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10 Malaysians Share: Is Tabung Harapan Really All That Good?

Malaysians share what they really think about the fund.


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10 Malaysians Share: Is Tabung Harapan Really All That Good?
Two months ago – on the fateful day of 9 May – we stood as one nation. It didn't matter who we voted for; what mattered was that we all stood as one, to witness the change of government.

Malaysia has been led by the Barisan Nasional coalition ever since gaining independence in 1957, so this change of government is something that is very new to all of us. With each election, we hope for new improvements to be made to our beloved country.

And after this latest election, hopes soar higher than ever, because our country is being run by a new party. We’re all eager to see what positive outcomes can result from this change.

And counting...
For starters, we’ve seen the introduction of something we, as a nation, have never encountered before: Tabung Harapan Malaysia.

Tabung Harapan Malaysia is a trust fund set up by the Malaysian government to help ease the country’s debt, which is reported to be RM1 trillion. This initiative calls for Malaysian citizens to donate any amounts of cash.

Within the short span of a month, the Tabung Harapan has managed to gather over RM100 million. Whether you are for or against this initiative, this amount is surely quite astounding, isn’t it?

While many people were inspired by the efforts of those who contributed, there were also many who did not believe in it. Some contributed, some didn’t; some have faith in the program, some do not believe in it.

And here’s why:

For Patriotism Sake

‘My father contributed RM10 per family member, on our behalf. However, he admitted that he believes the scheme will not entirely pay off our country’s debt. I sense that the contribution he made was simply a gesture of patriotism – and it feels so good to have such a love for my country!’
-    Jacqueline

History in the making.

There Are Better Options

‘I did not contribute to Tabung Harapan because I have been paying my taxes without fail. We have also been paying GST the past few years. I believe I have done my part as a citizen and I think Malaysians should ask themselves: aren’t I already paying my taxes? Our country should be more concerned about what caused the debt, which in my opinion, was possibly corruption.

For example, the government should focus more on combatting tax evasion – I have been in the logistics industry for many years now, and I know it is not difficult for importers to evade high import taxes. Instead of creating this thing called Tabung Harapan, we need to get to the root cause of our debt.

I’m not against those who contributed but I feel like there are a lot of other things that need to be done, and the Tabung Harapan is not one. Instead of creating the Tabung Harapan, the government should focus more on how to tackle corruption and money laundering to stop this debt issue once and for all.’
-    Matthew

Doing It For The Country

‘I contributed because I believe it’s the little I can do for my country. Our current government has fought hard to win this election; what is a few hundred ringgit in donations to make our country better?’
-    Jo*

Feeling 'Cheated'

‘I did not contribute because I believe that our country’s debt is the size it is today, because of certain very corrupt and very selfish people. Those people should be held liable for at least a portion the debt, instead of having citizens bear their consequences.

Many tax-paying, law-abiding and country-loving Malaysians have contributed to the Tabung Harapan and, while I am extremely proud of them, I feel like they’ve already been cheated of their money and now here they are, offering even more money to fix somebody else’s wrongdoings.

Should a government really resort to crowdfunding to fix national debt? And also, how do we know this money will be put to good use? You hear about corrupt governments and whatnot, so how do we know this is a trustworthy initiative with no hidden agenda?’
-    Fateen

Coming together as one.

Pride Of Being A Malaysian

‘One of the strangest things I’ve learned from our current prime minister – from the stories told by my own parents, as well as others – is that by accepting, you are actually giving so much more. And that can only be achieved through genuine sincerity.

A perfect example of such is at an event where Tun M was received by waves of people. In the midst of shaking hands with the rakyat, an old man came up to Tun M and gave him some money, saying that he owed him back when Tun M was practicing medicine. At that time, this man had no money to pay but Tun M treated him anyway. Now, this man was here to pay Tun M back. After hearing that, our beloved prime minister took the money.

Most would say Tun M should have just let it slide, and let the old man keep his money. But what most don’t realise is the pride that Tun M was giving the old man, by accepting his money – that is infinitely more valuable than whatever money was paid back. No money in the world can buy this: the value of self-worth.

So this brings us back to the Tabung Harapan; the donated money is not so much about helping the country, but rather, it gives us our pride and it feels good to be able to help our nation by chipping in and doing the little we can. If you think Tun M is like a beggar, or that it’s unbecoming of a government to accept such donations, know that such views are a reflection of your own issues.

But at the end of the day, these are my own views; I don’t pressuring anyone to donate, and you do not have to, if you don’t believe it in’
-    Zaim

Leave The Citizens Alone

‘I don’t believe this system will work. The debt is just too much, and I really don’t agree that a government should place the burden of national debt on a country’s citizens. While our national debt is high, I wouldn’t say our country is in a state of crisis; many other countries have higher levels of debt than we do but we don’t see the governments asking their citizens to contribute towards clearing the debt.

I’m not condemning our current government, but I strongly feel like this just isn’t the way to go. Instead of having a government that saves the country, our country seems to be trying to save the government, instead.’
-    Chong*

A piggy bank for the future.

Why The Need For Tabung Harapan?

‘Nope, I don’t have faith in the Tabung Harapan. While I think it’s a good initiative, it’s a little silly and naïve, even. Though I’d have to say, it achieved many things: it brought about a sense of togetherness, it gave citizens a means to be of help to our nation and it gave many people a sense of hope. However, what it won’t achieve is financial success.

Why encourage people to donate their hard-earned money, when we’re already paying tax? I am aware that all Tabung Harapan donations are tax-exempted, but still here’s what I believe in: I will pay for what I am responsible for, including my taxes, but why should I pay for something I am not responsible for?’
-    Jennifer*

For The Nation's Sake

‘I contributed to Tabung Harapan because – first and foremost – I want to be able to say that I, too, have had contributed and played a part in rebuilding my beloved country. Instead of simply sitting back and watching from afar, I want to be proud of the fact that I have done my part in helping my country for the future generations to come.

Secondly, I contributed because I am inherently patriotic, especially when it comes to keeping my country constantly progressive. Besides that, personally, it just feels so good to be part of the big Malaysian family, working towards making our nation a better place – not just to live, but a place to grow in love for each other. This love goes beyond race and religion, and I am proud of that.’
-    Gaius

One for Malaysia.

Not Very Viable

‘I would say this is a commendable initiative by the government, especially in bringing the country together. However, nonetheless, it does seem a little naïve to me. Yes, Tabung Harapan has raised an impressive amount to date, but I feel like it was more of a wave of high spirits (after the election), rather than a steady effort.

As with everything, no empty promises should be made – I know it’s not easy for our current government to fulfill everything as promised, due to our nation’s debt level, but that doesn’t mean the government should eat into what’s beyond the citizens’ responsibilities. So, while I believe it is a good effort, I don’t see it as something that is exceptionally viable.’
-    Arvind

Playing A Huge Part

‘I am so proud of our country right now. I have never loved my nation as much as this, and I’m sure many others who have contributed feel the same. I feel this way, not because of a change in government, but because I was able to witness Malaysian citizens joining hands to contribute to a great cause, which is the Tabung Harapan.

I have only recently entered the workforce, so I was not able to contribute as much as some people might have, but I still feel happy that I’ve played a part in this cause. I’ll admit I wasn’t as interested in our national situation prior to this, but now, I know better than to neglect the future of beloved country. And here’s where we start – with Tabung Harapan. Sending out much love to my fellow Malaysians!’
-    Ching Yi

You’ve heard from our ten contributors, now we want to hear form you! Now how about you tell us what do you think of Tabung Harapan? 

Note: the views in this article are solely personal, and are not related to our views here at Rojak Daily. We are politically neutral and we love Malaysia just as much as you do!

*Some names have been changed for privacy
*Contributions have been edited for clarity and length.

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