Thursday, 10 June 2010

Loosely Defined

The Treasury and the Performance Management and Delivery Unit under the Prime Minister's Department (Pemandu) gave starkly different figures on government subsidy expenditure. And they are both technically correct.

The apparent "discrepancy" is due to differences in definition, classification of expenditure and sourcing.”

Uh Uhm… You’ve said it loud and clear, YABD Minister KSK.

Something like the "household income" definition in the low-cost-units-for-local-council-staff fiasco.

All in the definition ladies and gentlemen. No right, no wrong: legally speaking, that is.

Note the following phrases from Jonathan Lynn’s “Yes Minister: The Moral Dimension”:

Personal donations
Special discounts
Miscellaneous outgoings
Managerial surcharge
Operating costs
Ex-gratia payments
Agents' fees
Political contributions
Extra-contractual payments
Introduction fees
Commission fees
Managements' expenses
Administrative overheads
Advance against profit sharing

Loosely defined, too, are these phrases but they’re carrying the same meaning.

And from Pemandu, we have the following:

Contract obligations
Financial support
Assistance to Ministry of Finance Incorporated companies
Cost-based financial assistance.

The latter (the cost-based whatcammacallit..) is apparently a “substantial item.. under indirect subsidies”.

Fanciful stuffs, these.

Why is KSK coming out with the qualifications the Treasury had taken vis-à-vis the nation’s subsidies?

He’s stepping on people’s turf here and stating that figures are being conveniently classified as such so that different outcomes or findings can be made.

Isn’t that what you’re saying, dear YABD Minister?

The mentioned “Yes Minister” series is full of such convenient classifications that perhaps we can take it as a SOP for governments.

Something like “9.95%” is not “about 10%” kind of thing.

Laughable, isn’t it?

I’m wondering what is playing in IJ’s mind these day. Read somewhere that he is an avid guitarist. Several good rounds of jamming would shut all the crap out.

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