Sunday, January 16, 2011

Books: The Budget: How the government is spending OUR money by Teh Chi-Chang.

This is a must have book for ALL citizens of Malaysia. Other than your I.C and driving license, this should be the third document that you should have at all times. Not so much for flashing it to law enforcers but more like a ‘financial bible’ to understand what you have been contributing your taxes (current and future) to.

I am appalled by our government’s indifference and incapability to be accountable for the management of our country’s budget. Running in high deficit for the past 5 years isn’t a laughing matter for any tax-paying citizen. We have done our due, yet we’re not seeing better systems in education, transportation, health and even internal security looking at the soaring crime rates. I recall participating in a friend’s relative’s survey in researching ‘tax payers’ sentiment’ when it comes to paying what they rightfully owe the country. I completed the survey with utmost honesty and mind you, I AM a tax-payer and I did comment on my displeasure on how we’re contributing like good citizens yet whatever the government has planned, does not seem to benefit me nor my family nor my future generation. And from this book which is superbly and most eloquently put together by Teh Chi-Chang (he’s now my local financial hero), I finally could see the light. Well, I saw the light long ago, but now I could finally put it into words based on black and white.

Imagine 10% of us is supporting the country’s 90%. No wonder some of us just got fed up and ran away. I was also appalled to read that 2 million Malaysians who consist of at least 90% bumiputra are living in poverty! The people need to wake up and open their eyes. These pro-bumi policies that have been put together, protected and sworn sovereign by these dudes in UMNO are only benefiting the ex-Menteri Besars and the endless list of Datuks and Datins who need cheaper electricity to light up their multi-million dollar bungalow in Bukit Tunku. What is oblivious to people is the fact that these pro-bumi policies should be benefiting the 2 million bumiputras who are living way below the poverty line. They should be given due opportunities to upskill and earn better wages with subsidies for schooling and basic home necessities such as food, water and electricity. Don’t even talk about non-bumis! Why are we outsourcing jobs in home care-taking to Indonesia and Cambodia when it could be a huge lucrative market for the locals? Local home 'care-takers' (I've something against the word 'maid', apartheid is SO 19th century!) can travel to their employer's home each day from 8 to 7pm, Monday to Friday. Weekends, they can spend with their own family. No one needs to worry about security. Honestly, how some employers 'lock up' their maids 24/7 is not just crazy, it's inhumane. Why no one thought of that?

I beg of you, my dear reader. That if you carry a Malaysian ID, birth certificate and/or passport, then thou shalt know where your money is going to. Now that the can of worms is opened, I wish someone would do something to lead us out of this darkness. The careless handling of the country’s expenditure does not only affect you and I, but it will affect generations and generations of Malaysians thereafter. Therefore, I beg beg beg of you. If the government will not be accountable, you as a citizen can. And if there are a volume of us (regardless of ethnicity, religious and political views) that have had enough of this Monopoly child-play in this country, it will undoubtedly put enough pressure on them to at least, buck up and get smarter. Efficiency is one thing that we’re truly lacking and let’s not wait any longer.

Borrow it from Sparks Open Library Project. Or BETTER, buy it from here.

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