MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, May 20, 2022

Is Ismail lucky or increasingly astute?


From Ibrahim M Ahmad

Does Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob actually have his ears on the ground or is he just plain lucky?

Constantly dismissed as an imposter to the office, Ismail has once again shown a keen understanding of his electorate’s needs.

Having successfully cooled political temperatures earlier on through an MoU entered into with his political opponents, Ismail has admirably stayed clear of the incessant politicking which plagued his predecessor’s government.

Instead, he has quietly embarked on a series of populist policies which appear to be benefiting him.

Malay-centric policies introduced early in his tenure have allowed Ismail to keep a stable government while consolidating his position in Umno.

Then, earlier this year, he announced – to the relief of the public and businesses – that toll rates on four major highways will remain unchanged until the end of their concession periods.

This was followed shortly by an announcement that 30 tolled highways across the country will offer commuters either toll-free or discounted travel, a move which millions of Malaysians took advantage of during the extended Hari Raya break.

Now, Ismail has found yet another way to Malaysians’ hearts – through their stomachs!

Acknowledging that shelf prices for basic food items have risen dramatically this year, he announced earlier this week the government’s decision to scrap a long-standing requirement for approved permits (APs) to import certain food items in a bid to reduce their cost to consumers.

The announcement must have rattled some segments in the industry.

Almost immediately, we were fed with opinions that this was a wrong move. We were told that it provided no guarantee of food security in the longer term, that its effect on prices would only be marginal, that it might negatively impact our trade balance, and even that local farmers would suffer.

Indeed, it was a courageous decision. Approved permits have always been seen as a means by which an elite few gain a stranglehold on the market, resulting in rent-seeking, corrupt practices and, ultimately, higher prices.

It remains to be seen whether Ismail’s government will show fortitude in the face of opposition to this latest move.

Ismail may have been lucky to have had the premiership of the country handed to him on a silver platter, but if he keeps delivering on his populist policies, he may very well be the electorate’s preferred candidate by the time the next general election rolls around. - FMT

Ibrahim M Ahmad is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.