Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Not Transparent Enough For You Still?

For the dissenters who always says the BN Government is like an Ostrich and covers things up with rosy pictures, let's hear of what you think of this bold admission in the Executive Summary of the Economic Transformation Roadmap.


Malaysia is at a critical point in its economic development. There has been a loss of growth momentum over the past decade, and it has become increasingly clear that the historical drivers of growth can no longer be relied on to deliver strong economic outcomes. It is more difficult to generate high rates of economic growth in an increasingly competitive global economy. Growth can no longer be taken for granted, but needs to be earned. There are four reasons why a fundamentally new approach is required.

Historical Growth Engines are Slowing Down

Malaysia’s relatively sluggish economic performance over the past several years indicates that the historical engines of Malaysia’s economic growth are slowing down. A large part of the reason for this relatively poor growth performance has been slow labour productivity growth. To transform productivity, significant improvements are required in two areas. First, the level of business investment will need to be substantially increased. Achieving the 6 percent annual growth rate to 2020 will require private investment to grow by more than 12 percent over the next five years, a significant increase from the 2 percent per annum growth achieved in the past five years. Second, enhanced investments in human capital will be made to support a high-skilled, knowledge-based and innovation-intensive economy.

Risk of Being Stuck in the Middle

Malaysia is no longer able to remain competitive with low-income countries as a high volume, low-cost producer. At the same time it has not yet moved up the value chain and become competitive with high-income countries. Other countries are more competitive than Malaysia in both low-cost production and in high-value markets. This is not a sustainable position. Strategies that were successful in driving Malaysia’s transformation from a poor country, reliant on rubber and tin at Independence, into a diversified middle-income economy are not appropriate for the next stage of Malaysia’s developmental journey.

An Unsustainable Fiscal Position

Malaysia has run fiscal deficits every year since 1998, with a deficit of 7 percent of GDP recorded for 2009. Moving back to fiscal sustainability and achieving the Government’s commitment of a deficit of 3 percent of GDP by 2015 will require a change in direction. Investor attitudes to sovereign debt have changed significantly over the past two years, and capital markets may be less inclined to finance sovereign debt on the terms they have extended in the past. There is also increasing evidence of fiscal policy competition between countries, with governments cutting corporate tax rates to obtain a competitive edge. In order for Malaysia to offer competitive personal and corporate tax rates and invest in education, research, public services and infrastructure, it will need to strengthen its fiscal position substantially.

Increasing Global Competition for Markets, Capital and Talent

The global economy is becoming much more competitive. The emergence of new, highly competitive regional and global companies has eroded the strong position of Malaysian-based companies in the manufacturing and services sectors. In addition, companies, investors and talent have an increasing number of opportunities and location options. Malaysia, therefore, needs to demonstrate a clear value proposition in order to attract and retain them. Moreover, many other governments are aggressively positioning themselves to compete for talent and capital. The low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) that Malaysia has attracted over the past decade are one indication of a weakening competitive position.


The ETP is the Government’s economic agenda in response to these challenges.

So forget your dreams for a while about who should sit at the throne of power in Putrajaya. The reality has been clearly stated on what we are facing as a nation to survive economically. Read the ETP here and consider if you can assist to help our nation. Forget the rhetoric of the politikus and see what we can do with the government of the day, whether you like this fact or otherwise.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Karipap On The Train

It was with a little nostalgia when I read about the home stay rail packages launched by the Tourism Ministry, especially the sentence "the train will pass at least 21 small stations for people to experience the rural life". I have seen the related TV series “Welcome to the Rail World” and notes that these are basically about going for a home stay vacation by rail trips.

I wonder however if people realised that the journey used to be the adventure, rather than the destination. I still remember till today watching the green landscape passing you by via an open window, rather than getting enclosed in air conditioned airtight container that somehow disengaged you from the surroundings. In addition you also wonder if there would be a derailment that may delay the journey, either by weather or more dreamily by CT bandits sabotaging the tracks because as a young boy you can't help fantasize such things after watching emergency era armoured trains on display at the station.

Yet the most potent memory about such rail trips was the peddlers brigade who swarmed the coaches at each stop and went along for a short ride till the next stop, in the meantime peddling their wares which usually are an assortment of snacks or drink packets. Because of these peddlers, pity the buffet coach push cart salesman on board as his wares conspicuously do not receive any attention the nearer the next train station. The funny thing is that even though the best food etched in my mind is those curry puffs being sold by peddlers who got on at Tanjung Malim train station, I have not managed to get a similarly tasty piece outside the station or train ride, even though in the town when my family stayed there. Must be specially made to be sold on board the trains I guess. The other funny thing is, I have always wondered how these peddlers managed to get back to their original station in time for the next train, rearmed with fresh food and drinks for the itinerant travellers.

I hope the powers that be realise that these activities can be a touristy attraction on their own and not a nuisance, as I have seen travelogues featuring these on board peddlers as an added attraction. Think about it so that our rail journeys will not be too sterile.