Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Unfortunately and unfairly our new prime minister two weeks ago inherited a premiership saddled with multitude of challenges internally and externally. Like it or not this is the reality of his inheritance from the collapse of the last Pakatan Government.
During the last day of his premiership, Tun Mahathir Mohamad announced RM20 Billion stimulus package to ease the burden of Malaysians to soothe the frustration and the anger of many Malaysians facing stumbling personal economy compound with life threatening pandemic COVID 19.
We are in dire economic strait as the world economy worsens and a long string of other bad news looming above us. New Prime minister in his wisdom and his experienced team adopted the stimulus package. How does his team determine the priorities when carving the stimulus package when all challenges in front of them are without a doubt competing priorities and demanding urgent and effective attention and treatments.
The reality is we also have other black swans needing immediate attention. There is the Pandemic COVID 19 which still shows no sign of abetting the world over. Many investors have sold out or pulled out. We have Trade war which affects us and which sees no end to it yet. We also see oil price plunging to bottom of the barrel and the worse in many decades. Domestically the Federal government is faced with demand from Sarawak to settle the sticking issue of MA63. Many graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to get jobs and those who have jobs may loose them if employers are not able to keep them. In this miserable pot of potential economic melt down we also see the spectre of endless politicking in some states which directly and indirectly also negatively affect Federal government.
In the face of hotels now only getting 6 to 10 nights of occupancy vs 24 or more nights before COVID 19, many restaurants and cinemas are almost empty, sport events and other public events are in danger being shelved or shut down indefinitely.
Supermarkets and retail stores see only trickle of customers. Spending ability drops like nobody business. All these are competing realities which the new government cannot escape from. They have to tackle them all but in which order of priorities? Which challenge or challenges have to be temporarily pushed to the back burner until immediate economic turmoil makes a U turn?
So what does the new government consider to be their priorities among all demanding priorities?
Is it investing resources disarming political rivalries?
Is it utilising public resources in containment strategy of COVID 19?
Is it putting its resources to improve financial rating?
The new Finance Minister, Dato Seri Tengku Zafrul Abd. Aziz, is a recognised leader in corporate Finance but he has no experience in public finance and unfortunately he has no luxury of a learning curve. He has to deliver his worth to the people while on the run. How would he apply the stimulus package? We cannot do anything about COVID 19 or the Oil prices spirally downwards or the trade war but Malaysia can do something about our economy within our boundaries before it turns irreversibly toxic. What would he do to restore Investors confidence? And to us Malaysians what would be his strategy to manage people’s “anger” and “frustration” forced to face an downward economy which can cripple the country if not given the right resuscitation now.