Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It wasn't because they needed to listen to rakyat

Oppps, they did it again. Flip-flopping.

This is not the first time that our government had done that - the teaching of science and math in English, the "Allah" issue are just some, and now GST. The government goes in full force and then pulls out full force, completely obeying Netwon's 3rd law of motion.

Chronicle of events:
1. announce that GST shall be implemented
2. Then, announce that GST shall be delayed
3. And finally, announce that rakyat's opinion will be taken into account

Isn't the right order the other way round? I am not an expert on policy-making, but I doubt that the above is the correct order for making a good policy.

I'm not an economist and I would not like to debate about the feasibility of GST here. But I'm flabbergasted by the flip-flopping attitude of the government. What good is the government, other than pulling off public relations stunts like 1Malaysia and the impromptu visit to UKM?

The only reason I can think of why the government would implement a policy in the wrong order, other than incompetence of course, is that because they are testing the water, so to speak. By first announcing it and then observe the reactions. But that is not the way for policy-making at the highest level.

First of all, there is a better way to do this 'survey'. There is no need to test water by creating this first wave of 'fear' and spark needless debates among the public. Most importantly, the implementation of GST must be due to the need of the country, and therefore the test for this policy should be whether it will rake-in more revenue for the government and stimulate economy rather than the rakyat's reaction, for there is no sensible citizen in the world would rejoice when the government implements additional tax.

What further appalled me is that the ruling coalition said that the decision to delay has nothing to do with the opposition. However, from the beginning, this idea was the ruling coalition's and there was no objection whatsoever from anyone on that side of the aisle. The only voice shouting against it came from the opposition. Now that the government had decided to delay the implementation of GST it could only mean two things. Either they did not do their homework, or the opposition did their job. C'mon BN, at least have the balls to admit that!

So it could not have been because BN suddenly realised he needed to listen to rakyat. BN never listened when it comes to ISA, NEP and a multitude of national issues. And if BN did, it would have listened to the rakyat first before announcing the implementation of GST, not the other way round. Or maybe this is just another public relations stunt?

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