• Office of YB Wong Chen

Don’t allow the Trumps of the world or the Dr Mahathirs to rise again

Good morning and Happy Dumpling Festival Day to all.


Last night, I had dinner with a friend who is an international investor. We talked about a range of things, business, politics and economics.

He is Scottish, so we had a long chat on Brexit. He is for Brexit and believes that a lot more people are for it but have chosen to be quiet.

The Brexit movement may not be directly related to economics but is primarily fueled by immigration issues (it should be about economics since the EU is technically a trade bloc). However its popularity may be due to something bigger, an expanding wave of anti-establishment feelings. And it’s a global thing.

This new anti-establishment movement that begin post 2008, is still growing and is the reason why even a demagogue like Trump has an even chance of winning this November.

The last big anti-establishment push was in the late 1960s. That is about 60 years ago or simply put 3 generations ago. With high inequality, economic growth based on quantitative easing and debts, negative interest rates, high youth unemployment, we all know that the system is illogical and rotten. Yet nothing ever changes from inside. And if Clinton wins, and she is the ultimate insider, she will continue to perpetuate this rigged and unequal system.

Therefore for like minded policy makers, my office is now re-looking at very core, basic “economic” issues. We are going back to basics. Positions that normal folks, like my mother, knows to be true.

For instance, we all know that having debts is bad. Having savings is good. Frugality is better than being extravagant. Work hard and being paid fairly is good. Speculate on other people’s money to be rich, is bad. Printing money is bad. Entitlement is bad. Social mobility is good. Making education expensive is bad, since it defeats social mobility. Free education is therefore good. The list goes on and on.

We need to wake up from the free market stupidity of growth by debt. Instead, we need to be guided by old folksy but core truths in designing future policies.

The establishment had a shot at reform in 2008 but didn’t take it. Now the people are awakening to challenge the establishment. This is not a statement of support, just telling it as it is. There is a need for change but let us not allow the Trumps of the world or in the Malaysian context, the Dr Mahathirs to rise again.