Friday 3 February 2012

Reducing Deficits Part I

This is part of a series of essay on ideas for how to reduce the deficits owned by the Government of Malaysia (GoM).

Reducing Deficits Part I : Decentralising Social/civil Programmes

If you are familiar with Malaysian government, you would be by now understand the width and depth that the federal government "intruded" in your life, from before birth all the way after you die. There is not one facet of your life that the government have no direct or indirect effect on your daily life.

Some of these interventions, would be justifiable and should be part and parcel of any decent, responsible government.  Such things as public and private safety, defense and also public health are arguable the sole responsibility of modern government. Maybe some will also argue that education should be a main part of a government responsibilities. There would also be people saying that trade, development and national resources/assets should be under the control of the government. All of these responsibilities can be reasonably taken up by the government.

But have you ever wondered why things such as culture, language, innovation. religion and also information (amongst others) be also included as responsibilities of the federal government to plan and execute. These areas of responsibilities are what I would like to categorised as unnecessary government social programs.

I am not saying that the federal government shouldn't be involve in such matter but what I'm saying is that the government should be involve as minimal as possible, or at the very most act as regulators rather than executors. I believe such programmes ought to be decentralised and be given to the communities and the society as whole. This move I believe would not only reduce government spending but would also give more empowerment to the public.

Take for example, the National Day celebrations (Hari Merdeka) that were always celebrated at the national and state level year after year. Imagine how much such celebrations cost the governments, in terms of time, money and energy went into such events. Do you know that selected schools will be chosen to send the students to do rehearsals 2 month in advance of the Merdeka Parade, not to mention employees of government agencies would also be given permission to rehears during office hours.

If following my idea of decentralising social programmes, I would propose that such celebrations be done at the local level, such as towns and villages. Events at such level normally would not involve a lot of resources and time. And would mostly be on more like a volunteer basis. The federal government could encourage local participants by awarding some kind of monetary rewards to the parade with the most participations in an individual State. Just imagine how many people would participate throughout the country? Not just some selected people in the capital cities but small town like Benut, Johor be able to participate in the Merdeka celebrations.

Another good example is the building of house of worships. I am attracted to a news article in Harakahdaily, where the MB of Kelantan, Nik Aziz said that the state government did not need to build mosques, but what they did is help locals to build their own mosques. To me this is a good move by the Kelantan government, not only it encourages participations of local in the planning and building of the mosques but also, it will create a sense of ownership and pride towards the mosque. I would propose the state government extends such principle to other public amenities such as playgrounds/parks, libraries and also community halls.

I strongly believe that my idea of decentralising social/civil programmes would be able to reduce government expenditure and also have de secondary effect of empowering the public through active participation.

-Amryl Malek, Christchurch, 3 Feb 2012

No comments: