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Monday, January 20, 2014

Will ‘kangkungnomics’ help the rakyat?

Selena Tay | January 18, 2014

The Prime Minister must pull the nation back from the brink of disaster.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has recently urged the rakyat not to blame the government for the price hike of goods.

He has also announced that the price of kangkung or water spinach has gone down but he was unhappy that this was overlooked by the people.

Clearly our Prime Minister is now adept in what can be labelled as ‘kangkungnomics’ – the art of saving money in a very small quantity. This is not even microeconomics, it is already microcosm economics, too tiny an amount to be of any consequence.

No importance can be attached to ‘kangkungnomics’ when the price of a tray of 10 ordinary eggs have just gone up by 10 sen from RM3.85 to RM3.95. Eggs of course is more important than kangkung as some people take the former for breakfast daily.

He should concentrate on eggs instead as it is a breakfast staple.

“PM Najib should have focused on fish, meat or all vegetables instead of just kangkung. Then we can have ‘fishnomics’, ‘meatnomics’ or ‘vegenomics’ as a concept,” said Nizar Jamaluddin, the PAS Changkat Jering state assemblyman.

This shows that Najib is off-tangent in regard to the nation’s economy and is not in touch with the pulse of the ordinary rakyat.

However, PAS Pokok Sena MP, Mahfuz Omar has praised Najib for being capable enough to reduce the kangkung price.

“Najib’s performance is in line with his slogan of ‘People First Performance Now’. Congrats to the Prime Minister for executing this brilliant move. We hope to now look forward to reduced prices for meat, fish and all other vegetables as well as dried foodstuffs such as onion and garlic,” said Mahfuz.

He adding that “Najib’s ‘kangkungnomics’ reveal the government to be off-course in charting the economic path for the nation. We will be the world’s laughing stock if he continues listing food items one by one”.

Roundtable talks

Najib should take the initiative to invite the economic experts from Pakatan Rakyat for a roundtable discussion to come up with ideas to solve the nation’s economic woes.

This is the time to put aside political differences for the good of the people.

The Najib Administration should stop dabbling in words such as “Price hikes affect everyone” or “We will see what we can do about it.” All these statements are just a lot of fluff.

The solution is very simple. All Najib needs to do is to reduce the petrol price from RM2.10 back to RM1.90 and the electricity tariff back to the old rate.

Although those prices for goods that have gone up will not be coming down, at least there will be no further increase until April next year when GST (Goods & Services Tax) will be implemented. And the toll charges need not go up as well.

All these ideas are not rocket science. There must be something amiss if the Prime Minister cannot execute these simple measures to halt the price hikes.

This means we can easily deduce that these price hikes can only be due to the government coffers being in an unhealthy state. And that is the reason why subsidies must be reduced – so that the coffers can be replenished in due course.

The government thus cannot deny that they have mismanaged the nation’s economy. They must do something to arrest the state of decline.The Prime Minister must pull the nation back from the brink of disaster.

Telling people to work harder cannot be said to be much of a solution as proposed by a certain NGO. There are only 24 hours in a day and it is not that easy to get a part-time job especially for those who are above the age of 40.

The solution is then to reduce prices. A simple yet effective solution which Najib can implement with immediate effect. He must quit stalling and act now. If the leadership of the nation is dazed and confused, then how are we to move forward?

How are we to become a great nation by year 2020?

Rude awakening

Thus the government must stop treating the opposition as the enemy and start working with Pakatan to build up the nation.

The Prime Minister must stop harping on small things and speak up on the major issues of the day. If he fails to solve the price hikes problem at the root cause, then how are we to move away from the edge of the precipice when the GST is implemented on April 1, 2015?

We are not fools, we can see that the nation is on shaky ground.

For those citizens who are still in deep slumber, they are setting themselves up for a very rude awakening.

“Najib’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has transformed into ‘kangkungnomics’ and we do not need this type of clueless administration,” added Nizar.

Moreover, according to my handbook on Chinese traditional medicine, the kangkung is a ‘windy’ vegetable that can weakens one’s legs if it is taken on a frequent basis.

And seeing that Malaysians have still got a long way to go, it is not advisable to take kangkung frequently because we need strong legs to go far.

Selena Tay is a DAP member and a FMT columnist.

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