The nation needs to realise the full potential of the people so that they can contribute to the wellbeing of the nation, says WH Cheng.
When we ask the above question to many people, many will definitely point their fingers at the present government for their “failure” to address and prevent the current economic downturn and rising inflation.
It is natural for people to vent their frustration and anger over the rising cost of living, inflation and job losses under the current government. Many do not know exactly – or do not even bother to want to know – where such hardship originated from and why it happened in the first place.
According to economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Malaysians should brace for tougher times ahead as the economy is beset mainly by the current trade war between the United States and China.
Besides those external factors, some also blame the current situation on the relentless attacks on the previous Barisan Nasional government by the then Pakatan Harapan opposition. The BN had to stop their planning for our nation’s economic future and spend most of their time defending the attacks from the then opposition force.
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Many have forgotten or failed to understand that the current downturn in our nation has its roots in the previous administration as well.
Corruption, mismanagement and abuse of power within the government cost the nation’s coffers billions of ringgit.
Worst of all, funds from 1MDB were siphoned off. A large sum landed up in the personal account of the then Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Large large amounts from Felda, Felcra, Tabung Haji and National Feedlot Corp Sdn Bhd were allegedly swindled or siphoned away by.
The heavy borrowing by the previous government and unfavourable trade deals with China also resulted in our nation’s debts soaring, thus lowering the value of the ringgit substantially.
The rise of racial and religious extremism and unnecessary tensions created by Umno and Pas with the intention of provoking hatred and suspicion has also caused some instability.
All this corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds carried out by Umno leaders, along with the racial and religious tension created, has resulted in investors losing confidence in the Malaysian economy.
And now that both palm oil and crude oil prices have collapsed, many are wondering why are all this is happening to us.
China, India and Europe are among largest importers of palm oil. Anytime a crisis arises – like the global economic downturn, the trade war, Europe’s debt crisis and the slowing of demand for food from India and China – it will lead to a decrease in demand for palm oil, which will push the price of crude palm oil down.
Moreover, the demand and preference for other vegetable oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and corn oil has also affected crude palm oil prices. In recent years, western nations have campaigned hard to promote soybean oil as an alternative to palm oil.
Oil prices also fell, dragged by a weaker oil demand outlook and a rise in US crude inventories despite growing expectations of ongoing Opec-led supply cuts.
The outlook shows that the global economic slowdown and the commodities war, coupled with the US-China trade dispute, are the major contributing factors to the entire situation. If the global economy was good, Malaysia would have recovered even faster today after the new government took over on 10 May 2018.
Moreover, the intense politicking and the lack of focus by the new government also created an uneasy situation: the rising cost of living, inflation and uncertainty also frustrated the people who were hoping that things would change when regime change took place last year.
The then very experienced ruling party had left an almost emptied treasury, while the new and inexperienced ruling coalition took over when the nation was almost bankrupt during that period of transition last year.
All this was unexpected. We never expected our nation’s coffer to be almost dry. Neither did anyone expect that corruption by the previous ruling coalition was so rampant and pervasive.
The present ruling coalition must realise that these is no more space and time to look at race and religion anymore for survival in an increasingly competitive global market.
If there are still racial and religious extremists around trying to create havoc in our nation, do not give them anymore space. Bring these pests to book. If we continue to give them room to voice their extremism in public, tensions will continue to rise. And if this continues, how are we going to rebuild this nation?
We need meritocracy and inclusiveness to allow the full potential of the people to be realised so that they can contribute to the wellbeing of our nation.