BUDGET 2019 – MY CONCERNS – MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE SPEAKS!

BUDGET 2019 – MY CONCERNS – MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE SPEAKS!

If one cares to check each and every year, I ask if part of the introduction of any national budget speech, can include a post mortem of the earlier budget success and failures and why, coupled with how this new budget 2019 will depart from with those experiences, setbacks and now focuses on!

For me there are seven key areas of interest namely:

1. Cost of living issues
2. Health
3. Transport
4. Housing
5. Education
6. Environment
7. Labor

I think these are areas of concerns and one where we need to formulate a plan of action of intervention holistically!
In a nut shell:

1. Cost of Living:

When I say cost of living it includes the end to end process where our focus be on vulnerable and marginalized groups and the distribution networks in the country of all consumer goods and services looking at all direct, indirect and hidden cost and manipulation by cartels, black markets, seepage and departures from public policy!
We must look at the abuse of the subsidies as well and the cultures of hoarding, smuggling across our northern, western and southern borders of price control items.

2. Health:

No one can deny that the standard and service levels of our public health system from time immemorial has been second to none but in the last 20 years we have seen a spiraling down of the quality of service, professionalism and the escalating of costs thanks to race baiting, fascism, racism and politics of supremacy?

In the private sector the costs is mind boggling – period!

Malaysia, despite many political and structural adventures and successes in public health system – has yet to produce a National Healthcare Financing system thanks to politics and cronyism!

The result, we have very vulnerable groups out there seeking medical intervention but we are broke and some of the leadership on who’s our health standards lay are more obsessed in race and religious supremacy war games!

I pray the new government lead will make the necessary changes and not be an apologist instead!

3. Transport:

Will Malaysia have a comprehensive public transport system that looks at the real needs of connectivity and service state to state, within the states, between Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak and our neighbors instead of setting up parcels and handing them to cronies?

Will we move away from multi billion ringgit schemes that serve no one’s except certain politicians in bed with contractors and the contractors lobby!

Will we also look at the stakeholders in this industry, their acts of service, omissions, quality, professionalism and the road carnage on Malaysian highways and roads by the heavy vehicle industry?

4. Housing:

Here, no silver bullet unless all players and stakeholders come together to draft a national housing scheme that has both components of affordability and quality control.

Consumers have to be reasonable here and not idealists!

I have always stated over the last 30 years that if all stakeholders come together and work together we can have a model delivery system may not be the best but reasonable!

And remove abuse and subsidy schemes here for the rich by a means test – period!

5. Education:

One of the most politically abused system in the national calendar that has created today “super graduates” but individuals one cannot hire!

They are not articulate, competent and professional!

They are not exposed to the test of skills, thinking, and challenges and put to growth in a pot of mind-set diversity!

For far too long, we have put them in incubators and advanced silo thinking and as such unless operating in a super subsidized or politically manipulated environment they cannot excel!

Look at our civil servants and service!

Even a former deputy prime minister embarrassed the country when he attempted to speak in English at the UN!

So unless we have a plan of action in setting up an education system of diversity, cross cultural approach, empowerment, to produce candidates with the knowledge, skill sets of being articulate and skillful in addressing a wide range of knowledge issues, skills, and moving forward, equipped to address global challenges of the new economies, marketplace, technological advancements at the current international stage of players with varied backgrounds – we will fall further behind!

6. Environment:

This Eco-system has been raped and abused by shenanigans at both state and national levels.

We have laws but they have been sidestepped manipulated by billion-ringgit interest where we have sold out our morality, accountability, good governance and transparency at the altars of business interests and profits!

And when the nature hits back through landslides, floods, and a climatic system never seen before in Malaysia with the lost of lives, economic loss and destruction, we patronize public anger and interest by setting up phony investigative teams more interested at covers up rather than getting at the truth!

7. Labor:

As an expert on government to government local and foreign labor initiates (G2G), I have deep concern at what I am seeing and hearing of late in this matter, even post GE14!

For far too long this sector has been abused and manipulated by all parties!

And Malaysian long term security and interest will be paying if we do not address change speedily!

Instead of automation, skills and technological transfers we have remained closed by looking at unskilled migration of foreign cheap labor to from third world countries address our labor woes!

We have not addressed a much needed minimum salary wage either in line with the cost of living index!

Our over obsessed dependence of cheap, unskilled labor force from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, India and other source countries aided and abetted by a corrupt regime of stakeholders, politicians, manpower agents have also created a major security problem in the country with if unaddressed will be a ticking time bomb when the economy falters further.

The pressure this puts on the nation for the long term is shocking.

It is time decisions are made rationally and in the best interest of Malaysians not dark policies, agents, conduits, politicians and other vested interests groups!

I pray that there will be monies and professional skill sets invited and set aside by the government, to address all of the above and the invitation to those of us with fresh ideas, not those “recycled idiots and old farts” usually positioned as “independent” but a new group of individuals with a track record of accountability, transparency and ethics having served the community and nation in a pro bono capacity, and lifestyle free of the interest and involvement of industry and corporate Malaysia!