Housing + monopoly + goods + crime
In the past 4-5 months, I had the opportunity to meet with Malaysia from different economic, social, and political background. The purpose of my travel was to understand the concern and complains of normal Malaysian. Before this, I had read polls and reports from third party sources. Reading polls and fancy reports is all-good but in the end, one has to go out and see for oneself the truth.
Under the premiership of Prime Minister Najib, many excellent initiatives have been put forth to address the economic issue primarily through the ETP (Economic Transformation Plan). However, from my travel, the perception from normal folks was that nothing has changed except the cost of living has gone up.
The normal folks here are not only your makcik-pakcik in Kuala Pilah but include middle-income professionals, graduates, businessperson, Bangsar folks and others. They were neither aware nor do they care about:
a) Our GDP grew 5% last year
b) Liberalisation of various (previously) unproductive sectors
c) Most of Europe are in financial shit but we are expected to get GDP growth of 4.7% this year.
d) The fact that almost 50% of street crime has gone down.
Let us be frank. Only minority of Malaysian care about secondary issues such as having their finger dipped in purple colour dye during election or removing dead person from electoral list or removing ISA.
One of the most frequent complaints I received was on corruption. However, when I enquired further, it all goes back to the economy.
a) Some believe that if they have “clean election” then somehow the price of sugar, durian, chillies, beef, and bananas will be cheaper.
b) Some believe that if they dipped their finger in purple colour dye when voting, the price of houses will go down.
c) Some believe that if we get rid of ISA, somehow someway, the monopoly of ASTRO will end and they will have more money to spent.
So, what do we do? We must be bold and take risk! The following are the 4 things that Malaysian complaints the most:
a) Price of houses
b) Price of goods
c) Monopoly in certain industries
If Prime Minister Najib can solve the above 4 issues or at least create a perception that the above 4 issues are going to be tackle, majority of Malaysian (or at least 78% of Malays) will vote BN in GE13.
From my travel I found that, nobody actually care about the abolishment of ISA. When I asked them:
a) Have ISA + Get rid of tax on foreign cars
b) Get rid of ISA + Have tax on foreign cars
9/10 will answer their choice as A. If you do not believe me, take 10 random Malaysian and asked them. Therefore, the following are some of my suggestions. Some of these suggestion may (they are) irresponsible but what is the use of being responsible but having no power?
a) Price of house
1) Put a limit (say 1-2 properties) on the number of homes foreigners/permanent residents can have at any one time. This can be a policy of 5 or 10 years until the housing price is stabilized. Say to the public that these real estate speculators are public enemy no.1 of our nation just like what we did with the financial speculators in the late 90s.
2) Increase the Real Property Gain Tax (RPGT) for foreigners to 50% (we are not Dubai. We are not an oil rich country and cannot give each of our citizens a house each or subsidized housing). For Malaysian that sells more than X houses in less than X years increase the RPGT to 30%.
3) Inform the public the real scenario (the truth) in the real estate sector. Tell the public that the speculators took advantage of our trust in them to be the catalyst in our nation development. The speculators buy cheap houses, hold it for a couple of years, and then sell or rent it at ridiculous price.
1) The speculators will give financial support to the opposition. There will be many from the government side who are involved with the real estate speculators (given chairmanships or fund political campaigns etc) that will get angry and try to sabotage the effort.
2) Some people like those in REHDA will get very angry. But REHDA and people like them already support (financially and morally) the opposition. Their sons, daughters, in laws, brothers, and sisters have all made up their mind to vote for Pakatan. Their vote is already lost.
3) Honest real estate businessman/woman will also be affected. To them, we can just pray to Allah SWT that they understand why this has to be done.
In the late 90s, we launch an all out war against the financial speculators and we won. We took unexpected decision and we were proven correct. They gave financially, intelligence and moral support to the Opposition but we won. The key is to remain in power with comfortable majority.
1) Get rid of the duty import on foreign cars. Proton is no longer under our control; it is under good hands now. The management at DRB HICOM knows what to do to make PROTON survive. It is time to stand up on our own two feet. PROTON is a national treasure and we should protect it in other ways.
2) Declare to the public that once the agreement between the Government and ASTRO is over (2014), we will not renew it. The ban on parabolic dish under the Broadcasting Act 1988 will be amended or removed. ASTRO is already too powerful and they have so many exclusive licenses with major studios/orgs. I cannot see anyone in the near future able to challenge them at least until ASTRO exclusive license with major studios/orgs ends.
3) Declare to the public that we will no longer give exclusive rights to anyone that wants to bring new technology to this country. We can and should help bringing new technologies but not at the expense of the rakyat.
4) In the past 2 years, we have come out with The Competition Act 2010 and The Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Acts 2010. Since Malaysian have very low expectation on our enforcement agencies enforcing laws, something major need to be announced.
1) Have tough measures on foreign students coming to Malaysia.
a) Restrict or increase the visa fee to foreign students from certain countries (e.g. West Africa and China) to enter Malaysia for X number of years.
b) Applications from foreign students from X countries that are unable to show how they gonna fund themselves during their studies here will be rejected.
2) Allow the public through Rukun Tetangga to do citizen arrest if they see foreigners doing business (e.g. selling at Pasar Ramadhan).
3) Re-instate ISA/OSA. People who are caught under OSA/ISA are not your petty criminals. They are usually mastermind or people who have others work for them. Since we removed ISA/OSA the level
4) Give tax cuts for buying security products so that more Malaysian can secure their home or car with alarm system. We should not subsidize of course since this will make the price goes up.
5) Let us have 1 Taman, 1 RELA guards?