Monday, June 2, 2008

Ideas To Reduce Subsidies?

PM Invites Ideas From Civil Servants On Ways To Reduce Subsidies

PUTRAJAYA, June 2 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Monday invited civil servants to contribute ideas to help the government address the problem of increasing subsidies as the move can pose problems to the nation.

The prime minister said civil servants can pass their suggestions to their department heads who would forward them to the chief secretary to the government.

"If the subsidies we pay exceed operating expenses, it will cause big problems to us later. Although we think nothing of that sort will happen to us now, one day we may have to face serious problems if we don't reduce subsidies," he said when addressing staff of the prime minister's department at the monthly assembly.

Abdullah said right now the government was thinking of ways to provide subsidy to low-income earners while the subsidy for people who could afford it would be slashed.

"Various groups have given all sorts of ideas. I want you to do the same, try to think of constructive ideas and forward them to your department heads who will then forward them to the chief secretary to the government," said Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister.

Abdullah said the chief secretary to the government would know how to channel the ideas to the appropriate committees assigned to specific tasks.

He also urged government employees to come up with ideas on ways to tackle inflation.

As part of efforts to save energy, water and other utilities, the prime minister instructed heads of department to take immediate measures to set up quality control circles (QCCs).

"Previously, we use QCCs to boost work efficiency and productivity and many offices and departments have succeeded after adopting the QCC approach.

"That has been successful in many ways. This is what we mean efficient use of energy and resources," he said.

In Japan, Abdullah said he noticed that the Japanese were prudent in energy consumption at night as they switched on the lights only in rooms occupied by them.

Besides that, he said, at every house there was a mini-garden planted with vegetables or flower plants though the land size was small.

"Not that they don't have money but maybe it is one way to meet their needs without having to fork out more money to buy their essential items," he said.

"On office efficiency, I was not able to see, but I believe if this is their way, they will not switch on all the lights in the entire office building," he said.

To save electricity consumption in offices, Abdullah suggested that the windows, which are usually closed and covered by thick curtains, to be kept open so that lights need not be switched on.

I got amused to hear Dollah Badawi calling on civil servants to tell them to suggest ways to tackle subsidy problems whereas he and his honchos are spending lavishly like if it's nobody's business.

Anyhow, suppose if I am a civil servant asked by the man himself to provide a suggestion or two, my ideas my be unorthodox, unconventional and perhaps would draw the fire from the top brass. So, if I say that the first thing, as agreeing to Anwar Ibrahim's statement, which is taking a portion, I repeat portion of Petronas subsidies to alleviate the ballooning amount of subsidies, currently at $45 billion, the bill will end up at half. Say the net profit is at $80 billion, I'd take 30 percent to help reduce the bill and use as an extension to the budget.

Of course, if I am to say that, either Dollah or Najib will say 'mana boleh macam itu?'. Yes it can be unconventional but it can be effective for another 5 years or so. No solutions can be forever here. It's unstable, unless you have an industrial age machine AI like Helios, not Skynet that provides solutions to the world.

Another way to reduce the bill is to get the exchange rate improving radically. Good God, Dollah, you are too foolish of not believing that the ringgit is undervalued. Can't you understand that Singapore has better buying power than Malaysia because of the exchange rate? And the pace is damn slow. I got one guy who was with me during the Raya open house claiming that 'Rogue Banker' Yackop did not bother to act and answer to his questions on improving the country's monetary system. 3.21 as is of now, but I think it is better to hit 2.70 in one month's time with active intervention from government.

Cost cutting measure is also a good thing, when I was in the previous job, they encourage cost-cutting measures, that helps saving the upkeep costs.

And finally, you should whack the profiteers or the swine who swindles the people's money!

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