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Govt’s ‘failure to launch’ projects

 | March 17, 2012

Does anyone think that the government with so much mismanagement and malpractice can lead the nation to successfully meet the challenges of 2020?

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There are several projects by the government which can already be labelled as “Failure To Launch” under the “Status” column and a few more may be on the way.

Let us take a look at a few of their over-ambitious projects:

1. Civil Service New Remuneration Scheme

2. 68,000 jobs

3. 1Care Health Scheme

4. My 1st Home Loan Scheme

5. Minimum Wage of RM800/RM900

6. Equal Opportunities Commission

7. Vision 2020

The Civil Service New Remuneration Scheme was announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in the Budget presentation on Oct 7, 2011 and launched in the beginning of January this year.

This scheme only managed to survive till early March thus giving it a very short lifespan of only two months before it was cancelled after Cuepacs (the civil service workers’ union) protested. This scheme certainly can go under the category of “Failure To Launch”.

Next is the great dream of job-creation. The PM announced recently that due to healthy foreign investments, there will be 68,000 new jobs. This is indeed encouraging news but one fact that was glossed over is that it is 68,000 new jobs by 2020 and not in 2012!

As for the 1Care Health Scheme, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai has said that it is still in the process or at the blueprint stage despite being pestered for details by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat MPs in Parliament and also outside of Parliament.

Let us hope that more information will be provided by Liow soon. If this scheme is not to the rakyat’s advantage, then hopefully it will be scrapped. A referendum ought to be held pertaining to this scheme. It is unhealthy to just force things onto the nation’s citizens.

However, the one scheme that has hit a major snag is the My 1st Home Loan Scheme with the participating banks reluctant to give loans to those earning below RM3,000 to purchase a house priced at RM400,000 citing these loans as risky and the borrowers may probably end up as defaulters due to the high monthly repayments. Pakatan lawmakers’ doubts on the success of this scheme have now been proven true.

Next on the list is minimum wage. With the loud protests from employers who are industry players, especially the factory owners, it is highly doubtful whether this scheme can be implemented without assistance from the federal government.

Pakatan MPs have proposed that the government assist the employers in the implementation in what is a win-win move for both the employers and the employees. Will the government, especially Najib, cave-in under the pressure of the industry players/factory owners? Let us hope not but instead the government will assist the bosses as proposed by Pakatan.

Replace the BN horse

Number six on the list is as dead as a dodo. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), which was supposed to be part of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), has died a silent death due to pressure from certain NGOs. Nevermind, it was too much to hope for from the government anyway.

Last on the list is Vision 2020 wherein Malaysia’s target is to become a high-income industrialised nation in eight years time. Everyone looks forward to this as it will mean a better standard of living for one and all. But is this a Utopian dream?

Sadly, however, it seems that Najib is only interested in creating an elite group of billionaires and the low-income factory workers can only look at Vision 2020 as “the great Malaysian dream”.

As to whether this dream will be actualised or not, it is anyone’s guess but logically it certainly looks impossible for a factory worker who is earning RM600 or RM650 per month at this point in time to be earning RM4,000 by 2020.

The low-income earner’s wages have been stuck at the bottom level since the dawn of time. Even if he achieves the target of earning RM4,000 by 2020, the cost of living would have gone up in leaps and bounds by that time and the new benchmark may be RM10,000 and thus he will forever be chasing the elusive dream.

Be that as it may, it cannot be denied that from 1957 to now, the government has brought some development to the nation.

However, many have also been left behind and thus Malaysia has one of the worst income gap in Asia. This is a well known fact. And that is why Pakatan has set RM1,100 as the minimum wage in a bid to reduce the income gap while the Selangor state government has already set RM1,500 as the minimum wage while in Penang it is RM1,300.

From the looks of things, the government’s good intentions are having difficulty in materialising. This is when we look back at 1990 and thought that 2020 is still a long way to go but now it is only eight years away and there are many who think that perhaps Vision 2020 will only benefit a selected few.

Does anyone think that the government with so much mismanagement and malpractice can lead the nation to successfully meet the challenges of 2020? Will this BN project end up as “Failure to launch, mission aborted?” in the “Status” column?

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.


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