The government will present the mini budget and the 2nd stimulus package soon. This is a difficult time that calls for difficult and bold decision. I will not talk about the amount of stimulus package. I would rather point out things that Ministry of Finance should do.
a) The government must reveal why such an amount is committed.
b) How the money will be spent.
c) The effect of the stimulus package and this should be revealed at regular intervals the achievement of stimulus package. Since the money spent from stimulus package comes from budget deficit, we are actually spending money from the future. Transparency will go down well with the rakyat.
2) Projects should increase productivity to restore economic confidence and growth. Hence, there is no room or PET project.
3) As part of Corporate Social Responsibility, the government should get companies to take collective responsibility to care for its employer so that it is time to invest back in their human resources. The government is there only to help.
It is said that an economic crisis is a confidence crisis. At this juncture of confidence crisis, it is said the economic policy that will define the political situation in the country.
The new Prime Minister in line must give the rakyat hope by doing the right thing, if possible, on a bi-partisan manner. This will show that the BN government will truly care and will inspire confidence towards his leadership.
The excessive politicking has made the rakyat dislike and disdain politicians and do not trust politicians. They think that most politicians are just self-serving personality.
The stimulus package should be directed at the following:
a) Improving infrastructure – especially public transportation, building connectivity between different modes of public transport; between residential clusters and between towns.
b) Improving education, vocational training – retrain teachers; increase study loans for upgrade to postgraduate education – let the banks administer these study loans – ptptn has been a big failure as it boost very high default rates – the government should not be in the business of disbursement of these loans; make sure the banking intermediaries are responsible in assessing risk and collect.
c) Give incentives and support to local food production – encourage each state to specialize in one type of food crop or meat production – build linkages with advanced agri-business countries through partnership. Just by saving our food import bill that can generate billions worth of business. There is never a better time for the nation to refocus on food security. Malaysia still has plenty of land – small plots of land to do garden farming – and we need to achieve a balance between commercial crops and food crops.
Those who are able and willing to farm must be supported – this is for the interest of all Malaysians. Speed up the lease of all possible farmland and put money into acquiring expertise on agri-business and farn economics.
Food production is a ready market for Malaysia as we are currently a net importer.
d) Put the money into environmental infrastructure – for example the drains and pipes that carries the nation’s sewage system have not undergone maintenance and repair – they were built decades ago.
This investment will go a long way towards improving the capacity to produce a better quality of life. Massive cleaning up of the nation’s environment will also help with the current dengue epidemic!
e) Health care and low cost housing for the poor.
I would strongly object to see this money going into new development zones such as Iskandar. We should see money going into repairing and reviving old cities such as Ipoh, Melaka, Seremban, and connect them up with the main arteries of communication and transportation. The nation’s telecommunication service is also sub standard.
Now, if BN do the right thing, we still have a fighting chance to win back rakyat’s support.
This letter was also sent to the Finance Minister Datuk Sri' Najib Razak.