Thursday, October 27, 2016

ICYMI: Malaysia’s Pension Crisis

My latest (excerpt):

Challenges of a pension system

ONE aspect of an ageing society is obvious to everyone – care for the elderly will take on greater importance. How adequate are Malaysia’s pension systems?

In western societies, most countries have achieved universal coverage, with net income replacement values ranging from 29% in the United Kingdom, to 96% in the Netherlands (based on OECD data)….

…The challenge in these western economies is one of sustainability. The problem with DB schemes is that they are based on the principle of pay-go – current workers’ contributions pay for the pension entitlements of retirees. This is not an issue if the demographic profile of the country is relatively stable...

Click the link for the rest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Assessing Budget 2017

Today’s the first chance I’ve had to sit down and really think about the budget, past the first impressions we all got on Friday.

Overall, it somewhat exceeded my expectations. Granted, my expectations were undemandingly low, which is what happens when you commit to a hard limit on public debt and promise to cut spending over the medium term. But within those constraints, there was still some nice ideas in the budget speech.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Budget 2017: Going Live

…but not in the usual way. I’ll be running around like a headless chicken for most of today (apologies to all headless chickens, by the way), so live bloggin the budget as I’ve done over the last few years won’t be possible.

However, I’ll try to put something up when the budget speech ends, and more importantly, you can catch me on NTV7’s post-budget show at 8pm.

Further analysis by next week (the weekend’s going to be pretty hectic too).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Alternative Budget 2017

It’s that time of the year again!

I’m not going to comment extensively about the Alternative Budget (you can download it here), especially on the numbers. I’ve already spotted one whopper of an error, and another biggie that can be put down to lack of info (more on this later). Given the assymmetry in information between government and opposition, I’m not going to be too critical over these.

Rather I want to touch on the broad themes raised in the document. As an aside, I’d also note that mainstream media coverage on the Alternative Budget is far more widespread than it used to be. There was a time when barely anyone wrote about it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Explaining Inflation…Again

I had some input into an article the Malay Mail published last month:

Is there really a gap between the official inflation rate and reality? Well, yes and no

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — As Malaysia’s urbanites begin to feel the bite of soaring living costs, there is growing suspicion that the official inflation rate does not quite reflect the economic reality….

…So is there a gap between real consumer experience and official data? The explanation itself is quite technical but in short, it’s a yes and no.

On one hand, economists worldwide have long decried the method used to measure inflation—the consumer price index (CPI) — saying it is far from reliable.

Domestically, there have been debates about whether or not the CPI model accurately depicts the reality on the ground....

They only used some of my reply (because, as usual, it was long-winded), so I thought I might take the liberty of publishing my remarks in full:

The Population Bubble

Came across this tweet this morning:

How very true.