ARE our economists giving us the true picture of the national economy? Or are they applying blanket on its darker side?
As an economic journalist then, I used to attend the 'Brown Bag' talks at Bank Negara. At the end of every question-and-answer session, we were advised what and not to write. We did understand the whole situation - and that we must always paint a good picture.
However, when the whole world is reeling from then economic downturn, do we still need such blankets and good picture?
A good picture will augur well in attracting more foreign direct investments (FDIs) but the words that go around about how bad the situation is at Labuan Offshore Financial Centre and other offshore facilities worldwide, should be well perceived and looked into.
The fact that more and more workers are being retrenched is not a good economic sign. We have to admit that Malaysia is NOT SPARED of the global economic crisis. Even the American cant practice the economic tools its prescribed for other countries.
Its nothing wrong to speak the truth about the economy. If we are doing not so bad, just say so. If we are much affected, say it out. The people are more wise these days to distinguish the elements of subjudice in our newspaper reports about the economy.
It is good that the pump price of fuel has gone down in tandem with the current crude oil price (USD43 per barrel). However, the people are still fighting for survival. The price of consumer goods which shot up over the hike in oil price mid this year, has yet to come down.
Inflation and recession are already felt. We cannot deny this facts. The middle and low-income groups are feeling the pinch. Although the government has and will introduce new economic package to stabilise its adverse impacts, the result is still not felt.
US financial package of USD17 billion to salvage its three carmaker companies did not have any impact on the markets worldwide, not even on the Wall Street. Injecting monies to ailing companies will only cause the economy to dismantle its fundamentals.
We may have pride on strong exports growth but we also look into the reciprocal value with each trading partner. Not all will surrender their trade deficit easily now when their economy, too, are badly affected.
Countries like Japan, China and even Vietnam are subscribing to day-to-day monitoring of their economy although they are quite 'okay' in the sense that their federal reserves can sustain at least 12-month defered imports, a duration that the IMF forecast as enough for the world economy to recover again.
Malaysia is of no exception, we should say. With the price of commodites like rubber and palm oil continue to dive, the majority of our people are finding it more difficult to save at least a ringgit everyday. In some cases, not enough to make ends meet.
We belong to the world economic pattern that formulates global trade, price and supply. We cannot find a big escape but to manage our macro-economic imbalances accordingly and try to tailor it to domestic needs.
Yes, of course our economists are doing a hell of a job to keep the economy at bay but at the same time, they should be more open to talk.