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TJ KB EC: Banyaknya Arahan Doktor
By The Economist
31/3/2001 12:07 pm Sat
BANYAKNYA ARAHAN DOKTOR
Mahathir asyik komplen terhadap negara luar termasuk
Amerika padahal Amerika menyerap ekspot sehingga mencecah
23% GDP Malaysia. Kadar ini antara yang tertinggi di dunia.
Malah ia telah menyelamatkan Malaysia ketika krisis 1998,
di saat Mahathir mengherdik keburukkan globalisasi. Ini
bukan sifat seorang yang bersyukur seperti yang sering
Mahathir kerap berkelakuan anih sebegini. Cakapnya tidak
serupa bikin. Asyik menyalahkan orang lain bila tidak menjadi
padahal orang itulah yang selama ini memberi tanpa mengharap
balasan walaupun sehalus jari. Dia bising memanggil pelabur
datang tetapi dia tidak mampu mendiamkan diri dari menuduh
bukan-bukan sebegitu lantang. Patutlah MSC kini masih lengang
dan gagal memainkan peranan berkesan.
Pakej rangsangan tidak akan dapat membantu keadaan selagi
kroni ditolong dengan dana awam. Ia mencederakan sendiri
popularitinya dan minat pelabur. Malaysia lebih mesra
kroni dari rakyat sendiri, walaupun pribumi. Polisi pula
asyik bertukar sehingga sukar pelabur mencari pasti.
Kini mereka tertumpu ke negara Cina kerana lebih terjamin
dan tidak banyak masalah atau risiko di sana. Ini akan
mencederakan Malaysia, tetapi apakah Mahathir terasa?
Pembangunan mega dan rekod 'semua boleh' negara bukan penentu
kemajuan negara - sebaliknya rekod bersih dan pembangunan insan
dalam dirilah penentu pelabur terpesona. Kini kita terpaksa
memujuk rayu pelabur sehingga Rafidah Aziz begitu kerap terbang
keluar negara pergi menjaja. Tetapi negara Cina asyik dikunjungi
pelabur luar sehingga ia berhasrat untuk menyertai WTO tanpa
perlu banyak terbang atau berbicara.
Jelaslah jika kita baik, akan terpancarlah kebaikkan kita
di mana-mana sehingga dikunjungi oleh pelabur di seluruh dunia.
Tetapi jika kita asyik bermain 'kayu tiga', pelabur pun tidak sudi
menjejakkan kaki, apatah lagi mendengar kita berbicara.
-TJr Kapal Berita-
Mar 29th 2001
From The Economist print edition
FOR all Mahathir Mohamad's complaining, the United States has
helped his country's economy far more than it has helped most
others over the past few years. Malaysia exports 23% of its GDP to
America, much of it in electronics. That is one of the highest ratios
in the world. Those exports, along with shipments to the rest of the
world, have helped to prop up the economy during the tough times
since 1998, even as Dr Mahathir has railed against the evils of
globalisation. Now, however, the American economy is slowing,
taking the world economy with it. Across East Asia, analysts are
slashing export-growth forecasts to half of last year's rates, in some
cases to less. The slowdown will deal Malaysia an especially stiff
blow, and this week Dr Mahathir said what he was planning to do
Unsurprisingly, he intends to dish out a large helping of
self-sufficiency. On March 27th, he announced measures worth 3
billion ringgit ($789m) to help boost demand. They come on top of a
28.8 billion ringgit spending plan announced in October. The prime
minister thinks the combined fiscal kick will add more than a
percentage point to GDP growth. But will all the money be well
spent? And what, in these worrying days, is Dr Mahathir's
prescription for Malaysia's economic links with the outside world?
The first question is asked often, and the prime minister's answers
have never been convincing. Although he will channel some of the
new money into sensible projects, such as schools and social
services, he will also keep financing misguided infrastructure
projects, such as the Bakun dam in Borneo. His government is also
under fire for bailing out several well-connected companies. Three
government-linked funds, including the main social-security fund,
took stakes this month in a telcoms company after a feeble public
offering. The company's owner had friends in high places.
Decisions like this continue to hurt Dr Mahathir's popularity, hold
back his country and disappoint foreign investors.
Dr Mahathir's approach to those investors remains contradictory.
This week, along with the measures to stimulate the economy, he
announced a loosening of the regulations on foreign equity
ownership. He also said he would make it easier for foreigners to
buy property and other assets. Though these are welcome
changes, their effect will be muted by foreign wariness of Malaysia.
It is not that Malaysia shuns investment. Indeed, Dr Mahathir goes
out of his way to lure foreign companies to his sprawling IT park,
which is still largely vacant. He has also boasted of Malaysia's
attractiveness to direct investors, even as he has excoriated
speculators and western economic imperialism. His calculation has
always been that he can lambast the West, and its globalising
ways, while winking at its emissaries and helping them to set up
shop. This provides a useful distraction at home, without forestalling
the growth Dr Mahathir needs to feed the government's patronage
machine. That is how things used to work, anyway. Most foreign
direct investment, however, is now going to China, as Malaysia is
seen to be too similar to its corrupt neighbours. That will hurt
Malaysians; but will Dr Mahathir feel it?