KUALA LUMPUR: The Najib Government in Putrajaya, charged Amanah Strategy Director Dzulkefly Ahmad in a statement, was clueless on how to address the shortfall in revenue. “One reason is that ‘fiscal space’ has been lost due to decades of incompetence and reckless management of the economy.

“Never mind the 1MDB fiasco, RM2.6 billion donation and the litany of scandals.”

For example, he did warn that Najib would increase the levy on foreign workers. “Lo and Behold! I have been vindicated.”

Dzulkefly was commenting on Najib’s statement that the government could not deceive itself and must always be realistic in determining national expenditure. “This is like too late, too few.

“The government was revising the gross domestic product (GDP) this year to between 4.0 and 4.5 per cent, notwithstanding.”

The Prime Minister hinting at a possible budget review if oil drops below USD25 per barrel came as no surprise, said the Amanah Chief. “This is a real no-brainer, i.e. saying the obvious.”

Najib was now, ostensibly, driving growth through measures that allow consumers to spend and spend, despite household debt shooting beyond 140 per cent to disposable income and above 90 per cent of GDP, said Dzulkefly. “Domestic driven growth was another ‘no-brainer’ too.”

Malaysia was stuck in between the emerging low labour cost economy of Vietnam and Indonesia, and incapable of doing a “catchup” with the higher performing economies of Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, and the dwindling FDI numbers of late (2015) are very telling and numbers don’t lie, he added. “Statements that we no longer rely on FDI speak volumes.

“It’s an admission of defeat in competitiveness, due mainly to our failure to become a higher value-added economy driven by a skilled workforce and human capital with higher productivity.”

So, Dzulkefly wants to know what kind of economy the government was promoting when the majority of the people are heavily in debt and have to “cannibalize” future savings in order to promote growth. 

“Wake up Sir! It is the Economy Stu***!

“Let the rakyat understand it all.”

Returning to the levy, he wonders whether any party besides the government will gain from it. “Why the sudden hike? Some more than 100 per cent? Are we to be told that these were ‘novel ideas’ unthought of earlier before the recalibration?”

He pointed out that the industries were not engaged as stakeholders before decisions were made, when they would be taking the brunt of these hefty hikes. “Does the government understand the full implication of its actions especially in these dire times and with strong headwinds expected in 2016?”

Already, he said, the Federation of Malaysian Manufactures (FMM) was “seeing red” over the monstrous hike in the foreign workers’ levy. “Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi unashamedly and obliviously admitted that they are in to collect a cool extra RM2.5 billion.”

Source from FMT NEWS

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