In the past week or so, there were several news reports stating that Malaysia was regressing backward relative to the high-income country GNI benchmark of $15,000 per person by 2020. The Economic Planning Unit showed the figure fell to $9,291 in 2015 and to $8,821 in 2016, from $10,677 in 2014.[1] From the figures alone, […]

Idris Jala in his column in The Star today wrote something that I have always found disagreeable (or maybe since 2010 when I first encountered this kind of argument): In just two years, we increased our GNI per capita by 45% from US$6,700 in December 2009 to US$9,700 in December 2011, a rare feat in […]

The statistics show that total crime in general has been declining since 2009, according to PEMANDU. Yet many members of the public distrust the statistics and insist that they do not feel what the statistics suggest. Others in the wild, wild world of cyberspace, where discussions can be very unrefined, openly call those in authority […]

PEMANDU claims “confidence from the ETP saw private investment hit RM94 billion and RM131 billion worth of GNI generated in 2011.” A bold claim. Let us see the trend of private investment in the last 11 years. Do you see anything special about 2010 and 2011? What I see is only a reversion to mean. […]

It does not inspire confidence when the same entity that is driving a program is the one that measures the success of the program as well. There is a conflict of interest there. Imagine a soccer team up against another team and imagine the referee is a team member of the former team. It is […]

A friend asked me once what I thought of PEMANDU. He expected me to praise it since he knew where my economic bias lies. Here was PEMANDU advocating liberalization in a number of ways. There I was, a person who has been accused of being a neo-liberal at one time or another… there was a […]

Milton Friedman once visited Hong Kong in 1963. He met John Cowperthwaite, the financial secretary of Hong Kong, whom was credited for enabling Hong Kong to become Asia’s foremost financial center through his free market policy. Friedman asked him “about the paucity of statistics” in Hong Kong. Cowperthwaite replied, “If I let them compute those statistics, […]

There are always victims in an economic recession. It can push individuals into desperation and force them potentially to do something that they would not otherwise do. It can turn the man on the streets into a criminal. There is a relationship between economic recessions and unemployment rates and there is a relationship between unemployment […]

I am still on the 1Malaysia email controversy. I must admit, this is starting to get ridiculous because its investment cost is only RM50 million. That is nothing compared to other big projects announced which on the surface and without being too ideological at least, are a-okay. For such a small project, maybe I am […]

[2351] PEMANDU’s GDP folly

The Najib administration intends to make Malaysia a high-income country and that alone with the end goal. Here is the problem: a project is supported not because it is viable, but because it increases the gross domestic product (GDP) — or the gross national income (GNI) depending on context — of the country. The latest […]