An alternative Economic Transformation Plan

I can’t help but being cynical about the grand splendour that is the ETP rolled out with much glitz, glamour, promises and vagueness. The loopholes in the ETP has been well commented elsewhere.

All I can add on it is a sense of déjà vu; more empty promises ala 1Malaysia and more opportunities for the few and privilege to get onto the gravy train. It does not address the needs of the majority. Greater KL might sound like a great idea but I doubt people in Gua Musang, Batu Pahat, Bahau might not get too excited

A simple case in point, what is the point of having a gigantic mall from KLCC to Bukit Bintang when only 15% of the population have sufficient qualification and opportunities to earn enough to pay income tax?

My piece here is not about the professionals and upper middle income group. Sure, the businessmen and professionals have other pressing needs. They are more concern about business and investment climate and chances to actualize their potential as a professional. Improving the business climate, safety issues, education and employment opportunities would adress a lot of their concern.

I am writing and thinking about the 85% . By improving their standard of living and purchasing power, the multipler effect of that can only benefit local businesses and employment seeking professionals hence a win-win situation.

An elected government has the moral obligation to ensure its citizens live in safe environment and with dignity.

For me, to achieve high income population; let’s think out of the box. A certain ex-PM recently said that high income means high cost of living. (Incidentally that ex-PM did create a high income albeit exclusive society) Well, high income can also mean lower cost of living and value for money in terms of purchase power parity.

Successive Barisan Nasional administrations have never been big on cost control. As a result we have mounting national debts and well documented tremendous leakage but it’s not what I am writing about here.

Malaysians should rightly and loudly ask for their money’s worth. Our purchasing power is horrible. In Singapore you can get things for almost half of the nominal value compared to Malaysia. E.g. a pack of vegetable in NTUC can be less than S$1.00 but in Malaysia, the same quantity can reach well over RM1.80.

A viable ETP for the rakyat should focus on the following:

1) lowering cost of living for all Malaysians

2) creating business and job opportunities across Malaysia for all and sundry and not only to cronies

3) creating a more dynamic work culture and education system that makes Malaysians more employable

4) having a system in place where a working Malaysian can expect to have fair remuneration package in relation to his or her efforts

Lowering cost of living for all Malaysians

Lowering cost of living would involving doing away with the gravy train contracts started by Mahathir administration and improved upon during successive BN administrations. IPP, toll concessions, approved permits etc need to be removed. The rent seekerss should see the final days of their gravy train rides.

Something that is not apparent to Malaysians is the length of supply chain in Malaysia. The meat we get in our wet markets is nowhere as fresh as I have seen in Hong Kong and Singapore. In Hong Kong, I can purchase swimming fishes at the wet market but in Malaysia, I can only look at fishes that have perished for sometime.

Something does not look right. Sometimes middlemen are necessary part of the supply chain but too many of them would hold up the supply chain, push up cost and affect the quality of the goods delivered to end users

It’s time for the BN administration to come clean on how our foodstuff and necessities get to the public, including housing and utilities.

I would favour shifting of economic focus on crony dominated big corporations to people owned and people operated entities. I believe co-operatives have been under utilized.

Federal and State Economic agencies should assist in setting up co-operatives to venture into, among others, production of food and other daily necessities so that people can produce for themselves what they need to live at a lower cost.

Co-operatives can be a more democratic organization in a democratic country compared to say, a top down management listed company which leadership can actually be un-democratic – the major shareholders have all the say. Also, co-operative enable its members to have more say, and that itself can motivate and empower the people.

This model can allow rural Malaysia an alternative form of economic clout and also benefit urban Malaysia by presenting a viable and more economical source of goods.

Creating business and job opportunities across Malaysia for all and sundry and not only to cronies

Open and transparent tender for government procurement would create a competitive environment amongst Malaysian entrepreneurs.

More radically, instead of focusing only on a fixed equity percentage target, the focus should be shifted to creating bigger economic pie and providing learning opportunities for the rakyat to gain the knowledge, skill and experience to be able to take up a variety of jobs.

Malaysia has had experience doing away with share ownership quota. During the economic crises of 1987, the Industrial Co-ordination Act was amended to exempt foreign companies from fulfilling bumiputra share ownership provided that 80% or more of the sales are export in nature.

In order to be an attractive investment destination, we have to realize that our competitors do not have such non-business case restriction unto foreign investors.

Our education system needs to be re-modelled to incorporate more vocational contend as well as shifted to emphasing moulding ability to think, reason and debate, rather than just a slug fest for number of As and scholarships. However, if our schools are led by the likes of Siti Inshah and the unwilling education minister.....I am not optimistic.

Creating a more dynamic work culture that makes Malaysians more employable

Creating a more dynamic work force admittedly it is hardest part. There is a fair number of hard-working Malaysians but how often do we wish that our employee/co-worker/subordinate could put in more effort that you are seeing now?

I believe, however, if an employee can see he or she will be getting more rewards for his or her efforts, then he and she would work harder. Crony-base economy is a killer of initiative and opportunities.

Money can be the best motivational tool, which brings to my next point.

Having a system in place where a working Malaysian can expect to have fair remuneration package in relation to his or her efforts

I observe that the Gini co-efficient for Malaysia is not something we can be proud of. The income gaps between the rich and privilege against the middle class, and the middle class against the blue collar are very big.

Wage scale is essentially a commercial decision best left to the entrepreneurs and professional managers. Really? I have blogged about living wage scheme before and I believe its wide spread benefit could and would benefit more than the present system which allow excessive reliance on lowly paid foreign workers. It is time we Malaysians think of Malaysians first.

Giving more to the have-less and they can spend more and a strong domestic market can't do much harm to businessmen and ambitious professionals.

In Singapore there is already a Tripate Alliance for Fair Employment Practices and Malaysia do need this, to compensate for the lack of a labour union culture.

I believe the ETP is just like the previous reckless expansionary economic policies which has exhausted national confers and cemented perpetual budget deficits. We have had enough of cheque book prime ministers

Malaysians need structural changes that gets to the core of the issues faced by the majority, not another round of gravy trains that churn through crony neighbourhood which drop some crumbs for the slightly luckier few to pounce on.


  1. Many of the points mentioned are already well known and expansively written in the past by various authors. Nevertheless, it is good that, once in a while, we are kept reminded of the need to keep the matters in our sight as references for future actions. As an aside, the writer needs to be careful to use the correct word and tenses such as "rich and priviledge" should be "priviledged" and a singular noun should be followed by a singular verb, plural noun by a plural verb. "Middlemen are necessary part" should be "a necessary part".

  2. The main proplem is the country is ruled by nuts who does not know how to rule but knows how to plunder for their cronies.

    No hope lah Malaysia.

  3. Anom #1,

    thank you for correcting my english. i will look out for those bogey words for me

    I hope u can also contribute more in terms of ideas as well. you seem to have plenty in your mind and i would like to hear your ideas too


    dun give up. if these nuts are the scourge, we can only help ourselves...

    i do not believe in giving up without a scrap

  4. Yeah dude. And now with the ETP, the cronies and the politicians have a humungous cookie jar to dig into. Another term with BN and we're all doomed!!

  5. ya JH, my friend. ironic rite, Idris Jialat say a year before the Dr's grand vision, Malaysia go broke

    and you tell me about opposition's empty promises

  6. Tell me what is the point of having 15% of the population have sufficient qualification but some of them unable to secure a suitable job.

  7. anom, where did you get the 15% from?

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