Dr Lim wants gov’t to release full details on economic data

Yes, all official data should be read “with a pinch of salt”. The Umno-led BN government has not been honest about disclosing social and economic data in the past. The bumi equity fiasco was just one of the many glaring examples.Of late, the government has “selectively” released several economic data through the mainstream media. Such “cooked up” data and figures seem to have an impact on boasting the confidence of the stock market investors and speculators. It appears now that the KLSE CI is set to break the all time high figure of 1,314 (before the Great Asian Crisis in 1997/98) in a matter of weeks.Khoo Kay Peng of SEDARIn today’s Oreintal Daily, Gerakan leader (also the Deputy Minister of MITI) Ng Lip Yong criticised his colleague Khoo Kay Peng for “giving negative comments on national economic situition without data and solid evidence”. Khoo is the executive director of SEDAR, a think-tank set up and controlled by Gerakan.Khoo has openly questioned the veracity and accuracy of such national economic data in his interview with Oriental Daily on Tuesady.Ng Lip Yong could easily take his colleague to task but could he also answer our questions with facts and figures, and also the full details and methodology used as suggested by Dr Lim Teck Ghee? We challenge Ng to tell Malaysians on the real data and figures ( with full details and methodology) on issues like bumi equity, national debt, annual losses suffered by all GLCs, total profits made by Petronas and total amount spent in bailing out mega projects and GLCs, total profits made by all the 23 toll concessionaires, total taxes paid by the respective ethnic groups…

Also recently, Tan Teng Boo, a reknown stock market specialist,  has cautioned the investors to be more circumspect rather than exploiting the current stock market rally. Tan has warned that ” the stock market rallies for all kinds of reasons and some times, the market rally can be self-deluding or what is worse, the rally generates comlacency among the politicians and policymakers and painful but necessary decisions are not made or postponed until it is too late.” 

Tan’s warning cannot be taken lightly. The stock market, in the eyes of the punters and speculators, is like a huge gambling den. The ups and downs of the stock market, more often than not, has nothing to do with the real market situation. The stock market would just collapse before you know it. 

PM cum Finance Minister AAB is certainly one such politician and policymaker described by Tan Teng Boo. He has irresponsibily opened his big mouth and say that the KLSE CI would hit the 1,350 mark this year.What AAB should have done is to carry out the necessary decisions and structural reforms to improve the national economy at the macro level.

Yesterday, the DAP Sec Gen Lim Guan Eng, an Australian-trained accountant, criticised the Prime Minister for making a forecast on the KLSE Composite Index. He said investors could sue AAB if the CI eventually do not reach the said level this year. Lim is right because AAB has no power to stop punters and speculators from leaving the KLSE.They have no obligation to inform AAB. They can leave the stock market as and when they think is right. 

AAB has been wearing far too many hats. They were signs everywhere that the man has not been able to cope with his jobs.To put on another hat as a “stock punter” certainly would not served him any good.As the prime minister cum Finance Minister, he should refrain from making such sensitive statements.

But if the man is thinking about holding a snap general elections, no one then could stop him from painting a rosy picture of the KLSE in particular and the national economy in general. After all, he cannot rely on portraying himself as the modern Justice Bao (corruption fighter) anymore. (BTW, AAB is now known as ” Bao Ka Leow” (Sapu Semua, in Malay) to the former PM Dr Mahathir and many Malaysians out there).

Economic figures: Gov’t urged to release full details

Feb 21, 07 3:51pm malaysiakini
Apart from ensuring the veracity and accuracy of national social and economic data, the government must also release the full details of the sources of the data, the methodology used and any other information that can throw light on the findings, said an academic.Dr Lim Lim Teck Ghee was responding to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s reassurance that the government did not ‘cook up’ the economic indicators and figures.“A government that engages in deception, spinning or concealment of social, economic and other national data is one that is not only disrespectful to the public but it is also one that betrays the trust bestowed on those with the reins of power,” Lim said in a statement.He said by making public the sources of data and methodology used will not only ensure public confidence, but also ensure the right conclusions and policy lessons and outcomes are drawn.“Otherwise, we will find that incomplete or unreliable data is being used to justify policies that would otherwise have little or no rational basis for adoption. Such a move is necessary for all official statistics – not just trade or selective economic data,” he added.Strict measuresIn developed countries, he said, strict measures have been adopted to ensure that all official statistics and data are shielded from inappropriate political influence and from being compromised through professional defects, bias, corruption or falsification.“It is high time that the government takes the necessary steps to ensure the independence and integrity of our official statistics.

“ These steps should include the establishment of a scientific social statistical commission that would focus on the independence and integrity of official statistics and act as an independent guardian for public interest,” he added.

Lim said Malaysia is also lagging behind many countries in ensuring that its statistical system is accessible and transparent.

“Until these misgivings are addressed, there will continue to be concerns over the honesty and dependability of the official statistics provided to the public,” he said.

On Saturday, Najib said the economic indicators and figures disclosed by the government to show the country’s economic achievements reflected the real situation.

The deputy premier was asked to comment about speculations and accusations that the government “drummed up” the economic indicators to boost public confidence.

“The figures are real. That’s absolutely real. You don’t make wild accusations like that… we have never cooked-up the figures.

Our books are very transparent. The people from the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) come and examine our books on a regular basis… there is absolutely no way we can cook-up the figures,” he had said.

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