Saturday, May 04, 2013

Malaysia's hotly contested elections....

In order to win the Malaysian elections, both the ruling party and opposition have resorted to highly populist manifestos to win the votes.

Here's a Malaysian opposition candidate promising the people free education all the way to university, cheap patrol, money for those over 60 and many other goodies.


Najib himself had already implemented free outpatient healthcare for the elderly, free health screening and welfare programs for the poor. To get re-elected, it was reported he had to 'copy' parts of the opposition manifesto so that he would not lose out in the 'goodies for votes' game.

All this highlight one often mentioned problem with democracy. In order to get elected, politicians make all sorts of promises that cost the country billions. Once they start handing out goodies, the country start to have budget deficits, borrow from international lenders and end up like Greece and Spain. This however is just one side of the story - that dire outcomes are linked to giving too much to the people is just one interpretation of the story...convenient interpretation for those who are against social safety nets. Spain's problems are caused by the govt bailing out banks after its property bubble not welfare. Greece's problem is messier - it ran a bloated govt sector and the govt cheated on the budget accounting with the help of Goldman Sachs.

So what is going to happen to Malaysia if the opposition wins and start its free education program. Will it go bust? According to the politician in the video,  under the steady hand of the opposition, the state of Penang tripled the reserves in 5 years by running the place more efficiently and getting rid of corruption....all of the opposition controlled states have healthy finances.

In Singapore, for some reason, Singaporeans think of free education as a bad idea. But free education has existed in many countries like Germany for a very long time. Without going through the maths, we have been led to believe that something given out free is just not sustainable and will strain the govt finances. The strange thing about Singapore is the govt happily provide free university education through scholarships to many foreigners but insists on reducing the subsidy for own citizens by hiking tuition fees every few years.

But lets go through the maths to see how much is needed to make university education completely free in Singapore. Every year about 30% of a cohort enter university - roughly 12,000 students. On average they pay something like $8K in tuition fees [Link]and each university course is 3-4 years. So making university education completely free will cost the govt roughly 12,000 x 8000 x 3,5 = $336M more in its budget. The total amount is about 2-3% of our defense budget or 0.6% of our total budget. To put things in perspective the 2012 increase in defense budget was by $504M [Link]to $12.24B - there is no urgency to increase our defense budget which is already far in excess of what is needed to defend Singapore but they chose to do it over something else for the citizens. What I'm getting at is the issue of free university education has little to do with financial prudence and more to do with ideology - they refuse to do it not because the money is not there but they prefer to do something else with the money.

The Malaysian stoy is far more complex and intriguing. Under the Najib administration, Malaysia has a debt to GDP of 52% - making it the most indebted nation in South East Asia. All these promises the opposition has made to the people on the surface appear to be populist and designed to win votes. However, there is another dimension to this. The spending is only possible if they can get rid of corruption and unlock the billions lost in govt contracts and crony capitalism. In other words, the promises made can only be fulfilled if the opposition runs a clean govt and stay away from practices that has hindered progress in Malaysia.

Here is Anwar explaining his vision with great clarity and charisma.



For Malaysians it a choice between maintaining the status quo which they are familiar with or taking a chance with a new govt. The power structure in the ruling party makes it hard to rid itself of corruption because corruption ad cronyism has become entrenched. Taking a chance with the PR coalition involve risking your future with an new govt without experience. The opposition has chalked up a decent track record in 5 states that they won in the 2008 elections and shown that they can get things done. For the Malaysia voter, the only way ahead and the only way to get real progress is to dismantle the existing power structure which is riddled with corruption ...but that cannot be done without taking some risk with a new govt....

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Malaysian opposition is much stronger than the Singapore opposition.

And the Malaysian opposition has only 3 parties, DAP, PKR and PAS. And all can win seats with more than 1/3 majority and also control state governments.

In contrast, the Singapore opposition is not only weaker, but also has so many parties, WP, SDP, NSP, SPP, RP, DPP, SF, SJP etc etc.

And only WP can win seats in elections. And won only 7% of the seats!

That's why there is much less risk changing government in Malaysia than in Singapore.

And the smart 60% Sinkies who voted PAP, including some unhappy with PAP, knows this.

Anonymous said...

Malaysia is so big and diverse. Even just KL and its suburbs alone is as big and as populated as Singapore.

Singapore is so small and also quite homogeneous. Everywhere HDB flats but no kampong.

Yet the Malaysian opposition is so much stronger than the Singapore opposition.

Something is seriously wrong with Singapore opposition, or rather politics, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

University education should not be free because
(1) Not every student makes it or want to make it to university.
(2) The higher education is a personal investment which in most cases is recouped by higher paying jobs.

IMO the money can be better spent elsewhere.

Ah Kong said...

Spore learn from Msia

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify on the Malaysian govt debt that has been widely exaggerated.

A Malaysian economist blogger has helped to explain the 52% debt.
http://econsmalaysia.blogspot.com.au/p/faq-on-malaysian-government-debt.html
The debt is mostly domestic, Malaysia onky owes foreigners RM17 billion only.

The 55% target is an internal target and not like the US where it is set by congress. For a country that gets ill credited, the govt have good fiscak discipline, they actually plan how much they spend every year in its five year plan economic cycle.

Meanwhile Australia overspent 12 billiob dollads becwuse they thought the mining boom would bri gin more dough this year, it didnt.

Credits due, the Malaysian govt has an efficient economy with many untapped potential.

Najib Razak has its Economic Tranformation Plan on how to improve Malaysia in 51 national economic areas..what that is includes education, dismantling red tape including combatting corruption.

Yes, im a Barisan nasional suppiorter, why, becaause Barisan Nasional Najib Razak has a good plan and Id like to make Najib be accountable to it, if not bye bye in PRU14.

As for the opposition, their populist manifesti is bizarre and and while their aspirations are emotionally charged to topple Bn,in the end,do you expect an islamist party, a Chinese dominated Secular Party and a Party by a former BN Deputy PM can lead?we will find out if they do get the chance.

Anonymous said...

Bro,

I think you missed out on our Government's indebtness in a BIG GRAND WAY and went across cause-way.

Our debt as a percentage of GDP stands at 97.9% or more, depending on which article you want to base your faith upon !

Only concerning point is that this money came out of our CPF (aka. Central Ponzi Fund) and when the cows go home, they leave with our money........

Allah praises 60.1% who voted these morons in white to create the paradise on this miserable planet.....

Anonymous said...

@anon 4/5/13 20:55,

Grow some brains before you comment again and embarrass yourself and your family further.

Meanwhile, go get a really big cactus and stick it up your parents' asses for bringing up an useless dumbass like you!

@anon 4/5/13 20:34,

As proven in the several past GEs, PAP's votes continue to go down and you can bet both your ma's and grandma's underwears fewer than 60% will vote PAP in 2016, tio bo?

2001: 75%-25%

2006: 67%-33%

2011: 60%-40%

2016: ???


.

Anonymous said...

If there is money and power, there will be corruption and cronyism.

And which country there is no existence of money and power?

It is just a matter of form, substance and magnitude.

And in some places, it is even legitimised! Meaning legally OK but morally wrong and as long as the government don't get voted out.



Anonymous said...

News from Malaysia:

http://www.malaysiakini.com/

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/

http://www.mysinchew.com/

http://mybaru1.blogspot.sg/

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/05/20135316321571755.html

Anonymous said...

Come on what is 52% debt. Singapore is double that. Lucky, how could you miss the RED DOT? LOL

Anonymous said...

With a highly educated citizens they (pap) will face highly educated oppositions during election. History has proven this is true. They know!

Anonymous said...

you are wrong: singapore debt to GDP is more than 100%.

The issue is the returns from TH/GIC is false for the past 20 years. if it was true, singapore balancesheet should be much bigger.

Lye Khuen Way said...

Coming back to S'pore, our "coverment" has all along held the beliefs that University education must be restricted, calibrated and freebies are no-no.
If we have extra money, giving help to the aged, sick must be calibrated via mean testing and various hurdles.

Of course, I for one am now more worried, when evidently we have year after year of budget surpluses in tens of billions by IMF standard but our CPF drawdown age seem to shift later.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, goog post. I never realized that it cost relatively little for free uni education here. It breaks my heart to hear cases of fresh graduates earning pathetic pay to pay off their loans when started then face the big vacuum cleaner of hdb for next 30 years

Anonymous said...

Free uni education or not, I think it is not so much an issue of money for the government.

It is more a matter of who the government thinks better deserve the money in order to get better returns. Foreign talents or ordinary Sinkies?

This is the reason why government give lots of scholarships to foreigners instead of Sinkies.

Simply because the government thinks Sinkies, including those who serve NS, don't deserve the money because the returns are not as good as compared to foreign talents.

It is like investment or buying a product. You want to get the best return or value for the money.

Even if it is taxpayers, Sinkies, or other people's money, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

Worker party has shown that they are capable to manage GRC, even if they are outsourcing it to agents like PAP.

Anonymous said...

You mean the good returns of having those foreign scholars call us dogs after sponsoring their education here?

Anonymous said...

Many foreigners come here take study grants with condition that they work here for three years. In a way, we are sponsoring them and landlords and business owners are reaping the returns in the expense of local graduates who have to settle for lower pay to compete with them. This is a devious scheme by PAP govt.

Anonymous said...

It is true lah, it is at the expense of the ordinary Sinkies who lose out, and sometimes lose out a lot, especially those who served NS.

So blame themselves for being ordinary and not talented lah, unlike the Keechiu Chan who is talented to win scholarships and also become minister.

But even if they lose out, unhappy or even vote opposition, their numbers are only 40% and less in 2011.

So why should 2016 be any different?

So PAP can continue to make them lose out some more lah.

If I were PAP, I would have done the same also.

Anonymous said...

Anwar is very charismatic like Obama. I wish our leader can be like that rather then looking like a businessman or senior corporate executive

Anonymous said...

Pakatan in Putrajaya: Taib, Dr M in dock?

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/05/05/pakatan-in-putrajaya-taib-dr-m-in-dock/

Anonymous said...

Countries do not go bankrupt because of welfare but rather senseless spending by the gov into projects owned by their cronies.

Singpeople so kia-si and kia-su and will not vote opposition to jeopardise their ability to pay their high housing mortgages. They will continue to be screwed by the ruling party over and over again.

Anonymous said...

So long as those negatively affected by ruling party policies stayed below 49%, there will not be any major changes in the government. Expect more screwing.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the PAP or BN are truly anti-freebies. They give themselves lots and lots of freebies, big salaries, full-CPF plus pensions (until it became too indefensible). Painting the PAP vs Alternative Parties as right vs left is incorrect. The PAP is far from being "right" like the GoP, it believes in big government (unlike the tea party and Reaganomics). While it is pro-business and gives generous tax cuts to companies and the rich and believes in a regressive GST tax, it is pro-immigration and ant-Singaporeans (except their own cronies). One can go on and on on incoherence in PAP's policies. It is not necessary to box PAP into an anti-freebies right wing party, just like Suharto and Mahathir do not fit into any political ideology except one: pro-cronysim.

Anonymous said...

Stupid people deserve to be led to the slaughter house. No wonder the cow said...you don't need a degree because with one...you are as stupid or even stupider

Anonymous said...

I'm voting Opposition.
What do I have to lose?

My job?
Already lost to Foreign Talent.

My National Service obligations?
I gladly will like to lose it to the Foreign talents.

My "subsidized" HDB flat?
But the HDB flat already belongs to HDB. It never belonged to me in the first place.

My first class public transport system?
But how much worse can it get under an Opposition gahmen?

My CPF money?
I've never been able to touch any in the first place.

My Singapore Reserves?
Isn't that already invested in loss making foreign banks?

So fellow Singaporeans.
What do I lose by voting Opposition in GE 2016?

Anonymous said...

But not in defence

Anonymous said...

You don't want a leader like Anwar. Trust me.

Anonymous said...

Lucky,

Brilliant article. Thank you so much for the enlightenment!

The other Patriot!

Anonymous said...

Correct!

Hope all the Sinkies think like you. Problem is that they are being brainwashed! Sigh!

The other Patriot

Anonymous said...

You don't want a leader. Period,

Anonymous said...

Mature and independent folks lead themsellves, but if society needs leaders, the leaders must be folks with integrity and propriety.
Not folks with ego, greed and vainglory.

Patriot in Sg

Anonymous said...

All men are selfish. Hence, leaders and electorates are all selfish. Where do you think selfishness will head towards?

Hell!

Anonymous said...

"Not folks with ego, greed and vainglory"

Sorry, no such people around

The said...

/// Anonymous said...
Come on what is 52% debt. Singapore is double that. Lucky, how could you miss the RED DOT? LOL
5/5/13 00:21 ///

I wonder why people keep bringing this up to show their ignorance.

Singapore's borrowing is also to develop the Govt Securities market. Net debt is close to zero. Whereas Malaysia's borrowing is for consumption and wastage.

Even the CIA saw fit to put in the footnote.

OTOH, MY's debt include loans raised externally and bonds and notes issued overseas. This figure excludes debt issued by non-financial public enterprises and guaranteed by the federal government, which was an additional $47.7 billion in 2012.

SG's external debt = US$24.6bn; reserves = US$259.3bn.

MY's external debt = US$95.55bn; reserves = US$140.4bn.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sn.html

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/my.html

Anonymous said...

Grace fu going holiday. ...spain, portugal, ireland ;)

Anonymous said...

...BN polled 5.220 million votes to Pakatan Rakyat’s 5.489 million...
http://blog.limkitsiang.com/

That means BN won only 48% of the total valid votes!

Yet BN won 133 seats while Pakatan won only 89 seats out of total 122 seats!

Their electoral system is much better than our GRC system of 93% seats with 60% votes.

Perhaps can learn something from them.

Hahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Correction.

Should out of total of 222 seats.

bond said...

Election itself is a flawed way to choose a leader for the country. It is not about getting the best person for the job but is about getting the most unscrupulous, scheming, cunning person for the job. Thats the reason why this world is still in a big mess.

Anonymous said...

6/5/13 11:04 - so what if we have one trillion of reserves and little debt? it will never benefit you or me. it is all conyou money.

Anonymous said...

bond6/5/13 18:39Election itself is a flawed way to choose a leader for the country. It is not about getting the best person for the job but is about getting the most unscrupulous, scheming, cunning person for the job. Thats the reason why this world is still in a big mess.


It's the world's way. ... What's the smart way?

Anonymous said...

your multimillion dollar ministers..brilliant scholars...will show you the way ..lol

Anonymous said...

For one whole generation, any pupil who scores less than 50% in exam is deemed to have fail the exam in Singapore.
If this pupil is in primary 4 level, he/she would have been streamed to EM3 from primary 5 onward. This pupil would have been labeled with unerasable EM3 marking for life.
This, being one of the most biased educational system, built by PAP's brute force approach through PAP's elite's ideology.
This is the standard that PAP have ingrained onto every Singapore citizen for at least one full generation.

Using this PAP standard, the BN having obtained 5.220 million votes out of total 10.709 million
votes casted, equivalent to achieving 48.7% of the votes casted, should be declared as failing the Malaysia general election 2013. As a failure, the BN should be streamed to EM3 and should be taught with special EM3 curriculum developed by the PAP.

Instead, PAP is so full of encouragement and delightful that it congratulates the BN for achieving such excellent and fantastic result. Now, to the PAP the score of 48.7% is like scoring distinction in the exam.

Anonymous said...

Should we reduce the handout and give free education instead?


Which one create more value, giving handouts or free educations like the Nordic?

Anonymous said...

"Which one create more value, giving handouts or free educations like the Nordic?"

The one that give the most-est value:
Vote them all out in 2016.

Lim Suay Suay
What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Anwar fought corruption, at least that was part of his campaign. The people, in the end, chose their supreme leader instead. Anwar can retire comfortably in Europe

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VuzUT1PeIo

Anonymous said...

Can the GRC system also be re-designed so that 48% votes can win 60% seats?

Of course cannot totally copy Matland lah, because Sinkieland is different.

The key is customisation to achieve the similar desired outcome or satisfaction.

Any takers for this project?

Anonymous said...

as others local elite and foreigners with financial means locked on to assets early, the hign financial burden makes students slave to their studies over active extra curricular university student life and later to their jobs as they struggle to clear debt and saves. Both are cause of apathy and good for elites in power. Yes it's about money not enough but selfish political reason.

Anonymous said...

Aiyah.
Put it in simple language.

How do I benefit if I vote PAP?

a. Affordable HDB flats?
b. Affordable cars?
c. Affordable university education?
d. ten students to one teacher in our schools? Or is it more like 40:1?

e. Our school system so good, no need to hire private tutors?
f. elderly care so good, I no need to hire maid to look after my parents?

and etc.
I'll leave it to the rest of you daft voters to fill in the blanks.

The said...

/// Can the GRC system also be re-designed so that 48% votes can win 60% seats?

Of course cannot totally copy Matland lah, because Sinkieland is different.

The key is customisation to achieve the similar desired outcome or satisfaction.

Any takers for this project?

7/5/13 08:40 ///

Mudland does not have the GRC system, but something similar with similar impact. Instead of multiple constituencies in a GRC, what the Mudland did was to lumped all the opposition wards into 1 huge constituency. Hence even if the opposition win, it will win 1 ward instead of 4 to 6 wards. You can see this by the fact that opposition wards typically have 4 to 6 times the number of voters.

Anonymous said...

See how self centered people cleverly craft their letter(one of many)

More affordable COEs can help seniors live independently

“The dilemma of an older person owning a car” (May 4) is one that affects many of us. I am 84 years old and my wife is nearly 80. I am disabled, and my wife also has mobility problems.

I have a motorised wheelchair, but it is very difficult to use in many buildings or when crossing roads, and my disability prevents me from travelling by bus or train. Taxis have gotten more expensive, and in any case, there hardly is one when you need it.

So, we require a car for our grocery shopping and our many appointments at the hospital, the doctor’s or the dentist’s. My car has clocked only about 50,000 kilometres.

Current Certificate of Entitlement prices make ownership of a new car out of the question, so what will we do when our COE expires in three years’ time? Having retired years ago, and living on our savings all this time, no one is going to give us a loan.

So, we are in a quandary. We want to continue living an independent life, but circumstances will probably not allow this.

As the letter writer asks, can an appropriate law be enacted to assist people like us?

Anonymous said...

“Intra-ethnic inequality is startlingly high. There has been a lot of disproportionate access (to economic privileges) by the few,” Meredith Weiss, an associate professor at the State University of New York, told the Financial Times in remarks published yesterday.

“The underlining trend seems to be that interests are defined now by socio-economic class rather than ethnicity.”

While Chinese votes clearly swung to the Opposition in greater numbers than ever before, the PR’s securing of the popular vote suggests that the Malay vote swing would be potentially more alarming.

While Chinese votes clearly swung to the Opposition in greater numbers than ever before, the PR’s securing of the popular vote suggests that the Malay vote swing would be potentially more alarming.

But while he has taken credit for Malaysia’s economic growth, the country is no longer the country Dr Mahathir may have known.

It is a changed country, moving away from racial divisions to one of class and wealth divides.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many self centered people want to be in power ..hmmmm..what's your clever reason to be in power?

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt

Singapore: 106.5%
Malaysia: 55.8%

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky Tan is a smart person....

For the Malaysia voter, the only way ahead and the only way to get real progress is to dismantle the existing power structure which is riddled with corruption ...but that cannot be done without taking some risk with a new govt....

Does he understand the cunningness of powers?

Anonymous said...

Singapore should be just 1 super GRC with 87 seats.

Therefore to contest, a political party must have 87 candidates nominated under one party.

And the winner will have 87 candidates all elected one shot and form the government!

Those parties not ready to be government can forget about contesting lah.

It is so much simpler, tio bo?

What do u think?


Anonymous said...

"More affordable COEs can help seniors live independently"

No wonder we have more affordable condos for high paying graduates haha

Anonymous said...

Actually majority middle class malaysians under bn rule are better off than majority middle class singaporeans under pap rule. At least they can dream about owning a landed freehold house and a private car and have a good job in their lives if they work hard. Majority young singaporeans only dare to dream one thing - to quit singapore. Even getting a HDB public flat is unattainable no matter how hard they willing to work. Pls vote properly next time and not screw up the lives of the younger generation.

Anonymous said...

'but that cannot be done without taking some risk with a new govt'

- if your life is already very screwed (no house, no car, no good job, no kid) under the current regime, voting another gov is not a risk but a chance to unscrew your life. how worst can it get?

Anonymous said...

Either WP is smart or they are as dumb as the incumbent when they say they are not ready to govern and instead rather watch peanuts eating monkeys in the zoo.

Anonymous said...

"Actually majority middle class malaysians under bn rule are better off than majority middle class singaporeans under pap rule."
Anon 7/5/13 18:53

I agree. A Malaysian with RM5K monthly income has better purchasing power than a Sinkie with S$5K monthly income.

And depending on where they live in Malaysia, their purchasing power can even be higher.

Anonymous said...

My ex colleague, a Malaysian Chinese PR working for decades in Singapore, has chosen to retire in Malaysia after recently selling off his condo for nearly S$2 million which he only bought for around S$600K just 8 years ago.

Now he is living in a 18,000 sq ft bungalow in a KL suburb.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are too dumb to understand. That's why they do well in school exams

Anonymous said...

http://thehearttruths.com./

Anonymous said...

WP approves the peanuts.

More good years and long live PAP because they hold all the right family or Confucius values

Anonymous said...

Fake values giving birth to fake people only know how to make money...nothing else

Anonymous said...

7/5/13 19:44 -

Malaysians chinese have the best for two worlds. Singapore chinese are screwed big time by papayas long time ago.

Anonymous said...

In Singapore, for some reason, Singaporeans think of free education as a bad idea. But free education has existed in many countries like Germany for a very long time.


The actions of the masses can be brain washed and their thinking conditioned to accept controversy....like free education no good, no clutch mentality etc...

Anonymous said...

When more people are educated to a high level, they will thinK coalitions is the best way to bring the country forward and less inequality. People in the country will not maximise the material endeavors? Nordic countries are very successful and mostly coalition govt and less inequalities?

Because any opposite parties govt they are amost the same standard, so to bring those lest have the financial means to study to the highest level is important, so the Nordic leader don't ask for the maximum benefit from the people, which their leader dun place so much emphasis in getting the highest pay? When a leader overemphasis on pay to run it something wrong?

al quds said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks...


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