The Star Malaysia - StarBiz
Priorities for the new government
A new government and with it will bring new policies and priorities.
When the unity government led by Pakatan
Harapan came into power, it was immediately made know that the first two thrusts of the Pakatan government will be tackling issues related to the cost of living and also corruption.
These are the pressing issues involving the public and the voter base.
The rising cost of living that has been brought about by higher inflation is already pressing on pressure points.
The low income levels and the high prices brought about by fast-paced inflation is causing cost of living issues to be felt acutely.
The minimum wage of RM1,500 a month is insufficient given just how expensive food has become.
Bringing the minimum wage up to level needed to overcome poverty is a step in the right direction.
The second point that was brought into focus was high inflation.
With prices of food especially moving up at a fast pace, the policy that is contained in the government’s manifesto of improving domestic food production is the right call.
With our food bill almost as large as our income receipt from the export of palm oil, promoting the domestic production of food crop would be equally as valuable as growing our plantation cash crop.
But the direct benefit of domestic food production will be the relief it beings to the cost of food.
After all imported food is more expensive that locally-sourced equivalents.
One way to bring down the cost of food is to do away with import permits.
Imported food using such permits can make the cost of food more expensive given the limited number of approved sources of importation.
Plus, the need for such import permits makes the entire process redundant.
Some may say it is another layer of rent seeking.
The final challenge is corruption.
A lot of people feel that the situation with corruption is getting worse.
Our corruption perception index as polled shows that the situation is bad.
Corruption is certainly a destroyer of economies.
It breeds inefficiency and complacency. Furthermore, dipping into the value of any contract would show that the final value to deliver any service or good would have been compromised by corruption.
Figuring out how to eradicate corruption can also stave off the need to raise more taxes.
If savings can be obtained by cancelling corruption, then the need to introduce a goods and services tax or value-added tax can be postponed as government revenue goes a longer way in delivering the public welfare to the citizens of the country.