Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Shahrir the Market Alarmist

At this moment, Shahrir Samad understandably is in the most unenviable position in the country, more than the Prime Minister. While one should sympathsie with Shahrir, he seems to be in the habit of shooting his mouth and causing endless panic.

The manner he is handling the situation of rising prices is noticably amateurish that it begs the question: Does he understand economics?

Poor Handling of Prices

The lackadaisical manner in handling of rising prices during the first term of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has made the position of Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affair a challenging post.

In the beginning, Abdullah was stubborn to not heed the warning by Dr Mahathir to strengthen the Ringgit to 3.60 from 3.80. Instead he did the stupid thing of succumbing to IMF to float the Ringgit, thus reducing one useful tool in managing the non production side of the economy.

Then came the denial bit where he rather speak of orang kampung benefitting from the rising commodity prices than bothering about the poor economic growth, rising price and non reflective CPI figures.

Just few months before the General Election, beleive dduring budget time, Abdullah sounded off alarm about rising cost of subsidy.

In the last oil hike, Government raise oil prices in an abrupt and big rise of 30 sen to the usual 5 sen or 10 sen that it stunt and nearly crippled certain industries.

Does he understand then that there was a boom in the global commodity cycle? While some producers benefit, consumer and Government suffer. That ignorance and denial caused BN the General Election and not judiciary, ACA or police issues.

Mouthful of Blunder

After General Election, that role is now given to Dato Shahrir, a veteran politician, who is vocal and eloquent when speaking in interviews and with the press. He was recently found out to be very quiet in closed meetings.

On two instances, Shahrir who graduated in Economics, is not convincing in his ability of understanding the micro-issues and made irresponsible remarks that caused panic in the market.

The first instance came about, if I can recall is about the time Tun made his speech in Kajang. Shahrir made a remark that we are facing a food shortage, specifically rice. This caused quite an alarm which saw rice prices practically double.

He reacted by saying the Government will ensure availability and develop rice stockpile fro food security.

Sources from Bernas revealed that there are sufficient rice in the country and the shortage announced by Shahrir is not true. The Chinese rice miller were holding back from milling padi by legally stocking up on padi.

These talk of food security is nothing more than a publci relation exercsie to justify the issue of another rice import license.

The second instance is the present comment in the midst of flip flop by the Prime Minister on his position on a different oil price for foreigners. Noticably he reverse the position for differential pricing for Singaporeans in Johor.

His remark that price will probably be hicked in August will only cause panic in the market. Prices rise from anticipation will be felt in all goods and services immediately adn exercebate the inflationary pressure. Contracts will be renegotiated and end product cost will rise based on this anticipation before the actual price rise.

If it is not handled well, inflationary pressure from anticipation will continue after the actual price hike.

Inflation Simplified

Basic economics tells that prices are determined by the intersection of supply and demand curve. Inflation is casued by the shifting of the curve by either of two process - demand pull or supply push. Then there is the speculative and anticipation factor.

Shahrir remarks on two occasion has actually alert this alarm bell. With producers and suppliers quite aware of the international market price, it only takes a public remark to provide the excuse to raise prices.

Price rise announcment could have been done as surprise to avoid the anticipation of the market. In order to do that, systems, processes and procedures are already well thought out and in place for execution.

At times, talking and discussion can soften the blow. The various parties involved - consumers groups, producers, suppliers, raw material producers, etc - are invited for a discusion to seek the most amicable solution with the least of surprise.

But not in the current manner to announce a policy to stop selling at subsidised price to foreigner and then reverse it within days. The last a Government should do is lose public and business community confidence. Noticably the reversal involves Singaporean vehicles in Johor Baru as though we are pleasing the Singaporeans.


Now it is crstal that this Tiung can aptly be described in colloquil Malay as actually "cakap saja banyak, kerja tak tahu". Is his ability negated by the dictation from a bunch of wet beind their ears kids?

These kids are pro-total free market and no interventionist policies that is in contravention with our political economic priority to maintain stable prices.

One wonder what has happenned to Shahrir, used to be one bright star in politics. Is there anyone competent in Abdullah's cabinet now? Or is it a case of every capable politician or professional turn half past six when working for Abdullah?

The apologist will say kasi can and blame the past without realising how much destruction Abdullah's incompetence is ruining this country and it is really his poor or lack of management ability that is the core problem.


Anonymous said...

So what are you implying voice? Sack the current PM and get a new one? Who's next in line I wonder.... Hmm. I'm still shuddering at the thought.

A Voice said...

I am surpise you did not shudder at Abdullah's prmiership. He is the most incompetent ever that ever sat in that chair and a security and sovereignty threat to this country .

Anyone - Najib, Ku Li, Muhyiddin, Rais ... with exception of th elikes of Syed Hamid, Ali Rastam, Nazri, Zahid Hamidi, ... etc

Anonymous said...

a voice, you seem to have something against abdullah. maybe you preferred to be tied in chains and have your freedom oppressed during tun M's time? or maybe you'd like the murderer of altantuya as your leader. oh, how about a chameleon leader who goes by the name of anwar, whose stances changes as quick as lightning travels?

perhaps you'd like to elaborate a little more on what you meant by 'incompetent'. at least he attempted democracy.

Anonymous said...

is it true that those wet behind the ears kids pro-free market?

makes me shudder--- esp after reading "The Schock Doctrine" by Naomi Kline

A Voice said...

Mick - I am sure you understand what is the meaning of incompetent. By asking me to define incompetent, you are merely trying to debate by taking a denial stance and back tracking the argument.

Go read up in this blog and many other blogs. I won't waste my time.

Ask every other Malaysians. Has Abdullah made our lives any better since 2004 when he replaced Mahathir? Can we stand proud as a nation now?

Is the state of democracy, judiciary and corruption much better under Abdullah? I can list you all the offenses in the past four years. Remember indellible ink?

Why did he embark on it only 2008, and not in 2004? Is he really doing reform?

Is dinner for Salleh Abas a real resolution to the claimed rut in the judiciary? Is Royal Commission really empowered to seek justice or merely a media show to smear someone?

Do you understand that the Judicial Commission and "Corruption Commission" are mere diversion to what actually added bureaucrasy but Abdullah still hold the ultimate power?

As far as I see, his four year overdue and yet not really a reform reform, could not deny his incompetence.

To use the these points to show Abdullah is a shallow argument, the ones who really is concern for the courts and imprisonment are those criminal or crime inclinated. 99.__% of the people are not lawbreakers.

I challenge you Mick to proof BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT and not mere speculation based on bits and pieces of findings. Even If Najib had fuck Altantunya, it doesn't mean that he murdered her. Not that I am a great fan of Najib.

I repeat, anyone is better than Abdullah. Only idiots wud call him as competent.

SO kiddo, cut this denial crap.

Anonymous said...

abOLLAH is the most stupid PM Malaysia ever had. you can't deny the good things Tun have done to every Malaysian and that makes us proud to be malaysian. but now malaysia is just moving back to become 3rd world country by having aBODOLAH who is totally incompetent to manage the country. those who supoprt ABODOLlah is just trying to please him and they only think about themselves and greedy

Anonymous said...

phew, got that Mick?

i rather sympathy on u, mick. u seem to have something against mahathir. has he ever chain u? i hope not. because if he did that to u, it means u are really - really bad.

and ah..taking cheapshot on najib also would end up u being chain and thrown into jail. now. u want me to call the police now?

i dont talk about anwar.

it depends on whatsort people u are if u to touch on democary subject. if u are a lazy and do nothing to improve ur condition, u will say freedom of speech and democracy mean u can go to the streets with numbers and demand everything.

and if u are after wealth and only concern about being rich, u would say democracy is all about open market and abolishment of whatever right accorded by the Constitution.

and if u are sort of person who like to deceive people for supports, your term of democracy is to speak lies and lodge stupid police reports so that u will look good.

but the real democracy in multiracial country like malaysia is that, a good firm leader is needed and the current one is too soft for that.

some people say, under mahathir, were were 3-4 steps behind singapore. but under the current one, we are 50 steps behind.

or more?

eddy said...

Saudara, very insightful writing from you. I am from JB and I agree that Shahrir has a big mouth and he is as far as I am concern all talk and no action and since he joined the cabinet his shortcomings are amplified.

BETUL our lives is not any better since 2004 when Dollah took over with all his hogwash about transparency and what nots. Under Mahathir's so called"iron rule" our nation had confidence, we prosper and we stand proud. Under Dollah "democratic, non oppressive, transparent rule" we are even afraid to build a bridge within our own boundaries and even afraid to impose new fuel prices on the Singaporeans.

I agree that Abdullah's so called reform after the election serves to strenghthen him in power NOT UMNO/BN besides also trying to destroy and/or tarnish the legacy of Tun Mahathir's prime ministership. Between the two I would rather live under Mahathir's "oppressive rule" anytime and can't wait for Dollah to be replaced by anybody as this anybody could not ruin this country more than what Dollah has done now.

Anonymous said...

Dato Rejal Arbee wrote in his article, "Subsidised petrol and the Singapore PR" and MyKMU the following:

Ever since the government’s decision to ban sale of subsidised petrol to foreign registered cars there have been numerous complaints by Singapore permanent residents but domiciled in Johor Bahru and using Singapore registered cars that they are being discriminated against.

These people work in Singapore and earn Sing dollars use Sing registered cars and so don’t pay our road tax but enjoy our facilities. I wonder whether they also pay income tax here? If my guess is right fat hope that they will pay their income tax here since they will say that they are already paying tax in the republic where they work.

Isn’t it ironic that they are deemed by the republic to be its permanent residents, yet they are not residents there but stay in JB where they not only enjoy lower cost for a house or house rental.

On top of this they also enjoy subsidised cooking gas, cooking oil, beras, flour, sugar and many other food items and subsidised goods. Why should these foreigners enjoy these subsidies and yet don’t even pay tax here.

They have no loyalty to this country and I am sure if you talk to them they will find all kinds of faults with this country and will praise the republic sky high.

And now when they are being denied just one subsidised item they are making all sorts of noise. ...

This Shahrir must be a real stupid tiung to not be able to see that.

Rightly, cakap saja banyak, kerja tak tahu apa.

Anonymous said...

a voice, i notice your way of writing is to have this "i'm correct" and every one else is wrong. Just my observation.

SHuddering at the thought of abdullah's reign is understated. I shudder at the attitude of the normal people like you and me who feel so strongly for something, yet not allowing or at least encouraging other people to voice out their side of the story. There are always two sides of the coin, so why not have and open mind and be a little democratic when stating your say?

Just a friendly advance to more open minds. Please do not bash me for this, I do not want to provoke anything from you, but i'm saying what i feel would make your blog a better place for discussion.


A Voice said...

Daniel - Tks for yr comment.

If I didn't appreciate that there are two sides of a coin, I wud have not allowed comments. Honestly, not only I allowed comments but almost all comments are released.

Since you appreciate there are two sides of a coin, wud it not fair that I excercise my right to reply?

Each other can contineu to reply and reply and reply ...

Perhasp you are not comfortable with my frank reply. Maybe we cud try not to make comment without the slightest provocation.

But ... ahhh ... thats not fun. SO lets not take to heart whatever commenst and views expressed lah.

But many a times I would just keep my keyboard shut.

So, daniel lets not waste time talking about how we express our views but expressing our views with contents.

I bet we each believe in the maxim "agree to disagree". :)

Anonymous said...

bulan ogos katanya????.. kenapa laa dorang ni.. semalam kata ogos.. tgh malam ni dah naik dah

Bung Karno said...

Paklah good at lying to rakyat.
Just like when he dissolved parliment. First deny, then dissolve.

Kata bulan Ogos, esok harga minyak dah naik. 40%. Cekik darah.

Anonymous said...

nampaknya pak lah tertido lebih malam sebelumnya. dia terjaga, dia sangka dah bulan ogos. teruslah dia umum minyak naik 40%. orang sekeliling dia pun tak sangka dia nak umum macam tu, langsung terpinga-pinga dan terus bawak kereta ke stesen minyak sebelum 12 malam. pukul 12 malam tu, pak lah dah tido semula, bukan dia tau pun kereta beratur panjang kat stesen minyak.

yang ketaranya, lazimnya, apabila keadaan ekonomi meruncing dan merunsing, akan terdapat pendekatan berjimat cermat dari pihak kerajaan sendiri, termasuk dengan pemotongan elaun menteri dan sebagainya. bukanlah maknanya gaji mereka yang dikurangkan itu dapat menampung masalah ekonomi, tetapi sebagai simbolik bahawa mereka bersama berkongsi masalah dengan orang kebanyakan, para pengundi. kerajaan pak lah dan berkali-kali menaikkan harga barangan tetapi tidak pernah sekali pun umum pemotongan atau pengurangan elaun menteri dan seumpamanya. nampak sangat mereka tidak kisah dan tidak ada rasa untuk menunjukkan bahawa mereka benar-benar mahu berkongsi duka bersama kita, melainkan hanya melalui permainan kata-kata.

Umno bersidang di Shah Alam hari ini dan besok, mesti MT tak berani nak cakap banyak sebab Mike Tyson yang jadi tuan rumah. silap cakap, kena tinju dengan dia pulak nanti. lebam pulak bijik mata, kena masuk PKR....

Anonymous said...

:) taken voice. that's more like it. Friends? :P

awwww........ dont have to be so sentimental rite.

So anywho, what now about petrol hike. i guess shall reserve it for your next topic

Anonymous said...

The People Now Are Poor since Pak Lah become the New PM and they need support not burden...

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