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COMMENT | Remember, those are taxpayers' money

COMMENT | May today allow us the time to evaluate those who are "in charge" of our nation and start to assign them grades for their performance.

Of course, they all have "performed", but with grades from downright "mediocre" to an E or straight F.

It is so disheartening how the responses of the government have been to each and every problem and issue that the people and nation still facing.

First, the confetti-like tossing of RM50 and RM100 notes to the so-called B40, even to people stranded on rooftops during the floods. Are Malaysians being seen merely as groups, clusters and faceless units in society? The As, Bs, Cs, whatever.

Just "assigned groups" via alphabets? Of course, using the ringgit income benchmarks. With no regard for their actual economic, social and health situations, ie their real income status.

Is everything just numbers and quantities to those in government, who presumably are themselves in the topmost income bracket or cluster in "$$$ terms", ie Cluster A+?

What with all the perks that no other governments in the country's history have "showered" upon those who are supposed to work, to serve the people, not dormant somewhere (usually overseas) and being paid using the people's hard-earned money, collected as government revenues.

Please remember that no government in the world has any money of its own. It is all taxpayers' money, levied and charged in its many forms, right down to the farmers.

And now a jihad task force is being set up to look into the inflation issues.

The questions that can be asked are: Why so late in the day to set it up? Why the need for the word “jihad”? To give it the Islamic cover? Will the members wear jubah and recite prayers every meeting?

What utter rubbish is this jihad thing? And why are the country's seasoned economists, from academia, think tanks and the stakeholders from the private sector not involved?

It seems to be an "inbreeding" exercise, all amongst members of the already clearly dysfunctional family.

Please remember that lip service, wayang kulit actions and tokenism in addressing major issues will not get Malaysia out of the predicament of inflation, and possibly even stagflation which is the global concern now.

To successfully face the economic headwinds, as well as address and overcome the contagion effects of the global value and supply chain disruptions, no amount of Arabisation such as jihad of the government's effort will bring the expected results.

Four-day week?

Now the government is mulling a four-day week, three days cuti and four days work.

Does the government have a strong dislike and aversion to having the people being hardworking, productively engaged, working diligently and effectively on each day of the week, whether in the physical workplace or online, working at their level best in their respective endeavours, talking only the necessary, with prescribed off days?

Will schools also observe a four-day week after the surely debilitating effects of learning online with the lost two years plus in the critical delivery of education?

Already so much has been lost, so much catching up to do to stave off a lost generation, so many new developments to grasp, so many blanks to fill. Malaysia is one of the few countries with so many holidays already.

The government should be encouraging students to utilise their present weekends to enhance their knowledge and skills.

It is really ridiculous to have a four-day working week. So much will be left undone, many targets will not be able to be met.

Is the government forging a culture of having more relaxing and endless rest and holidaying than working? Just like the current over-bloated, grossly overpaid and hardly working cabinet.

Already Malaysia has dropped far down in the rankings for competitiveness, it will be heading to rock bottom in no time.

Government and governing are about, amongst other things, really understanding all the issues faced by the people and nation, meticulous planning of measures to address and manage them, proper execution of the plans for effectiveness, continuous evaluation, analysing of impact or mistakes and absolutely no politicking of any kind.

We cannot afford a leisurely "more rest than work" culture. It is the very antithesis of striving for high levels of competitiveness, especially in the global economic sphere.

Maybe we need a mindset jihad amongst our upstairs decision-makers and a bureaucracy that has the wisdom and gumption to advise against any ridiculous suggestion or proposal.

We cannot have an echo chamber civil service, nor that "yes, yes, yes sir" mentality.

May the almighty save our Malaysia.

RAFIDAH AZIZ is a former international trade and industry minister.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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