Benjamin Disraeli – The Great British Conservative Leader Who Introduced the Public Health Act

Benjamin Disraeli, First Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-81) was a great British statesman and novelist. He was born in London and came from a Jewish family that had converted to Anglicanism.

He was a most ambitious and a larger than life individual. He dressed in colorful clothes. He always chose his words carefully and spoke only when he had something memorable and witty to say.

He began life working for three years in a lawyer’s office. He then – unsuccessfully – tried to start a newspaper.

His first big breakthrough was when he achieved fame and success as a popular novelist. His first novel was Vivian Grey (1826). The most famous of his many novels were perhaps his two political novels, Coningsby (1844) and Sibyl (1845).

Disraeli joined the Conservative Party and in 1837 he entered the British Parliament as the member for Maidstone.

His first speech to Parliament was heckled by other Members of Parliament who disliked his flowery manner of speaking and his colorful clothing. In concluding his speech, he made the famous reply: “Though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me.”

He became the leader of the Young England movement, which was home to that section of the Conservatives known as the Romantic Tories. The Romantic Tories were political conservatives who were critical of the effects of the Industrial Revolution that were occurring in Great Britain at that time. They believed that the monarchy and the church were the natural protectors of the agricultural and industrial working classes and were suspicious of the Industrial Revolution’s tendency to destroy the traditional protections and obligations which had been in place in Britain since time immemorial.

He also opposed the free trade policies of his fellow Conservative, Sir Robert Peel. Peel engineered the repeal of the Corn Laws (1845-46), which controlled the price of wheat and of other types of grain via the imposition of protective tariffs on the import of foreign grain. Instead, Disraeli favored protectionism to protect British agriculture and industry. In later days, Disraeli stopped supporting protectionism to a large extent, having come to the view that the Corn Laws had mostly favored the interests of landowners and hurt the poor.

While in Parliament, Disraeli became Chancellor of the Exchequer three times and then became the leader of the Commons (the lower house of the British Parliament). In the latter role, he introduced the Reform Bill of 1867.

Disraeli served as prime minister of the United Kingdom for two terms – first, in 1868, and then, later and more extensively, in the period 1874-80. During his second prime ministership, he promoted British imperialism (that is, the extension of the British Empire) and a forward foreign policy. In 1876 he passed legislation conferring on Queen Victoria a new title: Empress of India.

Disraeli led Britain into the Second Afghan War (1878-79) and into the Zulu War (1879), and he sought to lessen the power and influence of Russia.

He showed much skillful diplomacy …

GST Implementation in Malaysia – The Argument

There were many responses when the Malaysian government first announced the Financial Budget for Malaysia, year 2010, both good and bad. But when they were undecided about GST, it sparked more conversation on whether it’ll benefit the Rakyat, or further threaten poorer communities in Malaysia.

What goods GST covers

As proposed by our dear government, GST covers all types of goods & services sold to Malaysian & non-Malaysian residents (therefore consumers) except for a common commodities such as rice, flour & sugar.

This goes to mean: Whenever you walk into your favorite hypermarket with the family to get some groceries in the future, you will be charged additional ~{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} (the proposed additional 4{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056}) on top of your bill except for certain controlled items.

Further, Malaysia’s main revenue shouldn’t just live off petroleum. In other words, we shouldn’t put all eggs in one basket because petroleum revenues have risks of its own, seeing that it’s a natural resource.

What reason did they give? More funds for development and expenses.

How much would they probably get? RM1 billion (RM1,000,000,000) per annum in estimated rounded-up revenue.

Will it hurt the poor & middle class?

To a certain extent, it will somehow affect pockets of middle and lower income group Malaysians.

The arguments:

  1. Recent price hike in petrol, prices of commodities have increased drastically. And now another one called GST?
  2. Income tax brackets for high earners aren’t as ‘expensive’ as middle-to-low income groups.
  3. The Malaysian government has saved approximately RM2 billion (RM2,000,000,000) by lowering fuel subsidies – What’s the take on GST now for lower income groups?
  4. GST is tax on SPENDING. Basically, everything from parking fees to purchasing mattress. Even with GST-exempted items, this would still hit lower income groups in Malaysia.
  5. Private sectors aren’t paying much to Malaysians – Other more developed countries such as Singapore could take this hit because wages & salaries are much higher.
  6. Other countries such as Britain, India, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore has GST – Doesn’t mean GST has to be implemented in Malaysia. Their economic status and way of gaining revenue varies from Malaysia. (GST is also called VAT – Value Added Tax in other countries)
  7. Inflation may happen. Prime Minister Mr. Najib has guaranteed no inflation – But with the introduction of GST, the chain of ‘passing the cost’ will end up usually at the hands of consumers.
  8. Corruption isn’t a rare thing in Malaysia – So businesses has already included ‘corruption prices’ in goods & services. How does that not reflect additional costs to consumers?
  9. Out of inflation pressures, higher prices for goods & services are sought.

Prime Minister Mr. Najib has promised Malaysians that they will be tabling a public discussion on GST (called the GST Bill) on December. There are also several upsides that could be seen – But until Mr. Najib tables the meeting on GST Bill, we shouldn’t be skeptical of anything yet.

Other side …