Prime Minister’s repudiation of Pakatan’s 100-days reform programs on financial ground will further highlight UMNO/BN’s reluctance to spend the national wealth for the people.
It is a bit presumptious for the Prime Minister to claim that Pakatan’s 100-day reform program will bankrupt the country, since it is UMNO/BN-led government that had borrowed excessively each year. The Auditor General’s Report released on 25 October 2010 cautioned Putrajaya that the national debt to GDP ratio has breached the 50% mark for the first time in our history.
Malaysia government’s debt for 2009 rose to RM362.39 billion or 53.7% of GDP. The level of national debt in fact worsens under the stewardship of the current Prime Minister. The government undertook 19 bond programmes with a combined value of RM58.1 billion in 2010.
On 14th December 2010 Bank Negara Malaysia announced that the government will launch 29 additional bond programmes in 2011. RHB Research Institute estimates that this will involve a combined value of RM83 billion of new debts to be undertaken by the Federal Government.
Therefore, the Prime Minister’s criticism in rejecting Pakatan’s 100-day reform program should be viewed in this perspective. Malaysia is en route to bankruptcy at the rate that it is raising debts to fund UMNO/BN’s addiction to wasteful spending and corruption that is endemic in the crony capitalism structure that it props.
The public is generally privy to such examples of excesses are well known to the people. Instead of providing homes to the poor and young people, the Prime Minister is more obsessed with his 100-storey tower costing RM5 billion. The UMNO leadership will scream bankruptcy each time Pakatan fights for better pay for the teachers, yet it has no qualms to pay RM77 million for a one year contract to APCO. The list is endless.
Thus, the first action of a Pakatan Federal government is to announce an all out war against corruption at all levels in the government, starting with the political leadership. This will save an amount of RM28 billion for the national treasury as estimated by the Auditor General, believed to have been lost each year due to corruption and leakages.
Next, a Pakatan Federal Government will restructure the national subsidy system to abolish corporate subsidies that had bled the people and enriched only a few cronies. The RM19 billion of subsidy to IPP borne by PETRONAS each year will be reverted to the national treasury. Similarly, we will undertake an overhaul of the toll concession system to return the RM4 billion’s worth of compensation paid to concessionaires back to the national treasury.
These two quick actions will yield an additional RM51 billion financial muscle for a Pakatan Federal Government to implement our 100-day reform programs, whose cost is only a third of the amount:
1. The new RM500 a month teaching allowance for teachers and educational officers will cost RM3.2 billion annually
2. Our guarantee that fuel subsidies will be maintained for lower income group will involve a restructuring of the subsidy system, so that only the lower income group enjoys fuel subsidy. The cost estimate for maintaining fuel subsidy under a restructured subsidy system is RM4 billion annually
3. Pakatan Federal Government will continue to subsidise LPG, at an estimated cost of RM4 billion annually
4. The restructuring of the toll system under PLUS is expected to cost RM23 billion, based on the current offer made by Khazanah and EPF. The additional cost to acquire minority shareholders is approximately RM8 billion.
The additional cost required to fund Pakatan’s 100-day programs is only RM19.2 billion, an amount equivalent to the existing corporate subsidies fed to IPPs each year. This is a pittance compared to the RM51 billion stolen from our national economy to keep the cronies afloat and fat.
The other people-centric programs such as free water and free wi-fi schemes have been implemented in Pakatan states. This has been proven to be viable and sustainable.
The onus is for the Prime Minister to come up with a complete explanation of his reluctance to implement these programs, when rakyat knows that we can afford it. It is utterly irresponsible to continue piling debts for future generations to bear but refuses to utilise the money for the welfare of the people.
DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
LEADER OF OPPOSITION
11 JANUARY 2011