Time for a new prescription for the economy

  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020

THE economy continues to rebound. Unemployment in July was 4.6%, down from 4.8% in June and the high of 5.3% in May. Manufacturing also seems to be on a rebound, with sales in July growing by 2.1% from June.

Yet, I continue to hear calls for more stimulus measures. These include for the government to spend more to pump prime the economy, to extend the wage subsidy programme and to extend the moratorium on loan repayments.

These are misguided and misinformed suggestions, given where we are in the economic cycle. Measures like the wage subsidy and loan repayment moratorium are like steroids and painkillers.

They help provide pain relief and jolts of energy. This was essential when the Malaysian economy was rushed into the Emergency Ward when the Covid-19 pandemic triggered the movement control order in March.

The country has since then been discharged from hospital, and it is time for the medications to change.

While the economy as a whole is showing a strong recovery, parts of it are still in pain. A good doctor will therefore change the prescription to suit the patient’s new circumstances.

The prescription would entail more targeted relief, with the medicine localised and the dosage adjusted as need be. At the same time, the doctor might prescribe some medicines and therapies which might be unpleasant but will help promote long-term healing and recovery.

If the doctor maintains the same level of dosage and does not change the prescription to best meet the needs of the patient, the doctor is acting unprofessionally and unethically by harming the patient. If anything, he is only promoting drug addiction.

Like it or not, the country must rid itself of its addiction to debt and government handouts.

JP , Kota Kinabalu

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