RM100mil in Amanah Saham units to ease hardcore poverty
By SIRA HABIBU
KUALA LUMPUR: Amanah Saham shares worth RM100mil will be given to the hardcore poor in urban areas to help them make ends meet, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said the Government was compiling a list of those eligible for the shares.
“Poverty is not restricted to rural areas only. The poor in urban areas also need assistance,” Najib said before breaking fast with the people at the Al-Bukhary Mosque here yesterday._______________________________________________________________
I am a firm believer of what I remember being taught as "Mixed Economy" - not "Free Economy/laissez faire" (nothing is free anyway) or "Controlled Economy" (look what shambles the Mainland Chinese present after decades of lashing up one of the most money minded people in the world - poisoned milk, total disregard of copy rights, unequal distribution of income, trampled workers' right blah blah blah)
In a Mixed Economy, the government is suppose to regulate economic activities, collect taxes and re-distribute income so the gap between the haves and have nots are not that wide. I also believe that the responsibility of a government, democratically elected or otherwise, is to ensure its people live with dignity and a sense of security.
A Brunei citizen can tell you he or she feels happy because the monarch really do spoil them.
A Singaporean would bitch (their unofficial national past time after shopping, perhaps) but tell you he or she can trust the various government institutions despite being flogged on as work horses but they would never come anywhere near enough to envisage being abandoned in abyss of total destitution and despair. Their government pays dividends to its citizens once a year.
An Australian need not worry about their children's tertiary education cost and when old, are also cared for by the state, if I am not wrong.
The French paid hell lot of taxes but enjoy free first class medical care. Go watch that Michael Moore documentary abou healthcare.
If the government I am paying taxes to (and at a very high rate too) and re-distribute responsibly into proper, efficient and effective public services such as health care and education, welfare for the old, sick, disabled, orphaned, retired and unemployed, quality public amenities, effective security and justice systems then I am more than happy to pay my income tax, quit rent and assessments, service and sales taxes, custom duties for the imported good and services, sin taxes (I am a teetotaler but just for argument's sake I am an abject drinker and smoker here) etc.
However, when a government tells the poor to get their aid from the share market, it is an act of abandoneng its responsibilty to manage the above taxes collected. And where would the money go?
Investment in equity or any other derivative markets carries risk. For the poor, they need a stable and liquid source of income. How many of the rural or even the urban poor can manage the shares properly? They may not have the means or knowledge to manage the investments, monitor the price movement, some even do not have a bank account to bank in their proceeds. I bet most of the poor would cash in the moment they are allowed to and that would be that.
There is no way of providing a system or a structure for them to gain economic independence, acquisition of relevant marketable technical skill or access into employment opportunities.
Not unlike those droppings of little bits and pieces here and there during by-elections but the only difference is instead of coming from taxes collected, somebody in the share market is paying for "satu lagi projek kerajaan Barisan Nasional" (and this time, no one died).
Ask anyone who bought a unit in Berjaya Times Square whether they are happy that Vincent Tan, instead of paying late delivery compensation with cash, paid them in Berjaya shares.
In the meantime, all Malaysians are still paying their range of taxes.
To all my muslim brothers and sisters, Selamat Berpuasa!