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Yoursay: Trade war or not, the seeds of slowdown already planted

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YOURSAY | 'Instead of planning for our future, we have been politicking all this while.'

Brace for tough times ahead, economist warns M'sians

DSM: Economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram says Malaysians should brace for tough times ahead, as the economy is beset by an intractable external situation, namely the trade war between the United States and China.

But actually, Malaysia deserves the coming economic slowdown. For the last five years, instead of planning for our economic future, we have been politicking all this while.

There were relentless attacks on the then-government by the opposition, and the ruling party then stopped all serious planning for the future and spent most of its time defending the attacks.

And in the meantime, the economy was running on autopilot. So, today we are paying the price for this folly.

And now that both palm oil and crude oil prices have collapsed, we don’t know what to do. But the political squabbling continues unabated.

Vent: That "there has been a lot of nonsense going on in the name of stimulus" is what most of us know already but this won't be heeded when we say it.

So I'm grateful to Jomo for saying it, since he has been reinstated – tacitly at least, for fear of overshadowing the Mahathir-sanctioned economic adviser hangers-on – as the ‘chief economist of Malaysia'.

Malaysian-United: Jomo, we have social and leadership issues to straighten out before we can even get to addressing the economy. And to make matters worse, these issues are closely linked to race and religion.

Plus, look at what’s happening now. Before the country can focus on building the economy and creating jobs, we have this sex video controversy.

Even the person implicated in the scandal cannot focus on the economy, and he’s the economic affairs minister (well, at least in name).

Now people are questioning if he is morally fit for the job. The political temperature is so high now, there is no more energy to expend on the economy. Do you think investors want to set foot in a country with such political turbulence?

Even this is closely knit to race and religion. In this current sex video scandal, we have a Malay economic affairs minister who is implicated. 

Many see his newly-created post as designed to dilute the powers of the Chinese Malaysian finance minister – whom observers claim does not wield ‘real’ power, but is essentially a high-ranking bookkeeper.

Therein lies another dimension to the choice of leadership. You must take into account the race and religion of the office bearer. ‘Real’ power must be in the hands of a Malay.

So, Jomo, it looks like economic matters will take a back seat until the country's ‘real’ leaders get their act together. Until then, expect things to get worse.

Abasir: Two points, Jomo.

1. "The economic slowdown is already happening and is affecting our commodity prices and is not going to change immediately." But our economic affairs minister is somewhat distracted by affairs of his own.

2. "The country now needs to improve in terms of accountability and transparency." That will, in the marmoreal words of the restless prime minister-in-waiting, "spook the Malays".

MN: Abasir, the restless prime minister-in-waiting is also an embodiment of the 3Rs (race, religion and royalty). 

We know what he has done in the past, and ever since getting out of jail, we know him as the kisser of the royal hand that beat him. And forget about his knowledge of the economy, which is questionable at best.

Just a Malaysian: As long as the 3Rs dominate our psyche and politics, Malaysia will forever not be able to climb up. 

We have been surviving on debt for the last 20 years, and the chicken has come home to roost. Venezuela has shown us what can happen.

Anticonmen: We need meritocracy and inclusiveness so that the full potential of the people is realised and can contribute to the well-being of the nation.

Wira: Which portion of the Pakatan Harapan government's policy is against domestic investments?

Easy money to encourage domestic investments? We can't, as Jomo also stated that the BN had been borrowing to stimulate the economy for the past 20 years.

I wonder if we still can keep on increasing debt to stimulate the economy. If it's not too late, try meritocracy. Maybe that will help.

Don’t Just Talk: Sadly, the gullible kampung folk will be told by Umno and PAS that it is the Harapan government that has caused the economic slowdown in the country.

They will blame Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for the financial crisis Malaysia is in, and not the huge debt caused by the former kleptocratic government under Najib Abdul Razak.

Big Data: Things will get worse. There won't be any more money to give out free money. 

There is no space and time to play the race and religion card any more for survival in an increasingly competitive world.

Anonymous_2460731492169523: Easy, they will just blame DAP and the tauke. And take to the street with a big march and accuse the infidels of causing the rotten economy. 

Roger 5201: The honeymoon is over, folks, but it is also time for kleptocrats to cough out what they stole from the rakyat.

Retnam: Great advice, Jomo. But any suggestions on how to brace for tough times? I mean, like a 'do' and 'don't' list?

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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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