‘Govt can’t afford to spend recklessly’

The country’s growth has been driven by “goodies” and infrastructure projects, both of which are bad news for Malaysians because it increases government debt, said Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad.

NONEHe said last night that on top of the government debt of RM477 billion (or 53 percent of the gross domestic product, out of the statutory limit of 55 percent), the government has also assumed RM116 billion in liabilities from statutory bodies and government-linked corporations.

This, combined with widening income disparities and over-dependence on oil and gas revenues would not allow for reckless spending, said Dzulkefly, who is also PAS Research Centre head.

“Even when it is close to the elections, it would not allow them to be recklessly giving goodies and handouts, as free as they would like to.

“But of course, it goes both ways and Pakatan Rakyat should not also do that,” he said, before detailing the coalition’s alternative budget, which aims to achieve 5.2 percent growth while also slashing the budget deficit by 3.5 percent.

azlanThe government is expected to table its budget at 4pm tomorrow.

Dzulkefly was speaking as a panellist during a pre-budget forum organised by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

He also told the 50-odd members of the audience that an economic boom-and-bust cycle normally last about ten years, but Malaysia has been having budget deficits for 14 consecutive years, which he described as “strange”.

“We have seen the boom and the bust times, while others – even Indonesia, Thailand and Australia – are having good times and enjoying not just a balanced, but a surplus budget…

“That tells a lot about how reckless and unscrupulous (we are) in terms of fiscal discipline in the development that we all choose,” he said.

Issues of competitiveness, sustainability and the poor

NONEEarlier in the forum, political scientist Ong Kian Ming (right) gave the audience a run-down of the statistics to paint a grave picture of the economy.

This included a relatively high income inequalities, “pockets” of poverty especially in rural areas, a drop in the Global Competitiveness Report rankings and the Corruption Index and poor achievements in education.

All these take place while the government debt increases from RM267 billion (47 percent of the GDP) to the current RM477 billion, as well as increasing pollution.

“From these three issue of uplifting the poor, competitiveness and sustainability, they are actually very serious concerns.

“It has to be addressed not just by the budget, but also by larger government policies,” said the academician, who had recently joined DAP as an election strategist.

NONEMeanwhile, Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (left) told the audience not to expect a good budget from the government because “the ruling elite in the BN (Barisan National) has not got clue there is a problem,” he said.

He said this could be seen from the government’s talk of liberalisation, privatisation, and lowering corporate taxes to draw investors, and questioned whether such measures are still viable.

The PSM politician said measures to protect workers rather than capitalist, such as a retrenchment fund, are needed instead in order to fuel domestic consumption.

This would in turn encourage investors and entrepreneurs to produce goods and services to meet demand, rather than investing excess funds in financial speculation.

No plans to deal with depletion of oil and gas reserves

The last speaker, Malaysiakini chief executive officer Premesh Chandran, said that Pakatan Rakyat’s policies thus “had done well, but could do better”.

Some areas of improvement include coming up with concrete plans for improving public transportation, making the spending of constituency allocations transparent and address healthcare issues, particularly in Pakatan Rakyat-led states.

NONEHe also warned that a “perfect storm” is forming, because Malaysia’s population is ageing and does not have the wealth to support them, and there are no plans to deal with the eventual depletion of oil and gas reserves.

Prior to the start of the forum, a 30-minute candlelight vigil was also held outside the venue in solidarity with Suaram.

The human rights NGO is the subject of several ongoing investigations, which it claims to be politically motivated.

3 thoughts on “‘Govt can’t afford to spend recklessly’

  1. Without the right to hide the debt, the national debt would have gone over the 55% limit some years ago ! Yet the government via Bank Negara would demand that all banks in the country must include the letters of credit issued of credits as part their liability in their monthly report to Bank Negara ! Why ? But when it comes to the government they can do what they like so long as it does not truly reflect how much debt the nation is already in, under the scumbags and parasites’s management from Umno !
    Even with that Malaysia financial position is rated like as those of Italy and Spain what will happen if the true financial position of the nation is truly revealed to the world ? Do we have to wait until the true situation cannot be hidden any more ? Be the first Greece in South East Asia and who would have to suffer when austerity have to be implemented in the country ? Don’t depend on the black gold forever, their cousins in Indonesian too was once an oil exporting nation some time ago.
    So to ensure this reckless behaviour from going any further and from going into bankruptcy make sure you kick these morons out of Putrajaya in the coming GE !

  2. After giving out goodies to the rakyat, the BN Federal Government will need to impose heavy taxes and the GST (Goods & Services Tax) to recover from the rakyat what they have given out as they need to service the massive National Debt.

    The rakyat will get the goodies now but if BN wins again after the polls, the rakyat will suffer. The nation’s coffers are managed in a very irresponsible manner by the BN Federal Govt.

    Recall how after BN won in March 2008, the petrol price skyrocketted in June 2008. After that, the price of goods went up and never came down again.

    If Pakatan Rakyat do not win this time, Malaysia will be the sick man of Asia.

    Do you know that Singapore has no such thing as a National Debt? And they don’t even have natural resources. That shows how well they have managed. Meanwhile, our currency value is falling compared to the Singaporean Dollar.

  3. The last 50 odd years the BN Government did’nt give the BR1M and other goodies to the Rakyat Malaysia. Why the last 2 years the BN spend billion of RM to please the Rakyat. What is all behind this. Either to make Malaysia to the brim of bankcruptcy or for other reason behind this. As you know the Government can afford to give such goodies the last few years as iti is know. The goodies increase from last years. What is BR1M can do for just ‘a few dollars more’. It can only be finish and gone in just a few days. What the Malaysian wants is cheaper goods and more jobs for the people particularly the jobless graduates and school leavers. Why did the Goverment try to create more jobs and employments to the residents of Malaysia. This would expedite money spending and turnover and speed up economy. More people would have more money to spend and Malaysian would be a rich country and Malaysia currency rate would be more than Singapore, Brunei. We would be prosperous and richer than both this countries because we have more manpower, more land and more natural resouces. Just think about this all Malaysian. As it is now only a few selective Malaysian become millioner and billioner.

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