Are we really ready for the crunch?

Continuing the economic trend on my post, last week I had the chance to attend the session that I called “the inquisition”. It was a session with the Treasury where you had to defend your proposed budget for next year. You give your best argument to squeeze as much money as practicable, resort to all sorts of tricks and excuses to ensure you get what you asked for. On the other hand, the treasury guy would do his/her damndest to give you as little money as possible. In between the monetory acrobatics I had an insight of how bad our economy is despite an otherwise rosy picture provide daily by the mainstream media. We are facing a two percent deficit for our operating expenses, a rare situation for our thus far vibrant economy.  We are also facing a twenty billion shortage of income this year. One wonder how the Government can afford to offer all sorts incentives to the rakyat now. Something somewhere had to give to make way for these goodies dished out at various announcements by executives of the Government. Listening to the reports coming from Greek, Spain,Portugal and France, and Europe as whole give me the chill. Krugman wrote that Europe got it all wrong. He said in the face of economic crunch, Government would invariably raise taxes, cut expenses and go on severe austerity drive. He said, this has been done by Greece and Spain  since 2008 crisis and look at where they are now? I am nowhere near an economist nor am I a financial expert to give any worthy opinion on this. But what he said does make sense. I think Mahathir heed his advice and went on devising several economic stimulation packages when we were hit by the recessions in the late 90s. I must say it worked quite well.

On my way back last night I was listening to the phone in session on the BFM. The topic was security in the schools. In the light of the Nayati Shamelin Modliar’s kidnapping, many callers splayed the government for not doing enough to ensure safety of school going children. One Facebook entry said that since 2008, four thousands children have been missing and on the day Nayati was kidnapped, thousands of police were deployed in the City centre guarding the Bersih rally instead of patrolling the neighbourhoods. I think this is all bollocks, how could we say the government is not doing enough when it is paying something like RM800 million a year to pay for the security in the schools throughout the country.  As a society what are doing about it? The kidnappings, abductions, abuses, killings are symptoms of the maladies that pervade the society. We must band together to root out this evil illnesses. There is so much the Government can do, but as a member of the society we must do our part. One caller said it was irresponsible of the media in publishing the fact  that the family paid RM300k ransom to the kidnappers. That will inadvertently encourage or at least prod more crooks to be bolder in the venture.

On a lighter note, a friend told me how he was persuaded into parting RM100 to a couple and two children by the roadside yesterday. Apparently the couple flagged him down saying their child was sick with asthma and they need RM150. Being a charitable man, he whipped out his wallet and handed them RM100. When he drove off he saw the man flagging down another car presumably asking for more money. I was telling him, why did not him take the child to the clinic and pay for the treatment rather than giving them the money. Well, that how generous my friend is, he would go well out of his way to help people even though he himself is in dire straits. If only we have more people like him in this world, we do not need RM800m to employ jaga in  our schools  in the country. Worse still we may need more money to jaga the jaga!

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