Selena Tay (FMT)
Homes of our rakyat are being torn down while an expensive ‘mansion’ is built for two pandas. This is the reality today.
The dispute whether Malaysia is secular or not is still ongoing. But is this controversy being cooked up to divert attention from the economic issues?
One of the major economic issue is of course the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
PAS Central Working Committee member and former Kuala Selangor MP, Dr.Dzulkefly Ahmad has requested the government to furnish the full list of goods that are to be GST exempted.
“The government should not delay on issuing the list. Is the government afraid of showing the list? Does this mean that only a few goods are GST-exempted?” asked Dzulkefly.
He added that he wants to study the list in detail so that it is in accordance with the government’s statement that GST will not burden the rakyat especially the low-income group.
Another problem plaguing the nation is cost overruns. Take for instance KLIA2. The construction was supposed to cost RM2 billion but it had shot up to RM3.6 billion.
Its targetted completion date was April 2012 but it only started operations in the first week of last month.
And then there is the humongous Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project with a massive bill of RM12.5 billion when its original cost was only to be RM1.1 billion.
As for the panda project, RM25 million was spent to build its habitat with RM15 million budgeted for its upkeep for ten years and RM30 million in total to be paid as rent to the Government of China.
What does all these expenditure show?
“Simply that the Malaysian government is not prudent in spending and the more they collect from the people the more they will spend. Therefore whatever is collected from the rakyat goes into a bottomless pit because no matter how much is collected, it will never be enough,” remarked William Leong, PKR’s Selayang MP.
This means that the GST will not help to lessen the fiscal deficit because even if RM100 billion is to be collected from GST, it will still be frittered away.
To-date the rakyat is helpless against this mismanagement because although we have complained and spoken out via social media, it is still continuing unabated as if this mismanagement has a will of its own and is showing defiance against the rakyat’s criticism.
And to add to these problems, there is already talk of a global economic slump in 2016.
The Malaysian government often says “Our fundamentals are strong, our economy is resilient…” but no one can really guarantee that Malaysia will be unaffected when the chips fall.
“All the wastages, leakages and cost overruns are taxing the nation’s coffers. If this continues, we will suffer when the global slump hits suddenly and this sort of thing is very sudden as what happened when the Asian financial crisis hit our shores in July 1997,” commented Shah Alam’s PAS MP, Khalid Samad.
By being complacent, many may find it too late to bail out by selling off their investments and this will cause their money to be stuck when the global slump hits.
Those who are sharp and intelligent will of course have sold off their investments and made a tidy sum before the situation turns bad which is projected to occur post April 1 next year after the implementation of the GST.
Due to lack of adequate information we should always proceed cautiously in this hazy economic climate. Although there is opportunity in every crisis, we do not need to step onto an investment minefield if we can avoid doing so. It is unwise to be aggressive in times that demand caution and prudence.
One should be cunning by learning up the investment game and finding out all the relevant, important and miscellaneous information pertaining to this field.
This is because at the end of the day, it is every man for himself and those who have made an investment loss have only themselves to blame.
From financial mismanagement to crime and religious disputes, the situation is not getting any better.
The foreign workers are still invading our shores. Just visit areas around Kota Raya and Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin in Kuala Lumpur and you will find yourself in ‘Dhaka’ while Jalan Chow Kit is populated by Indonesians and the Selayang wholesale market by Myanmarese.
And what is the government’s stand on all these matters? Elegant silence.
Earlier this month, PAS lawmakers and PKR’s Batu MP, Tian Chua had to assist the folks of Kg. Chubadak Tambahan whose houses were torn down.
Even KL City Hall’s (DBKL) foreign workers assisted in the clearing up of the debris.
Just imagine, homes of our rakyat are being torn down while an expensive ‘mansion’ is built for two pandas.
This is the reality today. Malaysia Boleh!
Selena Tay is a FMT columnist