In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
RECENTLY Malaysiakini reported that small group (some 4.2 percent) of Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd (ASNB) unit trust holders control nearly half (47.6 percent) of the RM207.4 billion net asset value (NAV) as of Sept 30.
According to a Finance Ministry parliamentary written reply, the 4.2 percent were those who held between 100,001 and 500,000 units. Those who fall within this band own a total of RM103.1 billion worth of units.
The written reply does not explain if investors who hold between 100,001 and 500,000 units were individuals or institutional investors.
In contrast, those who own less than 1,000 units, which forms the bulk of fund unit holders (61 percent), have a combined value of only RM1.685 billion in units (0.8 percent of NAV). Those with more than 500,001 units (0.3 percent), owned RM34.8 billion worth of funds (16 percent of NAV).
Based on this report, are we wrong to say only 'a chosen few' among the 'rakyat' are well of, but the majority of them especially the Malays/Bumiputras are cash-strapped and without shares or if they have some form of investment, it involves only a small amount of money.
This development is not be taken lightly as the purpose of setting up investment schemes such as ASN and ASB was to uplift the economic status of the Malays/Bumiputras. Perhaps the ASN which was launched more than 30 years ago (on 20th April 1981) by then Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn and then ASB about ten years later; have helped the Malays/Bumiputras but the question is, which Malays/Bumiputras?
Not long time ago, I too received the booklet 'Laporan Interim' from Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad (ASNB) 'bagi tempoh enam bulan berakhir 30 Jun 2017' (for the first six months ending 30 June 2017).
I flipped the pages of the 'Laporan Pengurus Amanah Saham Nasional (ASN)' (Manager of the Amanah Saham Nasional), my eyes caught a section about the profile of shareholders under 'maklumat tabung' (information on the fund).
In section E, It stated that; "As at 30 June 2017, a total number of 1,239, 469 individuals had invested in the ASN scheme."
On page 3, there was a chart which showed that from the total 1,239, 469 investors; 1, 212,416 of them as having 5,000 and less units.
It comprises 97.82 percent of the total investors. If the price of shares was at 75 sen a unit, then those more than 1.2 million investors are having less than RM4,000 in their accounts!
Those who fall under this category subscribed a total of only 257, 733,148 units out of the overall 1,915,448,586 units of shares.
I kept on thinking; 1,212, 416 out of 1, 239,469 investors having less than RM4,000 in their accounts; that meant about 98 percent of them had only a meagre amout of money in ASN.
Perhaps a large number of them owned less than 100 shares (valued at about RM75). Imagine only two percent of the shareholders having more than 5,000 shares.
The number of shareholders with shares ranging from 5,001 to 10,000 were 8,898 and those in the 10,001 to 50,000 category were 11,651 persons. Investors who held 50,001 to 500,000 was 5,997 persons and those who had 500,001 and more were 507.
Well, those with more than 5,000 shares comprised of about 25,000 investors; a very, very small number indeed! Yes, a large section (about 98 percent) of the investors had 5,000 and less shares.
Based on the profile of ASN investors, pardon me if I am wrong in my assumption that the majority of our 'rakyat' are poor! I dared to make this claim because there are also other scenarios and developments that support it.
One example is regarding Prime Minister Najib Razak administration's cash aid programme under the 'Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia' or 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M).
Under the one-off cash payment (RM500 for the first year now it is up to RM1,200) it was found out that only about 20 percent of household in the whole country with an income of more that RM3,000 a month.Through BR1M and BR1M 3.0, over 7 million households (received BR1M) totalling RM4.6 billion.
Through BR1M (the first one) RM2.6 bilion were chanelled to benefit 5.2 million households or 79.5 percent of the total of households in the country. If 79.5 percent of the overall households had income less than RM3,000 a month, then it means that only 20.5 percent of households had income of more than RM3,000 per month.
Nowadays household income are normally contributed by both husband and wife; this means that if a family has an income of RM3,000 a month; each of them has an income of about RM1,500 per month. If this method of calculation is adopted, it means that 80 percent of the rakyat has an income of less than RM1,500 a month.
With the majority of the rakyat has an income of RM1,500 or less that that for a month, were they in the category of those with high income as desired by some of our leaders? The rakyat with an income of RM1,500 and less a month was not far from the line of poverty whats more if they live in cities and metropolitan ares.
In my opinion, after realizing that the majority of our rakyat were poor or from the middle class strata (about 80 percent of the population), then drastic actions should be taken and implemented to rectify them in short and long terms but surely not by giving them cash handouts as done by our leaders.
If we give the people say, RM500 under the one-off cash payment, that it is like giving fish to them; they would finish the food fast but if give them fishing apparatus, hopefully they would be able to 'land fish' on a regular basis for the rest of their lives.
Those in power too must take effort and work hard to make sure that the prices of daily necessary items such as rice, sugar, wheat, milk, cooking oil, vegetables, fish, chicken and beef are within the reach of the majority of the rakyat.
In my opinion being able to sustain the prices of necessary items are more beneficial than giving the poor 'rakyat' some money once in a while as when the situation requires those in power to do such as winning their hearts in elections.
The 'rakyat' too should be provided with a 'sound' and efficient public transportation system especially in the rural areas. If the 'rakyat' in metropolitan areas such as Kuala Lumpur are provided with reliable modern public transportation such as the LRT, MRT and monorail, those living in rural areas are left at the mercy of private public transport operators.
It was a well known fact that many bus operators who claimed they were not making any profit year after year, failed to give good service to the rakyat in rural areas. Buses were not punctual; some of them had to wait hours after hours at the roadside for their buses.
If the government could spend billion and billion of ringgits to upgrade public transport system in the city such as expanding the MRT line of coverage; then why not spend a reasonable sum 'to cheer up' the rakyat in the 'kampung' and other rural areas. Perhaps, this way is better than making them happy for a day by giving them a one-off cash handouts.
And of course one way to make the 'rakyat' happy is by scrabbling the GST..well dear leaders of the country, are you ready for it?