Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bankruptcy? Not So Soon

Haters of the Malaysian government(made up mostly of Her own people) said that we are bound for bankruptcy in 2019.

These are their arguments: in June 2011, the Ministry of Tourism allegedly spent RM 1.8 million to promote the tourism industry via a facebook page and several other promotional campaigns. The petroleum reserve is fast shrinking, its price unable to keep up with the flow of money into politicians' pocket.

Some of the points forwarded by these proponents of "Malaysia going bankcrupt" theory are absolutely spot-on. But those are mere social phenomena that they see; corruption, petrol price inflation, reduction of subsidy, mishandling of fund, etc. What they don't see, are the figures running deep below those phenomena and steadfastly picked up by agencies like the CIA (I bet you would believe in CIA figures rather than a couple of government-hating-economist's in Malaysia, no?)

Firstly, what do we know about national debt?

The national debt of countries represents how much money the government of that country owes. Like a household budget, national debt gets larger when a government spends more than it takes in. This can continue for years, or even decades. This budget deficit is the total amount of this debt that has grown over time, with interest charged adding significantly to the amount owed by the government.

The amount owed varies greatly with the amount of money a country generates, its population and how much its government spends.

From the passage above, we know(at least I do) that with Malaysia's annual GDP of USD 247 billion(est. 2010), we would concede debt if we spend more than we generate. In wikipedia, Malaysia is ranked 44th in the world with an external debt of USD 72.60 billion(est. 2010). Mind you that's external debt. We have not consider the internal debt i.e. how much the government owes to private contractors in Malaysia.

The CIA website, on the other hand, does not rank the countries by debt. Instead they rank countries by the balance left in each country' account. Surprisingly(even to me), we are ranked 13th with a balance of USD 34.14 billion(est. 2010). Meaning we actually generate more than we spend. Yes. Don't argue unless you have better statistics than I do.

One particularly interesting thing I'd found in the ranking is that Brunei has no external debt. That makes sense, given the Sultan's position in Forbe's Richest Man ranking. The government of Brunei generated USD 7 billion in 2008 and that amount is more than sufficient to fuel a country that occupies less than 1% of Borneo's land area.

The United States owes a staggering USD 14.4 trillion, and their account balance: USD -561 billion. In fact most western countries have a negative balance sheet, and that subsequently affects the livelihood of their people. Greece and Iceland have both been declared bankrupt and the Euro economic sandstorm threatens to upend Germany and Italy too. Its a chain reaction that involves the shifting of taxes and finally economic inflation.
Now don't get me wrong. I ain't supporting those money-minded politicians, nor am I rejecting the possibility of bankruptcy.

I'd noticed that whenever we are intoxicated by hatred, we become susceptible to rumors and talks that would obliterate the already damaged image of Malaysia. The issue has been proliferating, one that is unfair to those who had really fought hard to improve the citizens' lives in the government sector, because even though their hard work has been reflected via statistics, opposing politicians would continually manifest on the "dirty-dying-governmnent" image. Now, especially after BERSIH rally, feisty oppositions are more than prepared to pounce onto any mistakes however exiguous like a pack of wolves.
Fifty years ago we were allegedly better than Hong Kong, or even Japan. Right now, even Vietnam has surpassed Malaysia(in terms of what? I don't know. But that's exactly what the politician says). But we should not be biased when judging our own country. The country has got its fair share of criticism, so why shy away from giving complement when the country shows positive growth?

Are we really that good? Yes, indeed we are. We are already better than North Korea. How about other Europe countries like Bulgaria and Romania?

Haters would say "Of course they are better! They are western countries MAH!"

Well, Yun Minwoo, a criminologist and assistant professor at Hansei University in South Korea, compares North Korea to Bulgaria and Romania, countries where even the highly educated are unable to earn a sufficient income. And the recent riot in London proves that even the most "ideal" migration target for Malaysian has Her flaw too. The Malaysian student that was robbed was initially given a "helping hand" by the Reece Donovan, a man whom he thought was a good samaritan before the Brit opened his bag and openly robbed him.
Our country suffers excoriation from Her own people, most of whom extol western countries blindly. Indeed, the politicians aren't the most erudite of people, but there are a lot of hard workers plying their trade in farms and orchards all over the country to fuel the economy, oblivious(or rather, choose to ignore) of the political drama unfolding in the capital. We, the people, constitute the country, not the politicians.

We should stop hating the country that feeds us, as well as other races that share this land. It's the politicians that manipulate us based on the differences between us. Instead of ranting about like a bunch of illiterate follies, we should always open our mind for changes, as there are good policies, politicians, and people that we've taken for granted, too. Gandhi managed to wrestle independence out of British's grasp without any act of violence nor derogatory words. We can do the same.
Hence on this Merdeka Day, instead of reflecting on how bad a country Malaysia is, we should reflect on what bad citizen we have been.
Happy 54th Birthday, Malaysia!. Image:



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