM100, yuran sekolah mansuh, lebih dari tu tak tercapai dek akal.

So QD, which beach would you prefer when you officially retire?
Ada banyak pantai dari kampung saya Mersing hingga kampung Datuk Sak di area Pekan. Or you standard permits only Gold Coast, Bali, Ibiza, St. Martens, Miami...?

Anonymous,  16 October 2011 at 10:31  

Anonymous, 14 October 2011 23:29,

u missed the boat, julius's era has long gone, now we're left with CALIGULA!!

Anonymous,  16 October 2011 at 11:16  

Najib is practicing pork-barrel politics to win the GE13.

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