Did You Know
Did You Know
Budget 2020 will be tabled today. The rakyat is putting tremendous high hopes for Budget 2020 to propel our economy.
This is a reasonable expectation as 2020 is an important year for Malaysia.
But, it takes two to tango. Apart from asking what can the government do for you, we must also ask what can we do to improve the country’s economy.
Here is my wishlist for Malaysians to do collectively to improve our economy.
Firstly, the government must continue to spend to keep the economy going.
Government spending is crucial in global uncertainties. At this moment, the US-China trade war will continue for the foreseeable future, even for many years to come.
Brexit is another big uncertainty.
Europe and many Asian countries’ economies are already bordering recession, including Malaysia’s neighbouring countries. So, we can be proud that Malaysia’s economy remains very resilient.
The government must spend, but not lavishly. The spending must have the biggest impact on multiplier effects.
The accumulated debt that the current administration is struggling to pay off is due to the lavish spending of the previous administration.
We can see many pieces of evidence of these lavish spending in the on-going 1MDB trial.
Some of these lavish spending cultures still continue until now.
For example, I know of a GLC, which largely relies on government contracts, having their annual dinner in a five-star hotel and invited pop stars.
The GLC has every right to celebrate their staffs and successes. But why not have a moderate dinner then give better bonuses to their staffs?
Secondly, corporate companies. Corporate companies, like their global peers to a certain extent, are cash-rich. They are constantly on the lookout for investment opportunities.
We urge them to invest locally. Our domestic direct investment can do better.
There are currently about one million SMEs in Malaysia, if each SME is willing to invest an extra RM10,000 a month locally, we will create RM120 billion economic activities in a year.
Malaysia is a young growing nation where the population is growing at a healthy rate.
After the structural reforms embarked by the government, it is just a matter of time before the economy grows again.
Companies must also pay Malaysian workers better. Our wages have stagnated for far too long.
Twenty years ago, a fresh graduate was paid about RM2,000 a month. Two decades later, not much has changed.
Malaysian companies must give priority to Malaysian workers.
Our very own universities, TVET institutions and our local education system trained them. They are much better educated and trained than foreign workers. They deserve better pay.
When they get their salaries, they spend locally, so the money then gets back into the local economy.
Thirdly, the rakyat. As much as we would want to ask the government for everything, we must also ask ourselves, what have we done to help improve our economy? We, collectively as the rakyat, can do something.
First, we must increase our productivity.
If each worker increases productivity by 15 minutes a day, we get 65 extra hours of productivity per worker per year. This will help the worker’s organisation’s output and Malaysia’s economy tremendously. Malaysian workers must be willing to work in all sectors. This will help reduce over-reliance on foreign workers.
We, as the rakyat, must also prioritise Malaysian goods.
For example, Malaysians imported RM480 million worth of apples, RM345 million of oranges and RM365 millions of grapes every year. These are an unnecessary outflow of our currency.
Our local tropical fruits are fresh and equally nutritious if not better.
The French Ambassador told me that the French take pride of their local produces. They are willing to pay 15-20 percent extra for local produce because they know the farmers, they are confident of the quality and they take pride in buying French produces.
Malaysia must prioritise Malaysian products too. If we buy more “Made in Malaysia” items, our money stays in Malaysia and it will generate the economy.
I also hope Malaysians who are now planning their next holiday trip to consider vacationing in the country.
Many west Malaysians have never travelled to beautiful Sabah, Sarawak or the east coast of peninsula Malaysia.
These are beautiful places that have fascinated many foreign tourists.
Why not consider travel locally? If more Malaysians do local trips to rural Malaysia, we can create economic activities in these areas and help to improve their livelihood.
There are many more ideas and things we can do collectively as Malaysians to help our country’s economy.
For every ringgit you spend, please think on how to spend wisely and help grow Malaysia’s economy, because it will then help you back too.