May 5, 2011

Hope nobody is left behind in future Malaysia

I just came back from Mumbai, a city amazing in its culture and history. Not that India is far off from Malaysia. It gained its independence just 10 years before us in 1947. So, in terms of being ruled by its own people, they are nearly the same as Malaysia. However, although people like to think otherwise, economically, they are far ahead of us. More than a few richest people in the world are actually from India or of Indian origin. Here is one of the most expensive home (although it looks more like a high-rise building than a home) which is located in Mumbai. Owned by one Mr. Ambani, owner of Reliance group of India and the 4th richest man in India :

Let us not make an apple to apple comparison but let us look at the disparity between the rich and the poor there. Yes, what people said about Indian slum is true. You can see it everywhere. However, the most expensive real estate stretch in the world is also in Mumbai. Marine Drive is a 3 kilometer long coastal road full with colonial and art-deco building. Price of per square feet can be between RM1,500 to RM3,000. And that is just for a normal apartment. 5-star hotels and well-known business are there in Mumbai.

Malaysia now is in the threshold of moving forward to be a developed economy. A report by Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that Malaysia can be one of the 7 countries to kickstart the Asian Century. Being lumped with China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea, powerhouses in their own right (some I think are so advanced that we dwarf by comparison), I think we need to slow down a bit and look back. I think some in certain institutions should pause and think whether we have all the basis covered before rejoicing about being one of the seven countries.

As I was pointing out in a few of the links I posted in my legal firm Facebook page and my book Facebook page, just look at the articles in major online news site for the past few weeks. Some are saying good things about our credit outlook with bank loan growth being in tandem with economic growth. However, some are warning about uncurbed spending by the people especially with easy credit. I know our Central Bank is dishing out major changes to ensure people are not spending more than they can chew but some of these people are already living from foot to mouth.

As for housing (which comes back to what is happening in India), houses are getting ridiculously expensive and major town are growing farther and farther away from the main artery where people are working. How far should we move further away so that we can go to work and find that we have enough to pay for the basic necessity? Conversation that I had with people of Mumbai revolved around them just surviving there to ensure their parents/children living in their village to have a better life.

That First House Scheme is good but a house without furniture is or basic necessity is just like a 10' by 10' slum area in Mumbai. People will always strive to have a better life and what is life if you go around day in day out living just to put some food on the table for your family? I know government is working on it but let us also hope, there will be no one being left behind....

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