THE Cabinet deserves to be commended for sacrificing two months salary, to donate to the Covid-19 fund. Indeed our Cabinet has sent a strong signal to all Malaysians that this is a time of crisis in our economy and health and in the welfare of our collective people.
Hence, this is the time to rally as one nation and Malaysians first.
We need especially to help each other in the spirit of national unity and patriotism, to overcome the severe challenges posed by Covid-19 and the economic slowdown we are now facing and imminent recession that is highly likely.
The government has now encouragingly expanded its economic stimulus package. But as I have pointed out before, this antidote to the economic slowdown and the disease outbreak may not be enough.
So we have to monitor the evolving situation closely and be prepared to come out with new policy issues to fight back more effectively.
But our resources are limited by our large budget deficits and big debts.
Sometimes it’s also scary to hear sine politicians and public leaders ask for more allocations, as if our resources are limitless.
This is therefore the time to revise our strategies with new proposals to consider as follows:
1. Malaysians should follow the Cabinet‘s excellent example of salary cuts to donate to the Tabung Covid-19.
2. Corporates should lead the way to donate to the Tabung by themselves and by their high-income employees.
3. The government development expenditures should be reduced and phased out to meet the rapidly increasing operating expenditures. We also need to do more for our gallant front liners. Many work round the clock without food.
4. Malaysians should cooperate much more to stay at home. We have never had this experience even in war time. But we must help each other by staying at home faithfully.
5. The reality is that we have to prepare ourselves to face recession from now. Those who lose their jobs or can’t find any for some time, have no alternative but to adjust accordingly.
We are facing unprecedented challenges and we have to rise to these serious health and economic attacks with courage, national unity and God’s grace.
As a United Malaysia, we Malaysians shall overcome as the consolation is that, these onslaughts can’t last for long. God bless us all.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies