Home TA Online Are Anwar’s ‘Madani’ ang pows meaningful? 

Are Anwar’s ‘Madani’ ang pows meaningful? 

Such gifts, though providing temporary relief, are unable to bring life-changing benefits

ANIL NETTO/ALIRAN

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The prime minister’s cash gifts to various segments of citizens are highly questionable

The RM100, RM200 and RM300 announced by Anwar Ibrahim may make the government appear caring in responding to the financial difficulties faced by millions of citizens. 

But even if RM100 or RM300 does provide immediate relief to the destitute, how far will it go in the long run? No wonder some politicians are already questioning whether such cash aid is actually dedak (chicken-feed enticement).

We need to confront the root cause of the people’s financial difficulties.

Beneath the economic and financial constraints lie two misalignments. 

One is the cascading effect of corruption afflicting business practices. We are paying the price for the entrenched corrupt culture we have been subjected to. 

Today, the cost of doing business in the country is unreasonably high owing to decades of rent-seeking, kickbacks and political funding, to name a few. 

The other misalignment is the country’s over-reliance on cheap foreign labour in many sectors. This has robbed locals of job opportunities, and it has made many others less productive or hardworking. 

Before we blame the working class, it is the government’s inability to structure and enforce a minimum (or compassionate) wage in the various sectors that is a primary cause. 

So, the Madani (Civil Malaysia) ang pows cannot really be appreciated by the hard-pressed in the long run, as these gifts are unable to bring life-changing benefits. They are akin to giving a person a fish for a day, instead of building the means to fish better for a lifetime. 

READ MORE:  Where are the reforms we were promised?

The “unity government” could have done better. It should reinvent the job market and promote a business culture that is more compassionate and caring. 

Profiteering, making profits in quick time, enriching shareholders and fast-tracking a company for listing at the expense of workers and consumers are outdated practices from the 1990s.

Enough of the excuses that Malaysians are unwilling to take up jobs characterised by the three Ds – dirty, dangerous and demeaning. 

Pay minimum wages and share reasonable portions of profits with workers to provide a more hopeful future for everyone. This will reduce the nation’s dependence on migrant workers. 

So, let’s get honest about our urgent collaborative role in nation-building. Creating a coterie of millionaires – which was the goal of the Dr Mahathir Mohamad era – is outdated and not value-enriching.

The unity government would have done better by collaborating, partnering and empowering NGOs in the fight against corruption. This could have given the leadership the right ammunition to combat this cancerous scourge.

As it stands, it is painful to admit that the fight against corruption has not been convincing.

The giving of cash ang pows will not ignite much-needed transformation. It will not equip us to tackle global economic challenges. 

The country needs to recalibrate all its systems.

The authorities should start by swiftly addressing the corruption endemic, arresting the robber barons, and punishing the givers and takers. We don’t need repeated sermons on the need for new laws or more warnings about tough action. 

We need to push through a corporate business culture that thrives by nurturing a productive, happy, willing workforce. 

READ MORE:  G25 supports Anwar's 'ekonomi madani'

Get rid of Adam Smith’s old economic theory that capital will go to where the most profit can be made.

But rather than fortifying our Keynesian economics model, let’s move to one that is value-centred and focuses on care, compassion, trust and a shared sense of wealth.

Let’s stop reinventing the “cash is king” ideology in another shade. It is time to revolutionise the national roadmap.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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Paul Lim
Paul Lim
30 Jul 2023 12.32pm

This is correct. This is just short-term to win votes when what needs to be done in addition is an overall of social security and social welfare. Cheap labour to attract foreign and domestic investments should be the past and not the future. Unfortunately it is the norm even in Western économies. Insistence of minimum wage is also in the rule-book in the EU.

Gursharan Singh
Gursharan Singh
30 Jul 2023 10.35am

Receipients will be thankful but wil the timing not give the perception that the ang pows may be related to the coming elections?
Giving the angpow to those in need may be good but if giving to those in high income [near below RM100K annual income] may be a waste of public funds as to them it is just extra funds.
Bless all

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