A simpler term for it is bribery

By  Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz, FMT

The 2012 Budget was indeed the most unique. Never before has a budget been turned into a huge CDM – cash dispensing machine.

Money in our hands is a welcome relief and pain remover; but it’s not a responsible way of managing a country’s budget.

Personally speaking, this is the most irresponsible budget that I have ever heard.

The capital market is mentioned only in passing as though some phone calls were made to leading bankers in Malaysia to give some inputs on the capital market.

Hence, just a cursory almost textbook mention that our ratio is strong and better than the world average.

So? How does that translate into accessibility of the small medium enterprises (SMEs) to the capital market? How do we ease imports of capital goods into the country to build capacity?

Isn’t the theme of this budget “transformation”?

Finance Minister-cum-Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s budget for 2012 is RM232 billion. Of this, RM180 billion will be spent as opex (operating expenses).

That’s money to be spent on operating the economy – paying salaries, servicing existing loans and so on.

Can that be the transformative ingredient?

Entrenching the rent-seeking mentality

Now, as I understand it, to transform an economy, we must have capacity.

We all know we need to spend on building capacity, capabilities, skills and technology. But these now are uncertain given that even allocation for education is being reduced.

We are simply held back from transforming because we hold back on building capacity and capabilities.

We are preaching that in this world, we DO have free lunches.

We are entrenching the rent-seeking mentality which is that things can be had for free and without efforts, as long as we install a benevolent, despotic and overbearing government.

Ignore their bullying; ignore their excesses.

Because what is important is that impoverished people can be made a happy and contented lot once a year when the budget is announced.

Let people think that budget time is when the giant ATM machine is taken out.