Commentary: Rakyat are the true losers of GE15

Bintang Malam
20 Nov 2022 06:09pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Would Bursa Malaysia be drenched in red the moment trading begins tomorrow?

Chances are, it will and that’s just one of the few economic effects that we will see due to the results of the 15th General Election (GE15).

It has been a rough ride for us Malaysians since 23 Feb 2020, the night of the so-called Sheraton Move - when the rakyat was stolen of our hope of a better Malaysia, the euphoria achieved during GE14.

That meeting was full of betrayal and some even say...treason rivalling the plot of one of the most insane Game of Thrones episodes and when the dust settled the next day, a Pakatan Harapan government was no more.

Even before we could react to what happened, Malaysia was put under a series of Covid-19 lockdowns by the unelected Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin which saw not only the death of so many loved ones but the shuttering down of so many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

During this period, the country saw unemployment levels in the country rose by 83% in 2020 compared to 2011, according to the 2021 Asean statistical yearbook.

The continuous lockdowns saw the government turn to the people’s retirement savings by allowing them to withdraw their Employee Provident Fund (EPF), not once, not twice, but four times.

The impact of the Covid-related withdrawal programmes on the savings of EPF members is estimated at RM155 billion.
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"The level of savings of EPF members is low and very worrying, especially after the implementation of four withdrawal facilities related to Covid-19, namely i-Lestari, i-Sinar, i-Citra and the special withdrawal, and the reduction of the employee share statutory contribution rate for a period of 27 months (April 2020 until June 2022)," said the then Deputy Finance Minister 1, Mohd Shahar Abdullah in a Dewan Negara sitting in August.

Despite global economic instability, the volatile ringgit and the overall rising cost of living - Bank Negara remained optimistic. Just days before the election, the central bank released a report noting that Malaysia’s economy posted double-digit in the third quarter, supported by rising domestic demand and strong exports.

The central bank said the jump was driven by a continued expansion in domestic demand, a firm recovery in the labour market, robust exports, and ongoing policy support.

Inflation has largely been contained by government subsidies and price control measures, but upside risks remain.

However as the fate of the country hangs in the hands of a few old men, the political stability that the country has enjoyed (in retrospect) under the Barisan Nasional administration became a romanticized memory.

A coalition, in whatever shape or form, will still need to have a clear economic focus for long-term development and reform.

And until politicking takes a back seat to the economic outlook, it will undo the work that the relevant agencies have done to bring our economy forward.

Thank you Malaysians for exercising your right to vote yesterday with an estimated 73 per cent total turnout.

Despite your choices, the true losers of this election are still us the rakyat.
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