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As the year is coming to a close..Dont we want justice on our shores too….?

December 31, 2016

Dzulkefly-Ahmad

December 30, 2016

The attorney-general should save whatever is left of our national pride, now that Singapore has convicted three people over transactions related to 1MDB, the US has taken forfeiture action, and Abu Dhabi has arrested two men.

COMMENT

By Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad

Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani recently commended Singapore’s financial regulators for sorting out, and acting against those involved in, money laundering matters linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

He was reported to have said: “So as far as Malaysia is concerned, we are going through that process”.

That is good. But, how much longer do we have to wait, honourable minister?

The year is coming to a close. While at least six jurisdictions are rigorously investigating and convicting those alleged to have been involved in the biggest financial scandal in the modern world, whose money trail spans over 10 countries, not a whimper is heard on our own shores.

Of the five countries now aggressively probing the matter, Singapore is the only one so far to have secured convictions. Three former bankers and wealth managers at BSI Bank have been convicted for forgery and failure to report suspicious transactions involving 1MDB.

Earlier, the Monetary Authority of Singapore shut down two private banks units – BSI and Falcon – and fined DBS Group, UBS and Standard Chartered Bank for lapses in money laundering controls.

Very recently, US federal judge Dale Fischer denied postponement of hearing in respect to documents filed by the Department of Justice, hence denying the motion by Jho Low and his family to delay hearing the 1MDB-related forfeiture of assets case in the US.

For its part, Abu Dhabi arrested Khadem Al-Qubaishi, ex-head of the Emirati government’s lnternational Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Mohamed Badawy al-Huseiny, former head of Aabar Investments PJS, both in relation to fraud and money laundering related to 1MDB.

Malaysia is the home of 1MDB. Those said to be the main players in the 1MDB saga are from Malaysia. It is embarrassing that law enforcement authorities in other countries are taking action, but we have yet to take anyone to court.

Is the attorney-general waiting for the 14th general election to be over before taking action?

Could we request, or, to put it appropriately, demand, that the attorney-general act on at least one person, as strongly recommended by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its report on 1MDB presented to parliament on April 7, 2016?

On page 106 of the report, the PAC had specifically and categorically stated that the former CEO of 1MDB, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, should be investigated.

Going by the PAC report, Shahrol had defied specific orders from 1MDB’s board of directors and taken actions contrary to the board’s instructions on several occasions. This included being instrumental in executing a telegraphic transfer for US$700 million to an account in RBS Coutts Bank Ltd, now proven to belong to Malaysian financier JhoLow.

Very regrettably, Attorney-General Apandi Ali had, according to reports, refused assistance to some of the countries conducting an investigation into transactions involving 1MDB.

It is with great shame that Malaysia has to admit that the 1MDB case has become a signature campaign in the global effort by prosecutors to crack down on kleptocracy, and the relative ease with which the super-rich move their money beyond the oversight of government and monetary authorities.

We now seek immediate action by the attorney-general to defend whatever there is left of our national pride and integrity.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is strategy director of Parti Amanah Negara.

Selangor Water Panel – ‘It Is About Political Will’ …Lest you’ve missed this.

December 1, 2016

Selangor Water Panel – ‘It Is About Political Will’

Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, Committee Member, Selangor Water Panel

29-Nov-16 11:34 (BFM Radio)

Former Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim alleges that there is more politics than real work being done by the Selangor Water Panel to resolve the water restructuring issue. In responding to this allegation, the Panel’s representative reminds the ex MB that despite his corporate experience he could not easily solve problem of the valuation of Syabas assets. It reassures the people of Selangor that it is doing its best.

This is a report by Ibrahim Sani and Sharaad Kuttan.

Tags: Syabas, PAAB, SPAN, WSIA, Abas, SPLASH, Federal, Najib Razak, Parliament, Dewan Negeri, Bandar Tun Razak, Pelabuhan Klang, ADUN, Kajang, Langat 2, Government/Regulatory/Policy Making, Politics, News, Current Affairs

KENYATAAN MEDIA PANEL AIR SELANGOR : ISU PENGAMBILALIHAN SPLASH

November 18, 2016

KENYATAAN MEDIA PANEL AIR SELANGOR

ISU PENGAMBILALIHAN SPLASH

Kerajaan Negeri Selangor telah menubuhkan “Panel Penilai Air” (Panel) pada tahun 2009 yang berfungsi untuk membantu Kerajaan Negeri menyempurnakan pelan Penstrukturan Industri Bekalan Air Negeri Selangor (Penstrukturan).

Umum amat memahami akan keperluan penstrukturan ini akibat kegagalan penswastaan air di seluruh negara, yang menyaksikan kedudukan industri yang ‘fragmented’ dan pemberian kontrak konsesi yang berat sebelah atau tidak adil.

Setiap usaha pengambilalihan SPLASH di maklumkan kepada Panel. Panel memandang serius perbincangan berlanjutan mengenai usaha Penstrukturan iaitu pengambilalihan entiti konsesi Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH).

Panel telah mengambil maklum usaha ini masih di dalam peringkat perundingan antara Kerajaan Persekutuan, Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dan SPLASH. Di dalam beberapa sesi penjelasan itu, Kerajaan Negeri sentiasa menekankan terma-terma pengambilalihan mestilah berasaskan kepada prinsip keadilan, tidak membebankan rakyat dan pengguna.

Mutakhir, Panel dimaklumkan bahawa Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air (KeTTHA) memerlukan tempoh rundingan dilanjutkan selama 6 (enam) bulan untuk memuktamadkan Penstrukturan berkenaan.

Panel juga maklum bahawa pihak Kerajaan Negeri Selangor telah mengambil tindakan lebih awal untuk melantik penilai bebas bagi membuat penilaian ke atas SPLASH.

‘Input’ dan cadangan kami telah dimajukan kepada Kerajaan Negeri. Tindakan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor melantik penilai bebas serta mendapatkan input dari Panel adalah langkah yang amat wajar supaya penilaian yang adil dan professional dapat dibuat dalam pengambilalihan SPLASH.

Tegasnya Kerajaan Negeri belum memuktamadkan penilaian serta pengambilalihan SPLASH sepertimana tohmahan YB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim melalui media dan laman facebook serta tweeter beliau. Tuduhan bahawa Kerajaan Negeri telah memuktamadkan dan menawarkan RM2.7billion kepada pihak SPLASH adalah amat tidak bertanggungjawab.

YB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim juga mendesak supaya perbincangan pengambilalihan SPLASH hendaklah dibahas di Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor. Namun, beliau sendiri lupa bahawa banyak perihal tawaran-tawaran beliau sendiri lakukan kepada kesemua  syarikat konsesi sejak tahun 2009, tidak langsung dibahas seperti desakan beliau mutakhir ini.

Juga begitu keputusan memulangkan kembali “non water assets” yang dimiliki oleh Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd kepada Puncak Niaga Holdings Berhad, yang merupakan nilai “substantial” berjumlah RM577 juta tidak langsung dirujuk kepada Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor.

Panel amat maklum akan kesukaran menetapkan nilai kepada semua pihak yang terlibat di dalam usaha Penstrukturan. Walaupun YB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim mendakwa beliau menawarkan nilai ekuiti kepada SPLASH hanya RM250juta, tetapi Panel mendapati nilai ekuiti sebenar yang pernah ditawarkan oleh YB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim kepada SPLASH secara bertulis pada tahun 2009 adalah jauh lebih tinggi iaitu RM1.579billion.

Panel sekali lagi tegaskan akan kesukaran untuk menetapkan satu cara penentuan penilaian yang sama untuk mencapai keadilan buat semua pemilik konsesi kerana pelbagai faktor-faktor perbezaan sejarah pengkorporatan, terma-terma konsesi dan sebagainya.

Panel akan terus menekankan amalan “best practice” dilaksanakan serta merujuk amalan pakar kewangan dan korporat dalam membantu Kerajaan Negeri untuk memuktamadkan penstrukturan ini.

Akhir sekali, Panel mengharapkan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor akan dapat merumuskan Penstrukturan yang adil dan munasabah berasaskan kepada prinsip keadilan, tidak membebankan rakyat dan pengguna.

Ahli-ahli Panel Air Selangor:

YB Tony Pua, Ahli Parlimen PJ Utara

YB Charles Santiago, Ahli Parlimen Klang

YB William Leong, Ahli Parlimen Selayang

YB Ir Haji Mohd Haslin bin Hassan, Ahli Dewan Negeri Tanjung Sepat

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Pengarah Strategi, Parti Amanah Negara

18 November 2016.

‘Anjakan dasar luar’ ke China kerana saman DOJ? – A Dangerous Game!

November 8, 2016
Dzulkefly Ahmad     4 Nov 2016, 3:47 petang     4 Nov 2016, 3:51 petang (revised version).

 

Politik negara kita ini sememangnya tidak pernah sunyi dengan keterujaan. Tidak pernah ada saat-saat bosan dalam politik Malaysia mengikut pengamatan cerdik pandai politik atau pundit politik.

Cuma apabila pimpinan nombor satu disaksikan membuat ‘anjakan besar’, dentumannya jauh lebih dahsyat.

Ya, Datuk Seri Najib Razak berhak membuat apa pun kegiatan pelaburan dan di mana beliau merasakan wajar dan perlu, terkini di China yang menelan ratusan bilion ringgit, RM144 secara tepat.

Namun ‘menjual’ negara secara berlebihan dan melampau, tamabahan jika termasuk aspek keselamatan, bukan perkara biasa. Agak keterlaluan.

Pelbagai ‘cerita biasa’ akibat urusniaga bobrok sudah mula terbit tentang perihal pelaburan ini, menelan puluhan bilion ringgit. Contohnya kos East Coast Rail Link yang dinaggarkan olih RM30bilion olih pakar-pakar melonjak ke paras RM55bilion mengikut Najib dan RM46bilion mengikut laman web China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Malang!

Mungkin juga releven mengingatkan Najib kata hikmat Guru Pelaburan: “Jangan letak semua telur dalam bakul yang sama”. Najib pastinya faham tetapi punyai perhitungan tersendiri.

Tambahan serangan tajam Najib ketika dalam lawatan ke negara China, yang diarah khusus kepada “bekas kuasa penjajah” sekaligus dibaca sebagai ‘anjakan dasar luar’ Malaysia.

Najib baru saja bermain golf bersama Presiden Amerika Syarikat (AS) Barack Obama. Dunia tahu.

Apakah punca peralihan ini? Jelas saman sivil Jabatan Kehakiman (DOJ).

Bukan saja kerana anak tirinya Riza Aziz disebut dalam saman DOJ, Najib juga disebut dengan nama Malaysian Official 1 ( MO1). Beliau tentunya amat gusar dan tersangat berang.

Kendatipun demikian, apakah kerana imej atau maruahnya tercalar lalu Najib membuat perubahan dasar luar Malaysia?

Isu bipartisan

Persoalan maha besarnya ialah, wajar dan layakkah Najib membuat penetapan dasar luar yang mempunyai impak geopolitik dan risiko strategik ketika dalam kedudukan yang nyata dilihat sebagai tidak kukuh atau compromised?

Putrajaya, kabinet dan parlimen mesti membahaskan perkara ini secara serius dan penting kerana berpotensi meletakkan, bahkan meledakkan negara dalam kedudukan compromised serta terdedah kepada kuasa hegemoni baru di rantau ini yakni China, secara asymmetrical atau tidak seimbang.

Neologism Chinese Century bukan satu omongan kosong khususnya di rantau ini. Memjerumuskan negara dalam persaingan kuasa hegemoni di antara dua kuasa dunia ini terutamanya akibat kepentingan diri dan keluarga, perlu lebih dicermati dan ditekuni keseluruhan dampaknya.

Pastinya langkah ini ditanggapi bijak pandai atau pundit strategi sebagai paling tidak bijak bahkan outrightly reckless atau tidak bertanggungjawab.

Perubahan dasar luar dinilai dengan faktor-faktor kritikal geostrategik secara menyeluruh dan seimbang.

Demi cinta kepada negara, harap perkara ini mendapat perhatian wakil pilihan rakyat di Dewan Rakyat dari kedua belah pihak. Ini adalah isu bipartisan.


DZULKEFLY AHMAD pengarah strategi Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH).

Jomo’s take on what ails the Malaysian economy..’there is a paralysis in economic planning’ (despite GTP, ETP, EPPs, NKRA, NKEA etc tells a lot ya..where is NEM then?).

November 5, 2016

Saturday, 5 November 2016 | MYT 12:00 AM

Jomo’s take on what ails the Malaysian economy

 

DOES having a balanced budget really matters?

No, according to Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

The prominent economist stresses what’s important is how the Government spends its money annnually to generate meaningful growth for the country’s economy. But sadly, that is something that is sorely lacking in the Malaysian context.

Not one to mince his words, Jomo says Malaysia has been running on “humdrum” budget deficits for the last two decades, without any serious effort to put the country’s economy on a sustainable growth path.

As he sees it, the country is presently mired in a political crisis that has led to a paralysis in effective economic policymaking. Reform measures have somewhat stalled, and there is a self-defeating illusion that the country’s economy is moving in the right direction, and that it will become a high-income nation in the next four years.

Jomo says Malaysia needs bold leadership to implement bold measures that can take the country’s economy to the next level of growth.

A visiting senior fellow at Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) and visiting fellow at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, Jomo holds the Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia.

He has been based in Malaysia since coming back about a year ago after having been based overseas for about 12 years.

The former United Nations assistant secretary-general for economic development is one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming Malaysian-French International Conference entitled “Malaysian Capitalism in Comparative Perspective” that is jointly organised by KRI, the Embassy of France in Malaysia and Malaysia-France University Centre.

According to Jomo, there are enough people in the country who know what ails the Malaysian economy.

But unless we come to terms with where we are, where our potential lies and how we go forward from here, he says, we will not go very far.

Jomo shares his thoughts on Malaysia’s economy with StarBizWeek in an exclusive interview. Below are excerpts of the interview:

How far have we come since the 2008/2009 Global financial crisis?

One would think that we would have learnt some lessons from past crises, but unfortunately, we haven’t really learned many lessons from them.

We have seen some of the same forces which are pushing for financial liberalisation and globalisation continue to do the same thing again in recent years through so-called free trade agreements, investment treaties and so on so forth.

These same kind of forces (which have led to economic bubbles) are at work; we seem not to have learnt many lessons from it. We continue to allow these processes to go on.

But of course, it is difficult to fully anticipate what is going to happen next. I don’t think anybody can claim prior knowledge of where the next vulnerabilities are going on.

Is Malaysia in a good position to respond to another potential economic downturn?

There is paralysis in economic policymaking.

To me, this is the most important problem in the country.

We have a profoundly deep political crisis right now which has overtaken everything else. We need to have some kind of bold leadership to get out of this.

This Government is so profoundly debilitated by the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal and the considerations of political survival that it is not about to undertake the bold initiatives which are needed.

This is a very sad situation that we are confronted with and there has to be some kind of resolutions to this dilemma.

My concern is that there are so many powerful vested interests who will fight to preserve and protect their interests and that they will resort to all kinds of means – more foul than fair – in order to protect their interests and the future of the country is at risk.

Your thoughts on Budget 2017?

Frankly, these are hardly important issues anymore. It is a bit more of the same, a little tweaking here and there.

The budget today is not of much significance, given the larger malaise the country is facing.

And I think it is very important to recognise that now we have so many supplementary budgets, we can be sure there will be a supplementary budget before the next general election.

On achieving near-balanced budget by 2020:

There are many people who have been telling me that everything is going to collapse because Malaysia does not have enough to pay and service debts. Most of these claims are due to exaggeration or a lack of understanding of public finance.

As far as balancing the budget is concerned, if you don’t know the situation in 2020, why do you promise to balance the budget by 2020?

Rather than making a promise that may or may not be realised, I think what we need to understand is that the Government in general should have what I call a counter-cyclical policy.

The budget can be a useful tool in trying to smoothen business cycles.

When the economy is doing well, you would want to have a balanced budget and settle as much of your accumulated debt as possible.

Conversely, when the economy is not doing so well, you would want to stimulate the economy with the help of government spending, especially that which is well-spent, rather than just giving jobs to the boys, which is not going to do very much in terms of stimulating the economy.

Then, is it not a concern that Malaysia has been running on fiscal deficit since 1999 and the Government’s debt level has been rising in recent years?

It is a concern because we did not take bolder measures to revive the economy.

We have been more or less having humdrum budget deficits for the last two decades but no serious effort to put the economy back on a sustainable growth path.

So I would say the problem is not so much of a budget deficit problem, but rather we are not on a growth path which is sustainable and which would ensure living standards rise.

Have we made much progress in adopting a new economic model?

There were some good elements in it (the new economic model that the Government unveiled in 2010), but they remain very much on paper.

Besides the measures to provide more for the lower-income group – such as the minimum wage policy and the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), which has been implemented with good effect – I cannot say I’m terriby excited by the model as a whole.

It puts a lot of emphasis on modern services, by which it implies financial services more than anything else, maybe some IT services. But we do not have supportive measures.

We have been historically so heavily dependent on foreign direct investments rather than helping to nurture Malaysian industrialists and entrepreneurs in ways which will eventually enable them to become internationally competitive.

If we think about Japan, South Korea and even more recently China, it is those kind of nurturing policies which made it possible for these countries to grow, industrialise and transform themselves very rapidly.

This is why I think we are under a lot of illusion if we think we can leapfrog the industrial stage and go straight to services.

We cannot compare ourselves to Hong Kong or Singapore because we are a different type of economy and we cannot neglect that.

For example, when we look at the agriculture sector, which has been greatly neglected in Malaysia, we have to think in terms of modern agriculture. But we have not been able to have that kind of supportive measures to gain much from the sector.

We need to fundamentally rethink this and stop following international trends as espouse by international institutions such as the World Bank; and really begin to have a better understanding of the Malaysian economy – of its strength, of its potential and then building on that.

Let’s face it, many of the elements of this so-called middle-income trap are actually of our own making.

On the huge number of foreign workers in Malaysia, we need a medium-term development strategy which is far less reliant on cheap foreign workers.

I’m not suggesting we totally do away with foreign workers because we may well want foreign workers to supplement the skilled resources that we need, but we must move away from low-wage economic model. Unfortunely, there has been very little commitment in this area.

Do you think Malaysia is still stuck in a middle-income trap?

I don’t agree with the idea of a middle-income trap. It is an empty slogan and profoundly misspecifies the nature of the Malaysian problem.

The problem is, while Malaysians in general have higher incomes now, they are not directly based on the economy. We have an economy where living conditions and wages are very low in agriculture, and we as a nation benefits from the (cost) competitive agriculture that we have.

We have also abandoned our past policy emphasis on industrialisation; we have not progressed sufficiently to higher and more rapid industrialisation.

Can Malaysia achieve high-income status by 2020?

We are under an illusion of becoming a so-called developed country.

By 2020, I’m not surprised that we will achieve the status of high-income economy (as defined by the World Bank as having a gross national income of US$12,475 in 2015).

We can easily do it by statistical means. For example, if you continue to deny the number of foreign workers in the country, then your denominator for calculating per capita income goes down tremendously. So, you can reach the supposed high-income status.

There are about six to seven million of foreign workers in Malaysia and that makes up about 30%-40% of the country’s total labour force. And many of whom work and live in far worse conditions than even the poorest Malaysian workers.

We have a huge underclass, which is foreign, and which we are almost in deniable about.

These numbers are significant and we are kidding ourselves.

Is Malaysia losing its competitiveness to its regional peers?

A country’s competitiveness is not defined in terms of regional competitiveness. It is defined globally.

So, what are we doing to be globally competitive?

We should be happy that other countries in the region such as Indonesia are progressing, but that should spur us to continue to excel.

But you don’t think of excelling only in terms of your neighbours. You have to think of excelling because globalisation is a real phenomenon.

 

Dangerous for Najib to make major shift in foreign policy in his ‘compromised’ position.

November 4, 2016

Dzulkefly: Is Najib’s China tilt flawed and misguided?

| November 3, 2016

The Amanah politician, saying foreign policy should be made after deep consideration, fears Najib’s sudden policy shift may not be good for the country.

PETALING JAYA: The shift in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s foreign policy from the United States (US) to China may have been clouded by the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) civil suits, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.

The Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) strategic director added that this was the global perception following the historical bilateral deal worth RM144 billion entered into by Malaysia and China.

“The whole world knows that Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, is one of the defendants in the DoJ’s suits.

“Hence, it appears that Najib, by taking Riza to China in his delegation’s private plane, was being oblivious to the global community’s decorum, much less perception and sensitivities.

“Added to the bilateral deal, this has led to the perception that there is a shift in his foreign policy, tilting more towards China than the US. It has raised some pertinent questions, such as whether the move was due to the DoJ civil suits,” he said.

The DoJ has filed forfeiture suits against several individuals and organisations, claiming that the assets named had been bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

According to Dr Dzulkefly, the shift has also been perceived as one made based on the “self-centred judgement of one individual”, the prime minister. This, he said, had placed the country’s sovereignty at risk.

“Changes to foreign policies must be critically based on strategic and geopolitical considerations.

“But with the various projects amounting to RM144 billion, which is about 10 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product, Najib can’t avoid having the global community perceiving the move as one that is motivated by the DoJ lawsuits.

“The deal has given China a massive leverage in trade with Malaysia and this has led to the former being seen as bailing Najib out of the colossal losses caused by 1MDB.”

Dr Dzulkefly also claimed that Najib’s closer ties and seen pandering to China at the expense of his relationship with the US, had placed Malaysia in the same league as the Philippines (latest Zimbabwe)  and into the fold of China’s supremacist doctrine. This was both flawed and misguided, he said.

“This is so strange as it is happening at a time when Najib is not in a position to be making commitments that are this big. In his ‘compromised’ position, making major shift like this is both dangerous and reckless.”

Among the 14 agreements and memoranda of understanding signed between Malaysia and China are those for the construction of the Melaka Gateway Project and the proposed purchase of land and development in Bandar Malaysia.

Najib, in announcing this on Tuesday, said the amount of these deals was the biggest ever recorded in conjunction with his official visit overseas, making it a historic achievement.

Bajet PM @NajibRazak ‘muruku’ pengalas perut 2017…sila sekarang banding dgn Bajet 2017 Negeri Selangor MB @AzminAli …hehe.

November 1, 2016

Bajet Najib ‘muruku’ pengalas perut 2017

Ya, menteri kewangan berjaya merumuskan belanjawan 2017 dengan ‘cemerlang’. Syabas!

Pastinya hampir seluruh segmen rakyat diberikan peruntukan bagi menyuntik rasa sedap. Tidak ada yang dipinggirkan. Datuk Seri Najib Razak berjaya mencetuskan faktor rasa enak (the feel-good factor).

Tetapi selama mana rakyat boleh lega dan rasa sedap dan enak itu? Selama ada makanan itu dalam mulut sebagai ‘alas perut’. Persis tetamu diberikan hidangan muruku ketika bertandang di rumah rakan menyambut perayaan Deepavali.

Tak sedapkah muruku ini? Sedap. Tetapi kalau sampai ke malam tetamu masih menguyah muruku, tentunya pelik dan ada yang tidak kena.

Nah, kami nobatkan Belanjawaan 2017 ini sebagai Bajet Muruku Najib Razak! Tulisan ini bertanggungjawab meyakinkan anda akan ketepatan keputusan kami.

Buat permulaan, berikut adalah peringatan fakta anggaran perbelanjaan dan sedikit komentar awal tentang perihal itu.

Anggaran Perbelanjaan Persekutuan yang diperakukan bagi 2017 berjumlah RM262,800 juta. Perbelanjaan mengurus sebanyak RM214,800 juta sementara perbelanjaan pembangunan disediakan peruntukan sebanyak RM48,000 juta atau 18.3 peratus.

Daripada peruntukan pembangunan ini, hanya RM25.9 bilion sahaja untuk sektor ekonomi, manakala selebihnya untuk sektor sosial, keselamatan dan pentadbiran am.

Kaedah mengurangkan peruntukan pembangunan sememang menjadi tabiat Najib. Peruntukan untuk memacu pembangunan ekonomi khasnya – sejak beliau mengambil alih negara – sengaja secara diluar bajet (off-budget spending).

Hutang-hutang itu tidak dikira atau tidak nampak dalam penyata kewangan (balance sheet) sebagai aset dan hutang sebagai liabiliti. Dengan kata lain hutang-hutangnya ‘tersembunyi’. Maka kewangan negara (atau syarikat) nampak sihat (heatlhy).

Tema terpanjang sejak merdeka

Laporan Ketua Audit Negara pada 2012 contohnya menggemparkan rakyat yang faham kewangan, kerana tiba-tiba nama PFI Sdn Bhd – anak syarikat milik kerajaan – berhutang sebanyak RM28 bilion.

Tabiat berbelanja diluar kawalan pemantauan parlimen ini jugalah – antara lain, pada hemat saya – menatijahkan fenomena skandal supermega 1MDB.

Maka defisit fiskal nisbah KDNK seolah-olah terus turun daripada 3.8 peratus pada 2013 kepada 3.4 peratus pada 2014 dan 3.2 peratus pada 2015.

Untuk 2016, kerajaan mengharapkan defisit fiskal akan dapat diturunkan ke paras 3.1 peratus KDNK dan 3.0 peratus untuk 2017.

Hakikatnya pastinya tidak begitu.

Penelitian Laporan Ekonomi 2016/2017 yang diterbitkan kementerian kewangan akan menemukakan kita dengan fakta bahawa syarikat awam bukan kewangan (SABK) yang terdiri daripada 29 syarikat-kaitan berkaitan kerajaan (GLC) seumpama Indah Water Konsortium, KTM Bhd, Telekom Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines Bhd, Malaysia Airport Holdings, Prasarana, Syarikat Perumahan Negara, Tenaga Nasional, MRT Co, UEM Group dan banyak lagi, juga berhutang dengan jumlah yang besar.

Laporan tersebut menunjukkan bahawa SABK ini masih punya hutang berbaki sebanyak RM50,472 juta (atau RM50.5 bilion). Pembayaran hutang (debt services) kerajaan pusat pula dilaporkan dalam bajet pada paras RM28.8 bilion setahun untuk 2017.

Itu tidak termasuk hutang RM20 bilion, juga ditanggung kerajaan akibat angkara rompakan ke atas 1MDB.

Tema belanjawan Najib – andainya anda terlupa kerana seronok menguyah ‘muruku’ – ialah “Menjamin Perpaduan dan Pertumbuhan Ekonomi, Menghemah Perbelanjaan Inklusif, Mensejahtera Kehidupan Rakyat Seluruh”. Tahniah Najib! Tema belanjawaan paling panjang sejak merdeka.

Seandainya penulis diminta mengulas belanjawan Najib tentang perihal seluruh ‘pemberian muruku atau gula-gula’ ini kepada semua segmen rakyat nescaya habis ruang penulisan ini. Tentu tidak besar menafaatnya. Cukup secara kritis dan secara selektif. Kita mulakan.

Kita jawab dulu sama ada ini belanjawan pilihan raya atau tidak, sebab ada yang mendakwa ia tidak mungkin kerana peruntukan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) hanya RM48.6 juta saja.

Anggaran tak realistik

SPR diperuntukkan RM150.6 juta pada 2016, antara lainnya untuk menjalankan pilihan raya negeri Sarawak. Pada Bajet 2013, SPR mendapat peruntukan mega RM461.6 juta untuk mengurus pilihan raya umum (PRU) ke-13. Jadi bagaimana?

Komentar saya, tanggapan seperti ini punya risiko. Ini mungkin langkah Najib secara taktikal untuk decoy (tipu) pembangkang. Pada bila-bila masa Najib boleh membentangkan Anggaran Perbelanjaan Tambahan’ (Supplementary Budget) kalau beliau sudah cukup yakin mampu menang pada tahun depan. Hati-hati dan jangan terleka.

Perumusan Bajet 2017 ini dan ditambah dengan cara Najib membentangkannya berjaya melupakan rakyat akan kedudukan ekonomi negara sebenarnya.

Pendapatan negara terus menurun sejak 2015 iaitu daripada RM235.2 bilion kepada anggaran RM225.7 bilion pada 2016. Bajet 2017 menganggarkan pendapatan itu turun lagi kepada RM219.7 bilion. Anggaran angka itu pun tidak realistik.

Sementara itu pendapatan hasil cukai pendapatan petroleum (PITA) menurun daripada RM11.6 bilion pada 2015 kepada RM8.5 bilion. Apakah asas jangkaan Najib bahawa ramalan pendapatan daripada PITA akan meningkat ke tahap RM10.6 bilion?

Begitu juga kedudukan cukai pendapatan korporat (CITA) yang dijangkakan akan meningkat ketika Putrajaya tahu kadar pertumbuhan negara tidak begitu memberangsangkan. Ramalan untuk mendapatkan RM69.2 bilion – sekali lagi – agak tinggi. Pihak korporat hanya mampu menjana RM63.2 bilion pada 2016 ini.

Pun begitu ramalan untuk mendapatkan pungutan dari cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) untuk 2017 akan melonjak ke paras RM40 bilion daripada RM38.5 bilion pada 2016. Apa asas Najib menjangkakan rakyat akan berbelanja besar? Adakah sebab diberi BRIM (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia)?

Persoalan besar buat kami ialah keengganan Najib berterus terang tentang kedudukan sebenar ekonomi, atau dengan kata lain, dia buat pekak saja.

Denyut nadi masyarakat

Kembali kepada topik asal. Persoalan besar yang perlu dijawab Najib ialah sejauh mana Bajet 2017 mampu merungkaikan permasalahan rakyat.

Sememang dijangkakan BRIM akan dinaikkan. Tetapi penambahan 54 sen sehari untuk kelompok penerima BRIM bergadi di bawah RM3000 sebulan, apakah dapat membantu mereka menangani kos sara hidup sedangkan gaji mereka tidak naik berkadar dengan inflasi?

Memetik kajian orang awam (NST, 22 Okt 2016) Pengurus perhubungan raya, Melinda Ambrose, 30, menyatakan kenaikan RM200 tidak bemakna bagi mereka yang layak menerima BRIM sebab ia tidak banyak membantu perbelanjaan seharian apabila kos sara hidup telah meningkat.

“Apa yang kami perlukan ialah mengurangkan kadar tol dan perkhidmatan nurseri percuma supaya ibu-ibu mampu berkerja,” katanya.

Nah, kerajaan patut tahu denyut nadi rakyat.

Kalau asalnya hanya golongan Bottom-40 (B-40), tetapi sekarang Putrajaya bermurah hati melanjutkan BRIM kepada golongan Middle-40 (M-40).

BRIM tidak wajar dijadikan program jangka jauh. Takut-takut Malaysia akan segera menjadi ikon BRIM-Economy dalam liga negara-negara maju sedikit waktu lagi!

Apa sebenarnya yang mahu dicapai Bajet 2017? Kalaulah seperti yang selalu didakwa Putrajaya bahawa kaedah perumusan belanjawan digunakan mereka ialah Outcome-Based Budgeting (Bajet Berdasarkan Natijah-Keputusan) maka apakah outcome yang mahu dicapai?

Apakah peningkatan hutang 3 sektor – korporat, isi rumah dan kerajaan? Pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia sebenarnya dipacu hutang (debt-based growth) melalui debt-based consumption (perbelanjaan berhutang). Pertumbuhan dipacu permintaan domestik dengan berhutang besar. Itu model yang tidak mapan. Pertumbuhan mesti dipacu produktiviti.

Lebih khusus lagi, sejauh manakah Bajet 2017 – sebagai alat fiskal jangka pendek, berbanding dengan program pembangunan sederhana tengah dan jangka panjang (seumpama RMK) – mampu mengatasi beberapa persoalan besar seperti penekanan terhadap penjanaan pekerjaan (employment) yang memberi regim upah lebih tinggi? Apakah memadai dengan selama-lamanya menjadi pemandu Uber saja buat kelompok B-40 bahkan M-40?

Ya, sejauh manakah Bajet 2017 ini diyakini dapat membantu meningkatkan tahap produktiviti pekerja di negara ini sekaligus memberi peluang pekerjaan dan ruang untuk menjana pendapatan dan upah yang lebih tinggi? Ini yang dituntut Gen-Y dan semua rakyat. Seramai 60,000 orang diberhentikan kerja mutakhir ini dan ada 200,000 graduan menganggur.

Untuk peringatan, Najib mengakui dalam ucapannya, hanya 2.1 juta daripada 14.6 juta warga kerja (atau 14 peratus) yang mampu atau perlu membayar cukai pendapatan. Itu membuktikan hakikat kedudukan tahap gaji atau wage regime adalah rendah di negara ini. Sepatutnya juga asas pemilikan rumah mesti bersandarkan pendapatan yang munasabah (decent).

Dengan demikian barulah akan terlaksana “pemilikan yang berhemah”. Bukan dengan cara meningkatkan kelayakan pinjaman penjawat awam berhutang dan pengenalan pelbagai skim rumah mampu milik! Kita bimbang takut-takut hanya mampu tengok! Sekali lagi, asas dan dasarnya ialah ‘pendapatan yang bermaruah’ – a decent income – dengan izin.

Sememangnya diakui pelbagai peruntukan dirumus bagi meningkatkan pusat vokasional, politeknik dan pembangunan ketrampilan teknikal (TVET) untuk keperluan industri. Namun potongan peruntukan hampir 20 peratus kepada 20 institusi pengajian tinggi awam dalam belanjawan pengurusan perbelanjaan pasti akan menjejaskan prestasi pusat-pusat pengajian tinggi awam negara yang baru memasukki radar ranking dunia.

Potongan dana penyelidikan adalah tidak wajar kalau outcome-based budgeting meletakkan kepentingan melahirkan kreativiti dan inovasi sebagai kunci dalam merancakkan kegiatan ekonomi berteraskan pengetahuan. Peruntukan RM300 juta yang dikongsikan bersama lima universiti penyelidikan tidak memberi keutamaan yang sewajarnya. Jangan sedap pada retorik sahaja.

Sementara itu, amat mustahak memperteguhkan institusi-institusi kritikal bagi menyemakkan imbang ketempangan semua pihak termasuk penguasa politik atau parti pemerintah dan pihak birokrat.

Cerita little Napolean semakin menjadi-jadi. Songlap RM114 juta dana Jabatan Air Sabah adalah salah satu contoh mutakhir. Sudah jadi budaya perihal songlap dan rompakan seperti ini.

Apakah preskripsi dan peruntukan Bajet 2017 untuk mendepani gejala ini secara konkrit dan serius? Langsung tidak disinggung. Umum amat fahami kedudukan menteri kewangan.

Namun, untuk Najib kekal dalam penafian bahkan meletakkan kesalahan kepada pembangkang kesan rosaknya persepsi masyarakat pelabur antarabangsa adalah paling tidak sopan dan tidak bermoral.

Agar Belanjawaan 2017 tidak menjadi sekadar ‘Bajet Muruku’ untuk mengalas perut, amat mustahak untuk semua pihak menggembleng tenaga memainkan peranan menjaga maruah dan keutuhan kedaulatan tanah air tercinta ini. Memerangi apa jua jenis kezaliman dan kemungkaran, termasuk di bidang kemungkaran ekonomi dan memajukan tadbir urus kewangan adalah tangungjawab bersama.


DR DZULKEFLY AHMAD pengarah strategi Parti Amanah Negara.

Bajet muruku Najib, enak sampai bila?

October 27, 2016
 

Persoalan besar buat kami ialah keengganan Najib berterus terang mengenai kedudukan ekonomi sebenar atau dengan kata lain, dia buat pekak sahaja.

Oleh Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (FMT)

dzulkifly-ahmad

Menteri kewangan Datuk Seri Najib Razak berjaya merumuskan “bajet pilihan raya” dengan cemerlang. Syabas!

Pastinya hampir seluruh segmen rakyat diberikan peruntukan bagi menyuntik rasa sedap. Tidak ada yang dipinggirkan. Perdana menteri berjaya mencetuskan “rasa enak” atau “feel-good factor”…….…Baca seterusnya..

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