A Lay Person’s Impression of the Budget: What a Boring Budget!
When you don’t know what to say, you will say a lot. When you don’t see how tomorrow will be, you will do today what you did yesterday, except you will do it more. The part where you did more is not even meaningful. You will just do more to convince yourself that you are not stuck in the past.
FMT came out with a summary of what the budget is all about on the very night that the budget was out. I read the first few paragraphs but found it so tedious and dull that it took a whole lot of energy to give it the minimum amount of attention it required. Feeling that the read was overly taxing my attention without lighting my imagination, I scrolled to the bottom of the page to see how long the article was. It was a long scroll. Seeing that I had a long way to go before I reached the end of the article, I scrolled back to the point in the article that I had read last and started reading faster. I think I almost made it to the middle of the article before I completely gave up. I just couldn’t do it.
The budget was so boring that it scattered my attention and drained my energy faster than I could put it back together or replenish it. The only thing that I remembered from reading half of the article is that around three quarter of the budget is utilized by operating expenditure while only a quarter will be used for development purposes. Other than that, I also remembered that this budget is bigger than Ismail Sabri’s budget, which itself was touted as the most expansive budget that Malaysia has ever come up with.
Thinking that it might perhaps just be me who found the budget dull, because I didn’t understand the subject well enough to see the possibilities and potentials hidden in it, I decided to not come up with any conclusions about the budget, until I heard what the analysts, economists and business community had to say about it. Their report is trickling in today and by the looks of it, their analysis seems to be confirming my initial impression of the budget. Almost all the reports about the budget are giving it a neutral to negative rating. This is indeed a bloody boring budget that terminally lacks imagination.
The only reason this budget is bigger than Ismail Sabri’s budget is probably out of a desire to differentiate itself by scale. When you don’t know what to say, you will say a lot. When you don’t see how tomorrow will be, you will do today what you did yesterday, except you will do it more. The part where you did more is not even meaningful. You will just do more to convince yourself that you are not stuck in the past. In the same way, this budget is most likely just a copy of the previous budgets that is made by people who are still stuck in the past who made this budget bigger than Ismail Sabri’s budget for no other reason than to distinguish it by scale.
If anything, this budget is just confirming my suspicion that this government lacks the imagination to see how things will be. Because it can’t see what will come to pass, it cannot build a pathway towards the future. It simply doesn’t know where to take us , so that when the future manifests itself, we will be in a great position to seize the day. When this government tries to imagine the future, I truly suspect that all it sees is the past. When we ask this government to lead us to the future, I sincerely believe that all it is going to do is take us to a more expansive past.
Eric Hoffer had observed : “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
We are living in a time of great change, yet what we have is a government, which is so “learned” that it is unable to learn and so nostalgic that it is unable to imagine the future.
It is leading us to a world that no longer exists and in a time that has long passed.