GDP 7.2%: Does it make the wage earner sleep better?

By J. D. Lovrenciear

The Prime Minister has proudly announced that the nation has performed far better than his original prediction of a 6% GDP. Never mind if the neighbouring country that has no water, no soil nor oil climbed 14.5% while Malaysia clocked 7.2% for year ending 2010.

The Honourable Prime Minister has also lashed out at the people of Malaysia for complaining about rising essential food prices. He believes that the rakyat of Malaysia are blaming BN for the fast rising cost of daily living.

Do we celebrate? Do we laugh? Do we cry? Or do we just shut-up and go to sleep?

In the first place how has the lot of the burdened wage earner improved because of a GDP of 7.2%? Is he able to put more or better quality food on the table? Is he able to stop using his credit card to make ends meet? Is he able to fly his family for an overseas holiday?

Or are the large masses of the working population now cutting so many corners in their daily life to ensure that they can meet loan repayments and debt servicing and keep their kids in school/university and without having to even lose the roof over their heads?

What does the local banking sector tell you Mr Prime Minister, about the stalled monthly car loans in the country? What does our local banking circuit tell you about the number of personal loan applications? How about non-performing loans and mortgages owed by the wage earners?

Have you, Honourable Prime Minister, walked the long rows of our pasar malams to ascertain what quality and state of vegetables and fish are being sold today and how people are stinging on their purse strings?

Have you talked to the mamak at the local kedai runcit that dots housing areas all across the nation? Have you not heard them tell you that they are not stocking up on all the pricy food items deemed as luxury items as people are spending very frugally these days?

Have you seen how office workers are eating these days at lunch time and patronising cherry tree teh tarik stalls instead of air-conditioned eateries? Have you counted how many mothers are bringing tapau food from home to save the few ringgit for their kids?

Yes of course no one is saying that BN is to be blamed for the rising world food prices. How can BN be so powerful as to affect global prices, please!!

Yet no one will not say ‘thank you BN’ for subsidizing food prices to the tune of RM14 billion. Why?

Because what the rakyat are saying is:

•         What has BN done to prepare the rakyat well in advance of the world food price increase?
•         What has BN done to cut back on all the lavish and grandiose spending on palatial structures and procurements and instead use that money to build the nation’s resilience against rising food prices?
•         Why is it that a nation without sand, oil and water can clock a GDP of 14.5% when we, with so much of resources and having profited from rising crude oil prices are trumpeting with a mere 7.2%?
•         Palm oil prices went up. Crude oil prices were rising. And Malaysia is a big time exporter of these two commodities. How come that is not helping us to outstrip the Singapore miracle of GDP 14.5%?
•         What is the government doing significantly and transparently to combat corruption so that the money reaches the humble rakyat to battle rising global food price?
•         How are your ministers all living through these hard times? Do you not see a leadership by example deed by way of a massive pay cut and lelongladangs for their penchant as a legitimate sacrifice to raise the national subsidies further? of their luxury cars from their stables and prime parcels of
•         Did we ask you and your government – past and present, to build such spanking building with such heavy borrowings so much so you have to pump the rakyat’s tax money to service all your borrowings today, leaving behind so little to help the rakyat through these globally challenging times?

Hence, how can the BN government get angry with the rakyat for complaining? How can the BN government fault the suffering rakyat for looking in the direction of Egypt for inspiration to needle a way out of their perils? How can the BN government even reprimand anyone for courting the ‘opposition’ parties having exhausted their 50 over years of pinning their trust in BN?

Hopefully Mr Prime Minister you will not respond by telling us that we are far better of than some of the fourth world countries and therefore should be grateful that our nation has performed well with a record 7.2% GDP.