21-Day Countdown to 13GE – The empty drumbeats from Pemandu (Part 1)
The EPT Annual Report for 2012 prepared by PEMANDU and launched by the Prime Minister with great fanfare is nothing more than a public relations effort.
The report has been written and delivered as part of the electioneering effort mounted by a Government that is desperately attempting to convey to a disbelieving electorate a picture of progress and achievements together with promises of attaining the promised land of a High Income country by 2020.
Taken as a whole, the Report is a document that attempts to project illusions, highly massaged selective facts to lull the electorate. The primary objective is to gain a return to power at all costs.
The Report contains glossy charts and graphs and statements that cannot be substantiated.
It fails dismally by not providing a true and candid assessment of the challenges the nation faces because of squandered opportunities for mounting genuine economic reforms particularly needed in view of the uncertainties linked with weaknesses in the global economy that emerged in 2007.
The past failure to act responsibly, it would appear, will continue even as the economy moves towards slower growth, a worsening fiscal situation, a public debt level that has breached the limit of 55 percent if account is taken of the contingent liabilities of the Federal government, double digit growth in household debt, stagnant wage and earning levels, the failure of private investment to respond to the so-called stimulative and incentive measures announced in successive Budgets.
The Report begins by referring to the fact that the ETP goals were to achieve a Gross National Income (GNI) of US$15,000, create 3.3 million jobs and secure US$444 billion in investments by 2020.
It should be recalled that these targets were essentially set at the time when the current Five Year Plan was launched. They were based on optimistic assumptions about the direction of the global economy, the return of robust private sector investment and growth.
The current report takes no serious account of the change in the global environment and its impact on the performance of the Malaysian economy.
The injection of external shocks represented by the recent slowdown in exports, lower net flows of FDI, and an acceleration in illicit capital flows are new developments demanding policy course correction. The economy continues to lose competitiveness and suffers from a brain drain.
All of these issues are swept under the carpet. No course corrections are offered in the Report even as the economy drifts.
What the Report offers are bold assertions based on dubious statistics, selective for the most part, and pie in the sky forecasts for the future.
Little is offered by way of policy analysis and an outline of policies that are needed over the medium term.
In launching the Report, the Prime Minister, predictably offered more of the same accompanied by a promise of distributing more largesse in the form of BR1M.
It would seem “Giver Najib” is now a permanent resident.