Letters to the editor


  • Business
  • Saturday, 04 Jul 2009

I refer to the article “Reality check on economic models” by Tan Sri Dr Lin See-Yan as he brought up ideas by Hyman Minsky.

In his Financial Instability Hypothesis (FIH), Hyman Minsky essentially puts forward the idea that financial systems are inherently unstable.

They tend to end in crises with excessive speculation aided by the so-called merchants of debts i.e. bankers, brokers or dealers. His prescription: government regulations and central bank intervention.

Minsky’s hypothesis helped us understand the current financial crisis and what needs to be done. Apt regulations on the financial systems are clearly called for and government authorities should have heeded his advice and warning long time ago.

I am not an economist or a public policy expert. However, my concern now is that could countries run the risk of over-government regulation and excessive government intervention in the economy? What then will happen to the global economic growth? I think this is the conundrum facing policymakers now!

Poy Ching,

Kuala Lumpur

In Anita Gabriel’s comment, “Can it work?” she is right when she said the state is currently facing a logjam – there is no clear plan on how to bring prosperity to the people or how best to use the oil royalties.

Obviously, you need a plan, not a grand plan, but a solid and preferably a plan tested elsewhere, to turn the state around. A plan that cuts across the political divide. A plan of participation, where the poor local kids are schooled, trained and systematically channelled into the oil and gas industry.

A rags-to-riches plan of the same type that has been successfully implemented in similar oil and gas countries like Norway, Scotland or the United Arab Emirates. Can our current political situation allow for that?

Is TIA the answer to this predicament that has hung over Terengganu for decades? Or is this another scheme to channel the funds to support the so-called oil and gas companies that are owned by so and so?

TIA is also wholly owned by MB Inc, a state-owned corporation with a trail of failures, losses and bad management.

The borrowing via a Government Bond that guarantees 5.5% to 6% returns will be hard to swallow.

How is TIA going to utilise this fund, put a management on top with all its costs and generate sufficient returns not only to the bondholders (who are guaranteed by the government) but create profits for the future?

It needs to make a return of at least 20%, if not more, per year to ensure success. And what investment are they talking about here? Tourism? Did I hear that right?

TIA also wants to pursue a developmental agenda, a sustainable one that will guarantee prosperity and well being of its people.

Two very conflicting objectives, if you ask me. Do carmakers make money from “green” cars?

Rosli Khan

Dubai

I’m writing in response to comments by Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, Chief Secretary to the Government.

The question: Why do you think people are not applying? Is it because the non-Malays believe their prospects will not be so good?

Your answer: When I joined the civil service in 1974, I had 10 Malay housemates. Some of us had received degrees with honours, but none of us had first-class or second-class upper honours. I got second-class lower.

Some of my housemates got general degrees and couldn’t joined the government. So, the best Malay brains joined the government. Those who got general degrees joined the banks and the MNCs (multinational corporations). My Chinese friends who had done well (in university), joined their fathers’ companies or the MNCs, or started their own businesses. The not-so-clever ones joined the government. So when there are so many Malays in the civil service – and the best ones at that – who joined the government, who gets promoted? The brainy Malays, of course.

I’d like to respond that you have insulted many non-Malays who have retired or are still working with the civil service.

Now you see how an answer to a simple question can be exploited to a full blown sensitive issue. I’m truly saddened by your insensitivity.

In addressing the issue of few non-Malays joining the civil service nowadays, you must admit that the lack of career advancement is a major problem or misperception that has to be tackled.

I appreciate your continuous efforts to improve the civil service but always remember misconstrued statements can at times prove fatal to the Government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the public service delivery.

Gan P.Y, Kajang

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