From Chester Tan
From the day the economic affairs minister began talking about inflation, he has been talking without making sense. I am afraid he will be a liability for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the present government.
First, Rafizi said that if the price of chicken is high, people should avoid buying chicken. Does he want people to boycott the cheapest source of protein?
Prominent economists and professors of economics, Noor Azlan Ghazali and Geoffrey Williams, have lambasted him for his ridiculous advice.
Rafizi continues to dish out more silly advice and unfounded statements.
Recently, he said that beverages and food at restaurants and hotels contribute to the inflation rate. Again, he got it wrong. The cost of food at eateries is high because the cost of labour, prices of vegetables, chickens and eggs are high.
The restaurants and hotels are raising the price because the cost of their raw materials is going up. Rafizi must look at the root cause, not accuse the restaurants of simply raising prices.
First he wanted us to boycott chicken, now he wants us to boycott eating at restaurants. Soon he might ask us to boycott eating, to tackle inflation better.
Then another ridiculous idea: to check the price of goods and see if they are the same as those published at openDOSM. The statistics department doesn’t give spot prices. This is not like buying shares on a trading app, where you see the price and click “buy”.
People don’t carry their laptops or tabs when they go to the market.
This is the problem when you have a so-called finance expert who has no idea what is going on.
Rafizi says that consumers should not depend on the government to step up the monitoring of prices. That is not the only thing that the government can do. Governments are expected to do more than monitor the prices of commodities and to book errant shopkeepers.
Raifizi’s ministry should study the supply chain. Have they found out what is raising the prices of goods along the supply chain? Is it because of middlemen? Is it because of the increase in price of animal feed? Can corn, legumes and grains be bought from some other country? Can it be bought from Mexico or Chile? Is it because of cartels? If so, what can be done?
We can’t ask these questions for Rafizi. It is for him to ask and find the solutions.
Rafizi displayed his total ignorance during the parliamentary discussion when he compared the fiscal situation of a country with that of a company. He was talking of operating expenses and what not.
The first thing he should know is that economics is not accounting. You cannot compare an economy with a company. The first thing I learnt when I was in school is that the economist’s idea of cost is different from the definition accountants give.
Finally, Rafizi says he has the secret to overcoming inflation. He has been saying this for a long time. He should quickly share it with the public to calm them instead of keeping it a secret.
Rafizi is an embarrassment to Anwar’s ambitious plans. He will undermine Anwar’s work and image.
Using big data will not solve the rising prices of eggs. Rather than resorting to “Invoke”, the government may have to revoke Rafizi’s position as minister of the economy.
He can’t go on practising nonsense economics when everything is so expensive. It’s too expensive to keep a “blur” minister in such an important portfolio.
Chester Tan is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.