- caused unnecessary anxiety
- which then gave birth to really misguided policy making
- which then have all failed
- which then creates even more unnecessary anxiety and
- more misguided policy making and
- even more failure.
- It is a vicious circle.
We DO NOT NEED to discuss these things in depth.
We just have to understand what these things mean.
Kita kena faham, to cover their costs and to be profitable a shoe factory must produce thousands of shoes per day. The shoe factory cannot make one pair or 20 pairs of shoes a day. Lingkuplah factory.
Or the warong tepi jalan cannot buy all the thousands of durians produced by Haji Karim’s 30 acre durian plantation.
And kita mesti faham ok – that the middle men take huge risks to buy the output from the factories, the producers, the durian plantation and then sell the products in smaller quantities to many different retailers.
Dengan tiba-tiba brader-brader yang tak tahu niaga, tak faham bisnes, tak reti finance sudah menemui solution kepada ‘imaginary problem’ mereka – “Kita perlu hapuskan orang tengah“.
Who told you this? Siapa yang cakap benda pelik ini ?
Tidak ada sebarang buku ekonomi atau buku teks bisnes yang berkata orang tengah itu adalah jahat atau tidak baik dan mesti dihapuskan. None. Kecuali buku tulisan professor kangkong kut?
Kalau lah fahaman itu betul then why stop at “Kita perlu hapuskan orang tengah“?
Why not kata “Kita perlu hapuskan manufacturer” sekali?
Jadi sesiapa perlukan kasut, buatlah kasut sendiri.
Sesiapa perlukan kereta, buatlah kereta sendiri.
Tak payah beli kasut dan kereta daripada kedai kasut atau car dealer.
Sebab kalau orang tengah boleh ‘cekik darah kita’, serupa juga manufacturer. Manufacturer pun boleh ‘cekik darah kita’.
But that is not how the real world functions. The real world needs manufacturers, producers, farmers, plantations, importers, stockists, wholesalers, break-bulking, distributors, supermarkets, shops, retailers etc. This is the real world. No conspiracies involved.
But sadly – and disastrously – many bad policies have been implemented on the basis of “Kita perlu hapuskan orang tengah“.
But these really stupid policies did no such thing.
These policies achieved nothing.
And always – without fail – these policies have made the Malays poorer.
Melayu miskin dulu.
Because too often these nonsensical “Kita perlu hapuskan orang tengah” policies and projects actually meant that you and me (the taxpayer) ended up burning our money to subsidise and (worse) to buy the ouputs from these “Kita perlu hapuskan orang tengah” projects.
1. For example one project was set up for the kampong people to grow guava or jambu in Perak so that Malay growers could sell their guava direct to the market without the Chinese middlemen. Some government agency would buy their fruits (ok but at what price?).
The kampong people grew the guava but no one came to collect the guava from them. The government lorries did not turn up to buy their guava. And since the kampong was far ‘inside’ no one else came either. The project folded.
But whether it is the Chinese or the government agency, they are still orang tengah. And someone has to pay for the lorry, the diesel fuel, the lorry driver’s salary etc to come and pick up the fruits. (Yalah kerajaan bayar tapi bukan duit kepala bapak dia. Duit itu duit kita. Someone has to pay.) Plus also pay the kampong people for the harvested guava.
2. Bernas is another orang tengah. Dulu orang Cina jadi orang tengah dalam perniagaan beras. Depa jual beli beras tempatan dan boleh impot dan ekspot beras. Then some dunggu yang tak reti niaga, tak faham ekonomi, tak tahu finance said ‘We must control the rice business. Food security lah, entah ape lah.‘
So they gave it to Bernas. They created a monopoly. Nauzubillah.
Sekarang orang Melayu (yang paling banyak makan nasi) bayar harga tinggi tetapi dapat beras kualiti haprak. Another friend of mine just came back from Canada for a visit and he says basmathi rice in Canada is cheaper than in Malaysia.
Jadi orang Melayu kena tipu dulu. Melayu miskin dulu.
Orang tengah baru cekik darah lagi.
3. Felda became the orang tengah or the middleman in the Felda plantations.
The Felda settlers were not supposed to sell their FFB to anyone else except to Felda.
Felda’s business cycle was actually a ‘Circle of Righteousness’.
Felda (the govt) provided subsidised fertiliser. But there was still a cost for that fertiliser. Felda paid.
The land was given free. There was also a cost for that land. The government paid.
The oil palm trees were given free (for some time). There was a cost too. Felda paid.
The harvest was picked up by Felda lorries. There was a cost. Felda paid for the lorries and the drivers salaries.
There is always a cost. You cannot run away from the costs.
Orang tengah or no orang tengah there is a minimum cost to produce one ton of oil palm FFBs (fresh fruit bunches).
So because of all this ‘free’ and subsidised stuff, of course Felda bought the output at effectively lower prices. Then Felda could sell the output at market prices and make a profit, enough to cover ALL those costs that are listed above. The arithmetic had to add up. Someone has to pay for everything.
Then when the Bugis Lanun saw the money in Felda this ‘Circle of Righteousness’ was broken. Felda’s money was siphoned out.
So Felda could not pay the settlers on time for their harvests. Payments were delayed. Some settlers had no choice but to sell their FFB to outsider orang tengahs, other than Felda – who paid them cash on the spot for their FFBs.
So they had no choice but to go back to the “orang tengah” or middlemen.
(This also meant that Felda palm oil mills had less FFBs to buy from the settlers. To keep their mills running, they had to buy FFBs from outside as well – at full market prices. This ate more into their profit margins.) The whole thing collapsed.
Now here is the conclusion to this walkabout about middlemen or orang tengah.
Or Christian conspiracy.
Or Chinese conspiracy
Or DAP conspiracy.
Or any other conspiracy.
Bila orang yang tak reti niaga, tak faham ekonomi, tak tahu finance sengaja pi usik system yang sudah wujud sejak beribu tahun – nahas lah hangpa. Remember this.