Friday, September 28, 2012

Budget 2013 - PR's Version

It was a brilliant move when on Wednesday PR presented a “shadow Budget” – their version of Budget 2013 – which preempted Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Budget announcement today and even better, it will see more realistic and achievable targets for the Malaysian economy. It sets a target of 5.2% in economic growth with inflation rate projected at 3% while the deficit is expected to ease to 3.5%.

Other key points included:

Increase disposable income of Malaysians via measures such as cheaper car prices (i.e. reducing car excise duties by 20 percent), abolishment of tolls and waiver of student loans.

Hike the present RM300 welfare payment for the poor to RM550.

Boost oil royalty to 20 percent for petrol-producing states, apart from setting up state-based petroleum companies.

Introduce a tougher Anti-Trust Act and Anti-Trust Commission to break unfair monopolies.

Abolish the 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) – an entity which is the personal finance vehicle of Najib – and instead rightfully give that role back to Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the government’s investment holding arm.

Restructure the police force so that resources are properly channelled more towards crime-fighting and reduce surveillance on politicians.

Build the Pan-Borneo Highway from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu to realise its Kuching Declaration pledge during Malaysia Day.

Pledge towards achieving a balanced budget in five years.

The budget is expected to generate a revenue of RM197 billion, with a total expenditure of RM234 billion with operational expenditure making the bulk of it at RM185 billion and development expenses are projected to be RM49 billion.

Needless to say, BN morons were quick to criticize, castigate and condemn this alternative Budget. The Housing and Local Government Minister, Chor Chee Heung was reported to have chided the Oposiiton saying: “It is like their Buku Jingga and I have read that from cover to cover. It lacks credibility and will bankrupt the country in two years if it is implemented” (The Star, September 27, 2012, p 10). So now we know that Chor is a disfluent reader – he has poor reading skills! If only he has a wee bit of intelligence, he wouldn’t be where he is today!

Last evening, I went to Jalan Langkawi in Danau Kota, Setapak in KL to attend the One World Toastmasters meeting where I was the General Evaluator. It was kind of Vincent Soon to arrange it and I found this meeting to be cordial, congenial and clubby. Members of this in-house club actually looked forward to the meeting and I could sense their sparkling energy as I got to know them. This club has no pretensions and I liked their collective attitude. I have enjoyed myself abundantly and I am happy to give this meeting a score of an 8 out of a 10!

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