Thursday 5 April 2012

Maxinum profits but minimum wages

The minimum wage proposal is mired in endless debate and delay.

Businesses are generally against it. The SMIs and most other business groups are lobbying political friends.

They hope to stop (difficult), delay (already being done) or to create loopholes, so very few will actually pay minimum wage.

Businesses are now called "investors". They are building on earlier successes in carving out multiple tax loopholes for themselves.

They now use their lobbying skills to deny their "most valuable asset" a minimum wage.

The government policy of importing labour has made the local labour market more "competitive".

The fact that foreigners rob millions of Malaysians of their jobs seems a small sacrifice, for they are, after all, merely a human resource like any other resource.

And Malaysians have to share public educational, medical and social facilities with millions of immigrant workers.

Is this not capitalism's ugly face?

Oh, how I wish we could import politicians to make local politics more competitive!

"Investors" are pampered with cheap land, publicly built roads and ports and power, water and telecom facilities at subsidised rates; they are coddled with priority police protection and allowed to import depreciated plant and equipment as new, and to pollute.

Is this not socialism for the rich?

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) offers a mouth-watering array of "investment incentives".

"Investors" get tax cuts merely for putting up buildings, and again for pulling them down; and tax cuts for exporting; and for providing worker accommodation and for arranging crèches so women will stay working.

You automate the factory and get a tax break, plough back profits and get a tax cut.

"Investors" are not punished for polluting, not that I have heard, have you? They get tax breaks for not polluting.

Additionally, each industrial sector has got its own set of tax loopholes.

Our young are educated and trained on public money for the benefit of these "investors"

Their employment in itself is no favour; it is a two-way street as people are business's "most valuable asset".
Offering quality employment is a duty of business.

Businesses should be penalised for offering rubbish jobs at rubbish salaries that only impoverished aliens will take.
How effective is government oversight of business?

True enterprise being risky, "investors" bet mostly borrowed money; and they privatise profits; and, if a rainy day comes, the politicians are on standby to nationalise losses.

Why are banks allowed to charge depositors, instead of paying for using their money?

Why are builders allowed to collect payment before building?

Why must house buyers pay interest on bank loans to builders?

If paying public money to a rice supplier to lower the food's price is a subsidy to the public, is tax holiday a subsidy? Is investment tax credit a subsidy? Is business infrastructure a subsidy?

Why the entitlement mentality?

If minimum wage is such a problem for SMEs, will they forgo all government handouts?

Should not businesses at least pay their taxes, since they contribute nothing else, instead of enjoying scores of loopholes, subsidies and handouts?

We do not want to see Malaysia bankrupt.

Will the government initiate a programme for phasing out these freebees to business, so that there is no "distortion" in the economic system?

Would Minister Idris Jala take up the challenge? After ensuring the minimum wage is implemented.

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