One of the famous moral stories that I can remember since I was a child is about George Washington, the first President of the United States. Many of us would have heard of how he admitted to his deed of chopping his father’s cherry tree. The famous sentence “I can’t tell a lie, I did it with my hatchet” serves as a moral guide of honesty to many until today.
Even when we grew up to be adults, many self-improvement trainings, lessons, articles, and books has kept on reminding us to admit to our mistakes and correct from it. Everyone would agree that it is one of the basics for a successful life.
Last week, the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has proudly announced in a press statement that the Pakatan Government has managed to developed Penang’s economy from the bottom up to become the best in terms of GDP per capita.
To understand a state’s economic performance, we must first understand the definition of the measurement that is being used to determine it.
In this case, we need to understand two simple terms: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also GDP per capita, which is being used by the Chief Minister to determine the economic performance of Penang.
I may not be an economist, but I have read basic economy in one of the lessons in the university.
GDP in simple terms represents the value of all goods and services produced by all people and companies within a country or state. Therefore, it is the best way to determine a country or a state’s economic activity.
GDP per capita is an approximation of the value of goods and services produced per person within a country or state. It is usually used to measure a country’s standard of living.
While facts and figures given by the CM is accurate; after all facts are facts; however it is an inaccurate way to use GDP per capita to measure Penang’s economic performance.
From the way the economic performance issues has been raised, could it be that the DAP continues to strive for political gains by trying to confuse the people with half-truth?
Penangites are definitely feeling proud with the fact that the state has performed in GDP per capita. But if we tend to keep on furnishing ourselves with only positive information without reviewing what we lack of; Penang will continue to be in the spot of dreaming only. We must be proud of what we have achieved, but at the same time Penang must know its weaknesses and to overcome it.
Penang has been losing the edge in terms of GDP comparing with other states in the nation. Penang used to score a higher GDP compared to the national average; but for the past five years we are performing lesser.
The state government must acknowledge the fact that the state GDP is dropping and must therefore boost the economy with feasible plans for the state. If we continue to focus too much on positive facts, we will tend to ignore the necessary change that we need to improve.
Penangites must be supplied with both positive and negative information regarding the state’s situation. We must be proud to celebrate our achievements; but we must also be ready to face challenges that will be encountered.
Freedom of information isn’t only about releasing information when the public requested for it; but information should be disseminated necessarily to make the public be aware of what is happening around them.
The challenges in Penang’s industrial sector this year might worsen the economy. We have seen the closure, layoffs or relocation of factory operations that will cause hundreds or thousands to be unemployed. We have already heard of news about several multinational corporations making some changes in their Penang’s operations namely Seagate, Western Digital, Rubicon Technology and TS Solartech.
Why couldn’t the state government’s leadership simply acknowledge the poor economic performance and begin to draft strategic plans to move things forward?
Sweet dreams may be sweet and lovely, everyone just loves it; but we must always be ready to face and challenge the nightmares as well.
This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 21st October 2016.