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Come have your bucket load of fish

While the debating squabbling and bickering over Budget 2012 begins after today, you may probably noticed that both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat budgets were endorsed by none other than Santa Claus himself. Here’s part of the budget summary I picked up from Malaysian Insider,

The 2012 Budget funds for subsidies totalled RM33.2 billion for 2012…

Najib pledged wage increases for the civil service worth RM2 billion and a RM2.5 billion direct assistance package to poor households and students. This assistance package will also see the government hand out RM500 in cash to households with a monthly income of less than RM3,000, as well as a RM100 cash aid and RM200 in book vouchers for students. The federal opposition had called for RM5.9 billion and RM6.9 billion to be set aside for civil service pay hikes and direct assistance respectively.

Some would call this an “election budget”, a very well known phrase these days, which is fast degenerating into what I call “rebate budgets”, a short-term gratification both sides seemed so willing to indulge in.

To sum up the many reasons I would not lengthily say, I view cash handouts as a sign of failure, or lack of will, to stimulate key mechanisms that would be able to fix the economical and social systems of the country. Why continue to subsidise the petrol burnt away on the streets from traffic jams when one can put in a far lesser amount revamping the public transportation to get more private vehicles off the road? Why hand out cash directly (for some very unwise reasons) when minimum wage structures could have been up and running by now? What kind of arithmetic allows for the increase of civil service wages while the size of civil service remains overbloated? Some reliable sources show the civil service at figures around 1.3 million, or almost 5% of population, the highest in Asia-Pacific and almost 5 times of Japan’s 1.1%.

So instead of giving you worms to go fishing or advice on the best spots to fish, they are chucking to you bucket loads of fish and telling you to have a jolly good time. And, go get yourself the new iPhone.

Now, if you’re feeling nostalgic about rebates or cash handouts, here’s one to go with your tea:

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to be posted on 18 January 2021, 11:52

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