Saturday, October 27, 2012

Donald Lim Talks Rubbish on Selangor Affordable Housing

On Tuesday 23 October 2012, Datuk Donald Lim claimed in parliament that the Selangor state government has not built a single unit of low-cost or medium cost housing during its four years of administration.

He said "Di Selangor sudah lebih empat tahun, sebiji rumah pun tidak dibina untuk rakyat Selangor sama ada kos rendah atau sederhana. Memang ini... " (Hansard 23/10/12)

After being "corrected" in Parliament, Datuk Donald Lim attempted to change his allegations in Parliament with a press conference yesterday.

This time, he alleged that of the 23,637 units of affordable homes planned for Selangor, only 287 have been built. He said that is barely 1% of the total number and hence it is as good as zero built.  He stated that this information is disclosed in the reply by the Selangor State Executive Council to the state assembly sitting in April this year.

We have checked the official response by the State Exco. It is true that "only" 287 units of low-cost units have been completed while 826 are under construction.

However, Datuk Donald Lim appears to have conveniently read only half the response by the state government.  The same reply to the Dewan also stated that 5,526 units of low-medium and medium cost housing have been completed!  The Minister had claimed that there were none built at all!

So out of the total of 23,637 low and medium cost homes planned by the state government, 5,813 has already been completed. This is a commendable 25% completion within a few years of administration. As a civil engineer himself, sure Datuk Lim would know that planning, approving and constructing houses isn't like ordering a plate of char koay teow, where you will be served in 10 minutes.

The 25% is a far cry from the 1% alleged by the Deputy Finance Minister and definitely not "zero" as misled by him in Parliament.

Today, we have made a site visit to Seksyen 3, Bandar Baru Bangi within the Serdang constituency with Bangi ADUN Shafie bin Abu Bakar on one of the soon-to-be-completed 124 units of affordable homes (picture attached). We have made an open invitation to the Selangor MCA Chief to visit the site or any other sites in Selangor since he claimed that he is completely clueless about low-cost and affordable housing projects in Selangor.

The Selangor Government is also building 135 units of affordable homes at Sungai Long (within Serdang constituency) to be completed before the end of the year. Other affordable projects in the state include one in Seksyen U10, Shah Alam, where 536 units will be built.  As an initial step, the state has set the price for affordable houses (800-1,000 sq feet) for middle-income earners at between RM85,000 and RM120,000.  Selangor residents with households between RM2,500 and RM5,000 can apply for it.  Those interested may purchase the application form at Level 5 of SUK Building, Shah Alam at the price of RM5.

We would also like to remind the Minister of 2 further issues. Firstly, the statistics above only covers projects directly under the state government and the subsidiaries it own.  It does not include the thousands of units built by the private sector as mandated by the state government.

Secondly, we would like to emphasize in no uncertain terms that the responsibility to build affordable housing is that of the Federal Government under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, headed by Datuk Lim's colleague, Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung.  It is because the Federal Government has failed to fulfil its obligations that the state governments of Selangor and Penang are forced to step in to build affordable homes to ease the burden of the rakyat.

Datuk Donald Lim should hence get his own house in order first before attempting to discredit the Selangor Government under Pakatan Rakyat. He should also stop digging a deeper hole for himself by conceding that he has made a blunder in Parliament and withdraw his irresponsible remark that the Selangor government has not built a single unit of low or medium cost housing in the state.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jamaluddin Jarjis' Kids Got Stake in Malindo

Malindo part-owned by JJ’s kids, MP alleges
UPDATED @ 07:06:10 PM 24-10-2012 By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor October 24, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 ― The children of senior Barisan Nasional (BN) politician Datuk Jamaluddin Jarjis have an indirect stake in Malindo Airways, a newly set-up airline that has been criticised for the lack of clarity surrounding its financial and safety records, a lawmaker alleged today

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua drew the link through a search with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), which showed that one of Malindo’s investors ― Malaysia’s National Aerospace and Defence Industries Sdn Bhd (NADI) ― is part owned by DZJJ Sdn Bhd, which in turn lists Jamaluddin’s two children as directors [and shareholders].

Pua added that according to CCM’s information on NADI, the firm had failed to file is audited accounts from 2007, casting even more suspicion on the state of its finances.

Documents obtained from CCM showed that for the year 2007, NADI reported revenue of RM307.3 million and post-tax profit of RM90.5 million.

It also had RM684 million in current assets and RM496 million in current liabilities in 2007.

He repeated his earlier allegation that NADI’s partner in Malindo ― Indonesia’s Indonesia’s PT Lion Grup, which operates Lion Air ― has also run afoul of the industry authorities numerous times over its failure to comply with safety guidelines.

Pua had previously pointed out that Lion Air is on the list of airlines banned in the European Union since 2007 due to safety concerns.

According to previous media reports, Lion Air has also been denied membership in the International Air Transport Association (IATA). A search on IATA’s website confirmed that Lion Air is not a member.

“These issues were raised before but until today, no response has been given,” Pua said.

For the full story on The Malaysian Insider, click here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Donald Lim Lied That Selangor Did Not Build Low-Cost Homes

Pakatan flays MCA deputy minister for ‘lying’ about Selangor low-cost housing
By Clara Chooi, Assistant News Editor 
October 23, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — An MCA deputy minister found himself the target of criticism from angry Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers in Parliament today when he declared that the Selangor government has not built a single low-cost home in the state since it took over in 2008.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim made the claim when praising the federal administration for being considerate of the needs of the country’s lower-income group.

Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) immediately stood up to demand that Lim correct his statement, accusing the Selangor MCA chairman of lying to the House.

Other PR MPs rapped on their tables to support Pua, with several standing to record their disapproval of Lim’s remarks.

But Lim ignored the protests and told Pua to sit down, even calling the DAP publicity secretary and other PR lawmakers “uneducated”.

When the House resumed committee stage debates on Budget 2013, Pua rose from his seat again to cite Standing Order 36(12) against Lim for allegedly misleading the House with an incorrect statement.

Standing Order 36(12) stipulates: “Any member who imputes statements that mislead the House is deemed to be in contempt of the House and the member may be referred to the Committee of Privileges for the offence.”

“I refer to the deputy minister’s answer to the House where he said that Selangor never built any low-cost housing for Selangor folk.

“I request that he correct this statement because Selangor has built 23,637 low-cost housing units, including reviving 9,176 units of homes from abandoned housing projects,” he told the House, to loud table thumps from his fellow PR MPs.

But Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee refused to entertain Pua’s request, saying that he does not agree that Lim had violated the Standing Orders.

Interjecting, Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) said that Lim had not only violated the Standing Orders but had deliberately issued a statement to mislead the Dewan Rakyat.

He pointed out that as a deputy minister, Lim would have full access to information to ensure that all his replies in the House are accurate.

“This is the reality. I urge the Speaker to giver serious consideration to this issue so that we can make sure that all future replies in the House are issued responsibly,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference late, Pua pointed out that apart from Selangor, the PR-led government in Penang has also built some 12,000 low-cost homes and allocated RM500 million for the construction of another 18,000 units.

Claiming that this is the largest allocation in the country, Pua stressed that the responsibility of providing low-cost homes to the poor lies with the federal government and not the state.

Motion to Cut Minister's Pay Allowed in UK

Pandikar says does not want to look ‘stupid’ by allowing pay-cut motions 
UPDATED @ 07:24:00 PM 23-10-2012 By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor October 23, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia today upheld his decision to reject pay-cut motions during debates on the budget, telling opposition MPs that he did not want to be seen as “stupid” by allowing it.

He insisted that such motions should not be permitted in the budget process, pointing out that it was merely meant as a “token cut” to a minister’s salary and this was not a substantial enough reason.

“My issue is that — is this an action by leaders in my country that I should abet? I had to make a stand,” Pandikar said.

“And this motion is not substantial... I do not want to be seen as though I am stupid or I am not a good person.”

He said he does not want other parliaments in the world to observe Malaysia’s Lower House and find that “we do not know what we are doing”.

He said he agreed with Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) that there were many provisions in the Standing Orders that needed to be explained further to MPs to prevent future disagreements on which motions should be allowed.

“This is what I am doing here. So you can still send me a notice on Standing Order 66(9) but do not use it to cut a minister’s salary,” he told the Lower House today.

Pandikar was responding after Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) stood to protest yesterday’s ban on pay-cut motions, claiming the Speaker had been wrong when he said that that no other parliamentary democracies in the world allow such motions.

Pua told the House that the British Parliament had just last week debated a pay-cut motion against Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, requesting to slash the minister’s pay by £1,000 (RM5,000).

According to media reports, Mitchell was facing censure for allegedly losing his temper and using the derogatory word “plebs” on two police officers who refused to allow him to cycle through the main gates at Downing Street.

The term “pleb” is used by upper-class English to describe those below them in the social pecking order.

“Not only was this motion approved by the UK Parliament for debates, but this caused the Chief Whip to resign... and this only involved a case of him speaking roughly to the police,” Pua said.

He added that this was not the first pay-cut motion to be debated in parliaments outside Malaysia.

“There was another case in 1976 where the opposition even won the vote count.

“So I would like to put on record that this is not something that is unique to Malaysia, or something that is not practised by other countries,” he said.

But Pandikar insisted that the example given by Pua on Mitchell was inappropriate as it involved a criminal matter, which he said that Parliament has the power to punish the MP.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Speaker Bans Pay Cut Motions

I think you know when the other side starts getting paranoid and scared when they try to stop you at every possible opportunity to expose their wrongdoings, incompetence and mismanagement, and not to want to answer for them.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dr Chua Soi Lek Insults Voters

Soi Lek risks votes with audit report gaffe
By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor October 19, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek displayed ignorance and insulted the intelligence of Malaysians when he said the Auditor-General’s Report would not affect Barisan Nasional’s (BN) electoral support, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers have charged.

The lawmakers said Dr Chua was underestimating today’s electorate and reminded the MCA president that the BN-led administration no longer has a monopoly on the dissemination of information to the masses.

On the flip side, they agreed that Dr Chua’s assertion would only serve the opposition well in the coming polls as if all BN leaders were of the same thinking, it was clear that they have failed to take cognisance of their past failures.

DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua reminded Dr Chua (picture) of the Election 2008 results, where BN and particularly the MCA had suffered its worst electoral losses to date, even losing five states and its coveted two-thirds parliamentary majority to PR.

“The times have changed,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP told Dr Chua. “The MSM (mainstream media) no longer has a monopoly over information, and the reported abuses tabled by the A-G can easily and quickly reach the ears of the voters... sentiments change quickly as witnessed in 2008.

“Hence the fact that CSL (Soi Lek) can still think that the AG report is trivial and a mere temporary distraction only proves that MCA has elected for themselves a leader who is trapped in the past, and a complete inability to connect and relate to the voters of today,” he told The Malaysian Insider over Blackberry Messenger.

For the full story on The Malaysian Insider, click here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ismail Sabri Called Me "Bacul"

Barisan Nasional Ministers will stoop to calling names when Pakatan Rakyat exposed their failure to carry out their responsibilities competently, without fear or favour

I read with great amusement that the Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Datuk Ismail Sabri called me a "bacul" or coward for submitting a motion to deduct RM10 from his pay to be debated in Parlaiment in the coming weeks.

Datuk Ismail Sabri denied he practised selective prosecution when he chose to persecute Suara Initiatif Sdn Bhd (Suaram) on dubious and unsubstantiated allegations while at the same time allowing Umno-linked companies to violate the Companies' Act 1965 for failing to submit their financial accounts and annual returns, some since 2006.

The fact that these companies failed to submit their accounts for years with absolutely no action taken has never been denied and the proof is available on the website of Companies Commission of Malaysia, under Datuk Ismail's purview.

Even when pressed by MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar in Parliament yesterday during the winding up of the Budget policy stage debate, the Minister had dithered on whether concrete action will be taken against the directors of these companies which flouted the law, including UMNO Members of Parliament, Khairy Jamaluddin and Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, as well as the family members of Datuk Shahrizat Jalil.

However he had the cheek to tell the media, "I hope that Tony Pua will meet me, and he can teach me about procedures. I do not know whether he's a lawyer or not, but if he is not a lawyer, perhaps I can help him to understand the Companies Act 1965."

The Companies Act requirement for financial accounts and annual returns to be submitted annually is understood by all in Malaysia and do not require any "lessons" from the Minister.  These offences are clear breached of Section 169A of the Companies Act, which carries the penalty 5 years in prison and/or RM30,000.

What justifies the motion I had submitted is the damning findings by the recently released Auditor General's Report where the CCM has failed to prosecute directors which have been fined millions of ringgit.  In addition, the prosecution rate was only only 1.5 percent or RM8.59 million worth in compound fines, out of a total of RM554.94 million worth of uncollected compounds in Kuala Lumpur.

The Auditor General also listed an example where  a director who registered a whopping 683 companies and chalked up 135 compounds for a total of RM640,000 in fines without any further actions was taken.

In four other similar cases, the company directors had between 85 and 135 compound fines issued against them, amounting to between RM640,000 and RM490,000 in fines.  Despite the huge sum of compound fines due, the report said, these directors were still actively registering new companies, and without any hurdle.

Hence there is absolutely no necessity to meet the Minister, although I will be more than happy to meet him if he makes the request.  All the Minister needs to do really is to charge and prosecute all companies, including all the cited Umno-linked companies without fear or favour.

Otherwise, Datuk Ismail Sabri has clearly abused his powers to selectively prosecute Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd (Suaram) to serve Barisan Nasional’s political agenda.  Under such circumstances, a motion to deduct RM10 from the Minister’s pay is certainly more than justified.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mindef - Incorrigible Culprit in Auditor General's Report

The Minister of Defence must be answerable for the incorrigible and repeated breaches discovered by the Auditor-General on an annual basis

It no longer comes as a surprise that the Ministry of Defence is one of the biggest culprits found by the annual Auditor General Report for bad governance in its procurement and projects resulting in billions, if not billions of ringgit of losses to the Malaysian Government.

For consecutive years, the Auditor-General has discovered inexcusable practices of incompetency, mismanagement and possibly collusion or corruption with unscrupulous suppliers and contractors.  They have included maggots and expired food served to our army,

In the report for 2010 for example, the Auditor-General found that the maintenance contracts for the aged AGSVs did not have the necessary expertise to repair the vehicles and late penalties were not meted out to these contractors when they failed to repair the vehicles within the necessary time frame.

The Auditor-General had also criticised the “improper payments” of allowance to the Territorial Reserve Army personnel who according to the records, did not attend the relevant training. He had even recommended that the relevant officers be punished via “surcharge” as permitted under Section 18(b) of the Akta Tatacara Kewangan 1957.

Similarly in 2009, one of the biggest scandal exposed was the construction of a new RM256 million Skudai 7th Brigade Army Camp which was awarded in 1997 but has only achieved 18.3% completion.  This was despite the fact that the contractor, Kausar Corporation has collected their construction fees in full via a land swap deal where the company was already given the ownership of a 153 hectares piece of land.

Kausar was able to pledge this piece of land to a bank for the amount of RM465 million showing that the land which could be worth as much as RM800 million, which is well above the cost of construction of the camp.  Despite the above, to date no action to date has been taken against the developer, including terminating the contract, charging late penalties or reclaiming the land which has been awarded to them.

In the latest Auditor-General Report, the Ministry of Defence has among the transgressions cited, awarded 12 contracts to build living quarters for married military personnel has not only incurred a cost overrun of 84%.  Instead of costing RM1.74 billion, the Ministry paid RM3.21 billion, despite the delivery of shoddy units.  The most glaring aspect of the above lapse, is the fact that only 1 of the 12 contracts was awarded via open tender.

All these offenses are on top of the multi-billion ringgit scandals which have been exposed to date, including the “commissions” paid for the acquisition of Scorpene submarines amounting to more than RM600 million, the increase in the cost of acquiring 6 naval patrol vessels from RM6 billion to RM9 billion or the purchase of 257 armoured personnel vehicles for RM7.55 billion from DRB-Hicom when the latter procured these units, less certain accessories and system software from a Turkish defence company for only RM1.7 billion.

The was also the questionable deal involving the acquisition of 12 “customised” Eurocopters for RM2.3 billion or RM192 million each, when Brazil was able to procure the same helicopter, presumably “uncustomised”, for only RM82 million each.  Even the Johor Sultan has chipped in with the criticism that the Ministry of Defence has acquired four Rapid Intervention Vehicles (RIV) for RM2.76mil or RM690,000 each by the Ministry of Defence despite the fact that the Sultan was able to procure a better vehicle for only RM150,000.
Despite the above, the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was only concerned that “the opposition's action aimed at gaining public support for their own political interest could undermine the image of Malaysia's defence among the international community,” as reported in the media on 14 October.

The Minister has expressed regret over the opposition using the issue for “political expediency as the general election is approaching, without considering the implications.”

The Minister of Defence must not attempt to sweep all the multi-billion ringgit scandals under his watch under the carpet by citing the fear that it will “undermine the image of Malaysia’s defence” or question “the capability of our armed forces”.

In fact, what we have harped on continuously over these scandals are specifically to raise the capability of our armed forces to ensure that they are better trained and equipped to secure our borders.  Had the above procurements be conducted with billions of ringgit of savings via open and transparent processes, without wastages, mismanagement and astronomical profits for the suppliers, the same billions of ringgit could have been utilised to acquire even more defence equipment for the army, navy and air force.

Given the flagrant breaches in the Ministry of Defence, we repeat our call to the Ministry of Defence to set up a Parliamentary Oversight Committee into Defence Procurement to ensure that our defence personnel will not be shortchanged and to ensure that every sen of our tax-payers’ monies are properly spent.  We call upon the Minister to keep his promise to “consider” the above proposal at our meeting held in January this year.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pay Cut Motion for Minister of Domestic Trade

I have filed today a motion to deduct the remuneration of Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism by RM10.

As highlighted in my earlier press statements, the Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri has abused his powers to selectively prosecute Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd (Suaram) to serve Barisan Nasional’s political agenda.  The Minister has used the Companies Comission of Malaysia (CCM) to go on a fishing trip to “investigate” an unsubstantiated “misleading accounts” allegation.

On the other hand he has failed to take any against the list of 5 Umno-linked companies we have cited which clearly failed to submit their financial accounts on a timely manner, some since 2007.  The companies and their directors, including Umno Members of Parliament, Khairy Jamaluddin and Abdul Rahman Dahlan, are listed below.  We are convinced that there are perhaps hundreds of other companies which have blatantly flouted the Companies Act 1965 with little or no action taken by CCM.

In fact, the decision to file the above motion is further justified by the findings of the Auditor-General Report which highlighted that the CCM failed to go after directors who owed more than half a million ringgit in compound fines.

An example listed in the report is that of a director who registered a whopping 683 companies and chalked up 135 compounds for a total of RM640,000 in fines, but no action was taken.

The report also listed out four other similar cases where company directors had between 85 and 135 compound fines issued against them, amounting to between RM640,000 and RM490,000 in fines.

Despite the huge sum of compound fines due, the report said, these directors were still actively registering new companies, and without any hurdle.

The irony of the Suaram persecution is the criticism by the Auditor-General that the numbers of cases referred to the prosecution department of CCM were very low.  The cases referred by the KL branch for prosecution came to only 1.5 percent or RM8.59 million worth in compound fines, out of a total of RM554.94 million worth of uncollected compounds.

The Minister must hence answer in Parliament to the sheer lack of competence in the administration of Companies Commission of Malaysia.  Datuk Ismail Sabri must answer to Malaysians why the Umno-linked companies have never been prosecuted by the authorities despite blatant breaches of the law, and yet the Government is seeking to persecute Suaram with highly dubious and unsubstantiated allegations of “misleading accounts”.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Forum: Economic Vision for Malaysia

THE Chevening Alumni of Malaysia will be hosting a public forum on "Vision for Economic Development for Malaysia" on October 17.

They are:

  • Khairy Jamaluddin, MP for Rembau
  • Tony Pua, MP for Petaling Jaya Utara
  • Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, MP for Sungai Siput

Details of the forum are as follows:
Date:     Wednesday, October 17
Time:     7.45-10.00pm (Dinner will be served from 6.45pm)
Venue:   Auditorium (2nd Floor, Menara), Bangunan Getah Asli, 148 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur (opposite KLCC)
Admission is free!  Please register with with your name and contact details if you would like to attend the forum.

See you there! ;-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cheaper Cars: Fantasy or Reality?

BN, Pakatan spar over car prices
Nigel Aw
11:55AM Oct 11, 2012

The issue of cheaper cars heated up yesterday as the topic dominated a budget forum between Barisan Nasional's Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Pakatan Rakyat's Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

Pua (left), who began by comparing Pakatan's shadow budget with the federal budget, pointed out that the former focussed on increasing disposable income rather than providing one-off assistance.

"Most households have a median income of between RM1,500 to RM2,500 only. We looked at what is their largest monthly expenses and it was paying for car loan. Just a Myvi may cost RM600 to RM700 a month.

"If we reduce excise tax by 20 percent - we start with 20 percent first or the second-hand car industry may collapse - households can save RM70 to RM100 a month, that's a saving of RM1,000 per year," he told the forum in Shah Alam last night.

Adding on, Pua said the second highest expense was for housing loan, and on top of building more affordable housing, Pakatan will go a step further than BN by also breaking up the monopoly in the cement and steel sectors to make building materials cheaper.

'Contradiction of the highest degree'

However, Abdul Rahman accused Pakatan of taking on the issue in "silo" by failing to consider the myriad of issues that would also be impacted from the reduction of car prices.

"If you close a hole here then another hole will open up there. For example, you have not explained how you are going to solve the petrol subsidy problem when cars flood Klang Valley (and consume more petrol).

“I am also not confident that reducing excise duty will help reduce car prices... If excise duty goes down, cars like Honda may still maintain their prices because there is demand in Malaysia," he said.

He added that even though car prices in Malaysia were more costly, other related expenses such as petrol, insurance and road tax were still among the relatively cheap.

Abdul Rahman (right) also blasted Pakatan for wanting to make Kuala Lumpur a liveable city but concurrently would allow large number of vehicles to flood the city with cheaper cars.

"This is a contradiction of the highest degree," he said.

Responding to this, Pua pointed out that the car to population ratio had already exceeded one to one.

"Even if we make cars cheaper, there would be no marked increase because a person can only drive one car at a time, no one can drive two at a time and the maximum number of cars are already on the road," he said.

Improve public transportation first

He added that Pakatan planned to increase the number of buses in Klang Valley by the thousands to compliment the MRT system that is being constructed.

Abdul Rahman rebutted the argument that car numbers would not significantly increase, stating that this was merely an assumption.

"There are many people using buses and LRT, this means many people in Klang Valley still do not have a vehicle," he said.

To this, Pua replied that the public would still opt for public transport even if they have their own vehicles to get to work and a car was mostly for family leisure.

"It is not that anyone who starts work wants to buy a car, some people buy a car because they have no choice, or else they cannot go to work," he said.

He added that only after people have a real choice between public and private transport, after the former is adequately improved, considerations could be made to slash petrol subsidies.

Another panellist at the forum was Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan and the session was moderated by Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) lecturer Maszlee Malik.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Home Ministry Hides Crime Stats

‘Not suitable’ to reveal detailed crime stats, says Home Ministry
By Clara Chooi October 11, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Putrajaya has refused a lawmaker’s request to release to Parliament a breakdown of the country’s crime statistics, saying it was “not suitable” to disclose details according to the various crime categories.

In a written reply released today to a question from DAP MP Tony Pua yesterday, the Home Ministry told the lawmaker that it was “more relevant” to reveal details of the country’s index crime cases as it has a more significant impact on public safety.

“For your information, there are hundreds of different categories of crimes recorded under the Royal Malaysian Police’s (RMP) statistics annually, which include both index and non-index crimes.

“Therefore, the ministry is of the view that it is not plausible to present the detailed statistics for each crime category according to the various districts in Selangor and all states,” the ministry said.

Pua had asked Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to state the reasons why his ministry was yet to disclose a detailed schedule on annual crime statistics according to crime categories and districts in Selangor and all states.

“It is more relevant to release the number of index crime cases as they have a more significant impact on public safety.

“The number of index crime cases for Selangor and the country were released to Yang Berhormat through written reply in the first parliamentary meeting this year,” the ministry replied.

Speaking at a press conference here, Pua railed against the ministry for its reply, saying the government was duty bound to release the details to any parliamentarian.

“This is clearly a show of disrespect to the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

“Even if I had asked for the number of cows there are in the country, they should furnish a reply if they have the details.”

The DAP publicity secretary repeated accusations by fellow opposition lawmakers that the government was attempting to paint a false picture of the country’s crime rate, hoping to calm public fears.

“This shows they are hiding something. The government has been claiming that index crime statistics show that the rate has dipped over the past three years... but then again, non-index crime has increased.

“This is what I wanted to prove but I wanted the detailed statistics.”

For the full story on The Malaysian Insider, click here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why EU-banned Lion Air Given License in Malaysia?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Tuesday announced the setting up of a new low-cost airline known as Malindo Airways.

Najib had said that the airline was “borne out of a collaboration between National Aerospace and Defence Industries Sdn Bhd (Nadi) and Indonesia's PT Lion Group”, and would begin operations on May 1 next year and be based in KLIA 2.

We would like to question the basis the Prime Minister for awarding the the airline license to Malindo, given the many questionable circumstances surrounding both the joint-venture partners of the airlines.

Firstly, as exposed earlier, Nadi has not even filed their audited accounts since December 2007. On that basis alone, the any application for an airline license must be rejected outright as no company who has failed to file their accounts could possibly be trusted to securely finance a capital intensive airline company.

Secondly, any airline before being granted license must have been thoroughly vetted to ensure that they have complied with the most stringent global safety requirements.

Given that Nadi have zero experience in operating an airline, we can only assume that the main airline operating partner is PT Lion Group which runs Lion Mentari Air in Indonesia and the latter is seeking to expand its presence into Malaysia.

Is the Prime Minister aware that Lion Mentari Air is subject to a complete ban in the European Union because of “safety concerns due to alleged poor maintenance and regulatory oversight standards on the part of the EU, preventing them from entering the airspace of any member state”.  [The complete list of globally banned airlines are available here]

In fact, Lion Air ran into numerous problems with the Indonesian government regularly over safety issues.

As recent as early this year, many Lion Air pilots were caught for drug use. In January 2012, the Indonesian Transportation Ministry said that it sanctioned Lion Air because some of its pilots and crew members were found in recent months to be in possession of crystal methamphetamine.

In late 2011 Muhammad Nasri along with two other co-pilots were arrested at a party in Tangerang; and in early 2012 a pilot was caught in possession of crystal meth in Makassar. On 4 February 2012, another pilot of Lion Air was arrested following an positive urinalysis test for use of methamphetamine.

In July 2011, Lion Air had to ground 13 planes due to sanction caused by bad on-time performance (OTP). The Indonesian transportation ministry recorded that Lion Air's OTP of 66.45 percent was the worst of six airlines in an assessment conducted from January to April 2011 at 24 airports in Indonesia.

Lion Air also had numerous accidents before that –

  • November 2010, Lion Air Flight 712 overran the runway on landing at Supadio Airport, Pontianak, coming to rest on its belly and sustaining damage to its nose gear.  
  • December 2006, Lion Air Flight 792 landed hard and skidded along the runway causing the right main landing gear to detach, the left gear to protrude through the wing and some of the aircraft fuselage to be wrinkled. No one was killed but the aircraft was written off.
  • March 2006, Lion Air Flight 8987, crashed after landing at Juanda International Airport.

All of the above incidents and many more before that are publicly available information from Aviation Safety Network.

We are completely for a more competitive airline industry in Malaysia. We strongly believe that with real competition, the ultimate beneficiaries are the Malaysians at large, who will receive better quality services at significantly lower prices.

The question is whether the Prime Minister had done his due diligence in awarding the new airline license to Malindo.  There is genuine concern over the financial integrity and credibility of a company which has failed to submit audited accounts over the past 5 years as well as the operational credibility of Lion Air in ensuring an efficient and most importantly safety of our passengers.

Hence the Prime Minister must explain why was the license awarded to Malindo in such haste, and what was the basis of the award.

KLIA2 Cost Now RM4 billion

No guarantee KLIA2 cost won't balloon further
Nigel Aw 4:43PM Oct 8, 2012

Despite the massive cost overruns and delays to the new low cost terminal KLIA2, the Transport Ministry today did not provide assurance that the project would be finished on time, and without further cost.

"At the end of last year the cost was RM3.6 billion to RM3.9 billion, now it has clearly exceeded this at RM4 billion.

"Even the deputy minister (of transport Abdul Rahim Bakri) did not appear confident that it will be completed on time at the estimated cost," Petaling Jaya MP Tony Pua (left) told a press conference at the Parliament lobby this morning.

Pua was commenting on Abdul Rahim's reply to his question in the house earlier on whether KLIA2 will be completed on time.

Abdul Rahim, in his response, said the latest estimated cost of KLIA2 now stood at RM4 billion from the initial estimated of RM1.7billion when the project commenced in 2009.

"For now, based on the commitment given by the contractors - this information is given to me by the MAHB (Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad), so if they give me this I must accept as it is because I'm representing the government - they said they can complete it according to schedule," Abdul Rahim said.

He added that the project was ahead of time at 61.9 percent completion compared to the 56.9 percent required in the schedule.

'Delayed, but ahead of time'

At this, Pua took the deputy minister to task for misleading statements.

"Ahead of schedule is confusing, this project was supposed to be completed in 2011, then it became 2012 and now April 2013," he said.

Acknowledging this, Abdul Rahim (right) clarified that he meant "ahead of schedule" in terms of the revised time frame for KLIA2's completion for April 2013.

Abdul Rahim explained the drastic increase in cost was due to various upgrades to KLIA2 to meet future demands of the airline industry.

"These upgrades are for the comfort of passengers and to allow the low cost carrier industry to grow. When we do such infrastructure, it is not for the needs of today but for future needs," he said.

He added that despite the ballooning cost, it was not being paid by the government.

"This does not involve government money, MAHB is getting its own sukuk bond where they have to pay according to their revenue," he said.

For the full story on Malaysiakini, click here!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Why is RM386m exclusive for KR1M?

Datuk Ismail Sabri has yet to respond why the RM386 million allocated to reduce the prices of goods in Sabah and Sarawak is channelled exclusively to Mydin through the setting up of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M)

The Prime Minister proudly announced that the Federal Government will allocate RM386 million to set up 57 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) next year to “ensure the prices of essential goods in Sabah and Sarawak as well as in Labuan are sold at lower prices”.

We have criticised the above plan as being extremely expensive costing a whopping RM6.77 million each store.  This is in contrast to the RM40 million allocated in the 2012 Budget in the previous year, which averages RM471,000 each of the 85 stores.

Ministers of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Datuk Ismail Sabri has responded last Friday that the government only allocated RM87 million to build the 57 shops in the three states [Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan].

The balance of the RM299 million allocated is to cover “the overall cost for the initiative, including the cost of delivery and distribution of products…. [taking] into consideration the price uniformity programme between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak.”

The replies by Datuk Ismail Sabri does not in any way reply the original questions as to why Mydin will receive exclusive benefits from the Budget 2013 amounting to RM386 million.

Firstly, the allocation of RM87 million to set up 57 shops till cost RM1.53 million for each store on average.  Why is the setting up of a retail store selling basic goods and necessities so expensive even after taking into account the higher cost involved in Sabah and Sarawak?  This is especially since we have previously alloacted only RM471,000 for each store.

Secondly, the balance of the RM299 million mean for the “cost of delivery and distribution” is essentially a subsidy on the goods to be sold in KR1M.  For 57 outlets, that works out to a whopping RM5.25 million of subsidies for each store!

In fact the RM299 million of subsidy to Mydin exceeds the RM278 million sugar subsidy budgeted for the entire country for 2013!

The question remains as to why is it that this benefit will not be extended to all other shops in Sabah and Sarawak offering these “basic necessities”?

In fact, since the RM386 million grant and/or subsidy is given only to Mydin, the Government is in effect killing off all of Mydin’s competitors – from big hypermarkets to small mom-and-pop shops.  Mydin will have the monopolistic right to sell certain products at substantially cheaper prices than its competitors due to the exclusive RM386 million from the Federal Government.

We call upon the Government to make available the RM386 million all small retail outlets already in existence throughout Sabah and Sarawak to ensure that the maximum number of retailers and consumers will benefit from the programme to sell basic necessities at lower prices.  There is absolutely no need for the Government to sponsor its crony to open up new shops in these areas to compete unfairly and kill of local shop-owners.

We are in complete support of any measure by the Government to reduce the prices of goods and services in East Malaysia, especially over the longer term to ease the burden of Malaysians living in these states.

However, we are disgusted by the fact that even in a programme ostensibly designed to lower the cost of living of the poor, the Barisan Nasional Government chosen a mechanism to profit its cronies at the expense of the man-on-the-street. The approach taken by Datuk Seri Najib Razak is clearly designed to profit only Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd as the allocation goes direct to the company to set up these stores.

Dr Mahathir Senile or Scheming?

Pakatan: We don't even know George Soros
Nigel Aw
1:33PM Oct 8, 2012

Pakatan Rakyat MPs have rubbished former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad's claim that a vote for the opposition would be akin to a vote for billionaire and former currency speculator George Soros.

"I don't want to involve the former premier because he is no longer relevant in our politics, but the words are those of someone who is senile,”  Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua told a press conference at the Parliament lobby this morning.

"We have no relationship whatsoever with George Soros. We don't know George Soros."

He said Pakatan has no Jewish agenda and that it, like the government, has always been supportive of the Palestinian struggle and against Israeli oppression of the state.

In a commentary published in the New Sunday Times yesterday, Mahathir had warned that voting for the opposition would be like voting for Soros, who he claimed was attempting to colonise Malaysia.

Pua also hit out at Mahathir for double standards on the matter.

"When Mahathir met Soros, he shook his hand and asked him to support his organisation (the Perdana Global Peace Foundation) to combat war crimes.

"When he asks for Soros' help, there was no problem. But when people vote for Pakatan, that's a ‘vote for Soros’ - there is no logic in this.”

For the full story on Malaysiakini, click here.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Ismail Sabri Sleeping On The Job

Datuk Ismail Sabri, the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister was approached by reporters on the fact that many Umno-linked companies have failed to file their accounts on a timely basis.

He responded that “Kita baru tahu dan kita akan siasat. Kita akan siasat jika menerima aduan. Kita tak pilih sesiapa (untuk jalankan siasatan)”.

[We only know (about it) now and we will investigate. We will investigate if we receive a complaint. We do not choose anyone (in conducting investigations)]

This is the absolutely laziest answer from a Minister.

Firstly, it is not the job of the public to do his job on checking if every company on Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) have duly submitted their accounts on a timely basis.  It is the role of CCM to do so and to enforce the law in accordance to the Companies Act 1965.

Secondly, and more importantly, the entire CCM companies’ database is electronic and has been so for many years.  This means that a complete list of companies who have not submitted their accounts on a timely basis can be obtain with the press of a computer button.  If even at such convenience the CCM has not done its job, and companies are allowed not to submit their accounts since 2006, then clearly the Minister and CCM are sleeping on the job.

What makes the entire situation worse is the fact that the Ministry has “received complaints” on Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd and hence is aggressively “investigating” the company.  However, the Minister until today has been unable to pinpoint not even a single irregularity with Suara Inisiatif’s accounts!  The persecution of Suara Inisiatif is clearly political and a complete abuse of power.

We would like to remind the Minister that our allegations against the UMNO-linked companies are not based on some airy-fairy allegations like “misleading” or “confusing accounts”.  It  is based on documents obtained directly from SSM itself which says that these companies have failed to submit their accounts for years.  The companies and their directors are listed here.

Datuk Ismail Sabri was in such a hurry to have Suara Inisiatif charged by the Attorney-General, despite the fact that the investigations were incomplete as highlighted by the latter.  In the cases of these UMNO-linked companies, the proof is clear as broad daylight.  There’s practically nothing else to investigate.  These companies have not filed their accounts in recent years, some since 2006.

We would like to repeat that if we fail to see immediate action against these companies and their directors under Companies Act 1965, we will file for a RM10 salary deduction motion against the Minister during the Budget 2013 debate supplementary stage.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

When Will Hishamuddin Understand Crime Isn't Perception?

Why is the Home Minister obsessed with crime perception when it should be crime prevention that we should be concerned with?

I almost could not believe my eyes when I read the news reports that quoted Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein as saying that “the government was switching its focus to managing public perception in the second phase of its National Key Result Area (NKRA) to lower growing concern.”

I had to watch a news report on TV to hear it with my own ears to confirm that he actually said the following.

“The issue now is not the index. That we are quite confident. The issue is not from the point of targeting street crime but the goal post has changed according to current demands. This will all be discussed and announced in the second phase of our NKRA,” Hishammuddin told a news conference after closing a special meeting at the Royal Malaysian Police College.

After the recent controversy over the “index crime” and “non-index crime” where it should clearly shown that crime statistics have been manipulated to show a drastic decline of “index crime” by re-classifying crime incidents to “non-index crimes” which are not published.  It was only via a response by the Police to a whistleblower accusation that we found out that while “index crime” has declined 24.7% from 2007 to 2011, a very “commendable” achievement, “non-index crime” has on the other hand increased by a whopping 68.7% over the same period.

The figures provides the strongest evidence yet of statistical manipulation on the part of the authorities to reflect a much better performance measure than the reality facing the man-on-the-street.

Hence, the Home Minister is not wrong to claim that the issue “is not the index”.  Of course it is not, it has been manipulated to show dramatic improvement in safety and security.  The issue is with the manipulated and opaque “non-index” crime which hides the true situation on the ground.

If crime is indeed no longer an issue Malaysians should be concerned about, then surely both “index crime” and “non-index crime”, a relatively meaningly distinction should have declined somewhat proportionately over the same period.

What is shocking and unbelievable is the fact that the Home Ministry has allocated RM272 million specifically to improve the “crime perception index” under the National Key Result Area (NKRA).

I must admit that I am at a complete loss as to how best to knock it into the Minister’s thick skull that if crime has indeed improved significantly, and the risk of crime has been reduced substantially, the perception of crime will be automatically improved!  The perception on the risk of crime is a derivative of the incidence and likelihood of being an actual victim of crime.

No matter how much money the Government decides to throw into improving the “perception” of crime, whether through advertisements or a sales and marketing pitch by perception consultants or other brainwashing attempts, the outcome will not change unless actual crime declines, and not some manipulated statistics.

Crime and safety is a hugely important matter for ordinary Malaysians, and they deserve much better policy makers to ensure that crime rates will be slashed.  A doctor will not cure cancer by prescribing pain-killers for the pain but by dealing with the misbehaving cells.  Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein should focus the ministry’s effort on the causes and prevention of crime, and not only the symtoms, that is the people’s perception.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Budget 2013: KR1M Gets RM386 Million!

Why is the Federal Government helping Mydin make astronomical profit to set up 57 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) in Sabah and Sarawak with RM386 million?

The Prime Minister proudly announced that the Federal Government will allocate RM386 million to set up 57 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) next year to “ensure the prices of essential goods in Sabah and Sarawak as well as in Labuan are sold at lower prices”.

We are in complete support of any measure by the Government to reduce the prices of goods and services in East Malaysia, especially over the longer term to ease the burden of Malaysians living in these states.

However, the approach taken by Datuk Seri Najib Razak is clearly designed to profit only Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd as the allocation goes direct to the company to set up these stores.

Based on 57 proposed new outlets in Sabah and Sarawak with a budget of RM386 million, each retail shop will average a whopping cost of RM6.77 million!

This is manifold higher than what was announced in the 2012 Budget where RM40 million was allocated to subsidise Mydin to set up 85 stores, where each store will average RM471,000.  Why is there a difference of RM6.3 million for each store set up between 2012 and 2013, especially since the Government claims that the rate of inflation is only 1.9%?

If the amount of money allocated is expected to also “bear the cost of delivering products from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan including the interior areas” then why is it that this benefit will not be extended to all other shops in Sabah and Sarawak offering these “basic necessities”?

In fact, since the RM386 million grant or subsidy is given only to Mydin, the Government is in effect killing off all of Mydin’s competitors – from big hypermarkets to small mom-and-pop shops.  Mydin will have the monopolistic right to sell certain products at substantially cheaper prices than its competitors due to the exclusive RM386 million from the Federal Government.

What is worse is that because there is no transparency in the subsidies provided to Mydin, and no “competition” in the exercise. Malaysians will not be able to ascertain if we are getting our value for money from Mydin, or whether a significant chunk of this subsidy will be siphoned by the company, instead of being passed on to consumers.

We call upon the Government to make available the RM386 million all small retail outlets already in existence throughout Sabah and Sarawak to ensure that the maximum number of retailers and consumers will benefit from the programme to sell basic necessities at lower prices.  There is absolutely no need for the Government to sponsor its crony to open up new shops in these areas to compete unfairly and kill of local shop-owners.

We are in fact rather disgusted by the fact that even in a programme ostensibly designed to lower the cost of living of the poor, the Barisan Nasional Government chosen a mechanism to profit its cronies at the expense of the man-on-the-street.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Why Isn't Khairy Investigated by Companies Commission?

Pakatan Rakyat demands that Companies Commission of Malaysia act without fear or favour and charge all company directors who fail to have their company accounts submitted on a timely basis

The Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) and the Registrar of Societies (ROS) have become tools of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to find fault with Suara Initiatif Sdn Bhd (SUARAM) using whatever means, ethical or otherwise possible.  The motive cannot be more obvious, that is an attempt to halt the current on-going court case in France where the BN leaders, including the Prime Minister himself, are implicated for corruption in the Scorpene submarines acquisition exercise.

The Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Datuk Ismail Sabri had the cheek to announce on 18th September 2012 that SUARAM will be charged in 2 days.  He said “e are initiating legal action based on the company’s reporting of its accounts, which is confusing… All kinds of things. It is misleading” without providing an iota of evidence.  The attempt was however rejected by the Attorney-General’s office the very next day for being “incomplete”.

Pakatan Rakyat has no problems with the authorities for going after companies who have broken the law.  However, it cannot be any clearer that in SUARAM’s case, the agencies, now even with the involvement of the police, are going on fishing expeditions to harrass the officers of the company in order to find some unknown fault with the company’s operations.

For the amount of effort and tax-payers’ resources put into the case, we would like to highlight 5 companies which have clearly run foul of the Companies Act 1965 for the longest time, and yet no action has been taken against them by CCM.

1. YGP Holdings Sdn Bhd has failed to file their audited accounts since 31 December 2006.  The company directors are UMNO Youth Chief and Member of Parliament for Rembau, Khairy Jamaluddin, Member of Parliament for Kota Belud, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.  The company shareholders include Minister of Defence, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi.

2. National Aerospace and Defence Industries Sdn Bhd has failed to file their audited accounts since 31 December 2007, and yet the Government of Malaysia has last month granted their subsidiary a license to operate an airline in Malaysia launched by none other than the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself.  The Chairman of the company is Tan Sri Gen (Rtd) Mohd Hashim bin Mohd Ali.

3. National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd has failed to file their audited accounts since 31 December 2009, while Real Food Company Sdn Bhd and National Meat & Livestock Company Sdn Bhd have failed to file their since 30 June 2007.  The Directors of the company are family members of UMNO Wanita Chief and former Minister of Women, Family and Community Development – husband, Datuk Dr Mohd Salleh bin Ismail, as well as children, Wan Shahinur Izmir Mohd Salleh, Wan Shahinur Izran Mohd Salleh and Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah Mohd Salleh.

The directors of all these companies have hence run afoul of the Companies Act 1965 by failing to hold the company’s Annual General Meetings, file its Annual Returns to the Registrar of Companies together with their Audited Financial Report.

Clause 169(1) of the Companies Act says that “the directors of every company shall, at some date not later than eighteen months after the incorporation of the company and subsequently once at least in every calendar year at intervals of not more than fifteen months, lay before the company at its annual general meeting a profit and loss account for the period since the preceding account (or in the case of the first account, since the incorporation of the company) made up to a date not more than six months before the date of the meeting.

Under Clause 171(1), the Act dictates imprisonment for 5 years or RM30,000 “if any director of a company fails to comply or to take all reasonable steps to secure compliance by the company with the foregoing provisions of this Division or has by his own wilful act been the cause of any default by the company thereunder, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.”

Why is it that CCM has failed to act against these companies related to top UMNO personalities? Given the CCM’s sudden assertiveness in exercising their authority by going on fishing expeditions against entities which are fighting for the rights of all Malaysians, we demand that CCM take immediate action against all of the companies listed above and bring all of their directors to Court.

If the CCM fails to act without fear or favour, then we will submit a motion to deduct RM10 from the salaries of the Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism as well as the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) chief executive officer Mohd Naim Daruwish in the current 2013 Budget sitting.

Monday, October 01, 2012

GST - The Lazy Cure for Deficits

GST a ploy to hide economic ills, says Pakatan
By Lee Wei Lian September 27, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Putrajaya’s desire to implement the goods and services tax (GST) in the future is an easy way get more money and divert attention away from economic problems such as inefficiency and corruption, says Pakatan Rakyat (PR)

While the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is not expected to introduce the GST till after the general election, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala was quoted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that he expects the proposed GST to help boost state revenue and help put an end to the federal budget deficit by 2020.


DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua said that while GST was supposed to broaden the tax base as only an estimated 10 per cent of Malaysians currently pay income tax, the question that needed to be asked was why were so many Malaysians earning so little as to fall below the taxable threshold.

He said that even if 10 per cent out of the people who are not currently paying tax are tax dodgers, GST still would not make sense as it meant that many more low-income Malaysians would be burdened.

“If they can’t earn enough, why should they be burdened with additional taxes,” he said. “People’s incomes have not increased significantly.”

Pua also said that there was little risk of a sense of entitlement developing among those who do not currently pay income tax.

He also questioned what the government would do with extra income earned from GST.

Pua said BN should look at cutting expenditure, getting value for money, open tenders and abolishing corruption as ways to save money rather than imposing more taxes.

“Has the government exhausted all the means?” he asked. “If they have not there is no need to impose new taxes.”

He said that getting more funds from taxes will not solve the problem of the deficit if leakages are not plugged.  The DAP lawmaker also warned that once GST was in place, rises in the tax were almost inevitable.

He said that GST was a “lazy” approach to solving the country’s revenue issues and PR’s approach was to cut wasteful expenditure and leakages as well as increase revenue through non-tax avenues.

Pua wanted to know what the government would do with extra income earned from GST.
These include land sales through open bidding and increased revenues from government-linked companies (GLCs).

“We believe we can balance the federal budget without GST,” he said.

Malaysia has been running a budget deficit since 1998 and stated its intention to implement GST several times since approving the law in 2009 but has always postponed the new tax, which has some 3,000 exemptions.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in September last year that GST would be introduced “probably after the next general election.”

For the full story on The Malaysian Insider, click here.