Sunday, December 16, 2012

TIMSS 2011 Proves Malaysian Examination Results Manipulated

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study has proven that the Ministry of Education has deliberately dumbed down our education syllabus and lowered our examination standards in order to produce more student passes and distinctions

In the recently released 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), Malaysia’s ranking in Math fell from 20th in 2007 to 26th in 2011 while our ranking in Science fell by an ever greater margin, from 21st in 2007 to 32nd in 2011.

In terms of marks scored, Malaysia was the worst performing nation of the 59 countries survey by showing the biggest decline since the study was first conducted in 1999. Malaysia's average score for mathematics fell 79 points from 519 in 1999 to 440 in 2011.  By comparison, the next worst country Thailand posted an average score decrease of 40 points for mathematics.  Similarly, Malaysia's average score for science meanwhile dropped 66 points from 492 in 1999 to 426 in 2011.  This decrease is higher than the next worst country, Macedonia whose average score for science fell 51 points.

However, while the disastrous TIMSS results proved the failure of our education system, surprisingly our students continue to score better results annually for their Mathematics and Science examinations for the PMR and SPM papers.

For example, the PMR results over the years, as measured by the Average National Grade (or GPN) has been steadily improving from 2.83 in 2008 to 2.78 in 2009 to 2.74 in 2010 and mostly recently to 2.71 in 2011 (the lower the grade, the better the score).  More specifically, those obtaining As in Mathematics increased from 26.7% in 2010 to 28.9% in 2011 and those obtaining As in Science increased from 18.5% in 2010 to 21.7% in 2011.

At the same time, our SPM results in 2011 was reported to have been the best recorded in five years with the overall National Average Grade improving from 5.19 in 2010 to 5.04 in 2011 (the lower the grade, the better the score).

In addition, the pass rate for Math and Science at the SPM level have also steadily increased since 2007 as indicated in Table 1 below.  For example, the pass rate for Math for those in the rural areas increased from 70% in 2007 to 77.5% in 2010 and the pass rate for Science for those in the urban areas increased from 85.9% in 2007 to 91% in 2010.

Table 1: Pass rate for Math & Science SPM
for those in the rural and urban areas (2007 to 2010)

Source: Ministry of Education
The steep fall in our TIMSS 2011 scores which are measured objectively across 59 countries clearly contradicts the astounding achievements by the same students in our PMR and SPM examinations.

One cannot help but to conclude that firstly, the Ministry of Education has been deliberately manipulating the Math and Sciences standards for the PMR and SPM examinations to artificially increase the pass rate.  Secondly, it also raises the obvious question that our education syllabus has been “dumbed down” so that more students will be able to do better for their examinations.

In fact, this deliberate attempt to dumb down our syllabus and lowering the passing marks for the examination subjects is a key reason for the declining standard of our education system.  The Ministry of Education has over the years simplified the syllabus and lowered passing marks in order to give the perception of improving performance, which is measured by the number of passes and “A”s achieved in these examinations.

The obvious outcome to such a skewed education policy is that our Malaysian young will learn less in school, while needing to know and understand even less to secure a pass or obtain an “A” in the examinations.  This saddening outcome is now proven by the TIMSS,  which showed how Malaysia is the country where its students suffer from the fastest declining standards for both Mathematics and Science.

The New Education Blueprint (NEB) must openly admit and aggressively address the deliberate “dumbing down” of our education system.  The Preliminary NEB report has not only completely neglected the above, it has to the contrary, sung praises for our students’ academic achievements in the PMR and SPM examinations.  If the Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin fails to reverse the dumbing down process and start increasing standards in our examinations and syllabus, then he can be assured that not only the NEB will fail miserably, Malaysia will continue to drop down the TIMSS scores and ranking in the future.

Friday, December 14, 2012

MCMC Defends 4G-LTE Spectrum Award: No Track Record Needed

MCMC's defence of the award of the biggest share of the 4G-LTE spectrum to Puncak Semangat is lame, and the excuse not to auction the license doesn't even begin to make sense.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has defended its decision to award the biggest share of the 4G-LTE spectrum to Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd which is owned by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

Its chairman, Datuk Mohd Sharil Tarmizi said on Tuesday that the award is to "introduce additional competition".  He said "look at the market now, if we left those 8 players on their own, where would the solutions, applications and innovation be?"

Datuk Mohd Sharil Tarmizi also said that MCMC has the power to "take back the spectrum" should players fail to meet their targets.

The MCMC Chairman's response defies all logic because, if the 8 existing players are "not" competing by providing "innovation" today, then MCMC must be responsible for allowing the collusion between the 8 parties. Under the Malaysia Communications & Multimedia Act, the MCMC is the authority to promote competition and bar collusion between telecommunication players. And certainly, by international standards, 8 players are more than sufficient to generate a highly competitive environment. Most other developed nations have far fewer than 8 players in the industry, and yet remain highly competitive and innovative.

While we are all for competition in the industry, the manner in which the license and quota is awarded must be questioned.  Some of the companies awarded with 3G and WIMAX licenses by MCMC have failed miserably, proving that MCMC is not an all-seeing "oracle".

The fact that MCMC has the power to retract its award at any time does not give basis to an award of the largest share of the bandwidth to a completely new player in the industry.

Furthermore, a regulator's role is certainly not to play "judge" in evaluating business plans, but to facilitate competition, prevent monopolistic practices and ensuring quality service provision.

If the argument that the arbitrary award to Puncak Semangat is to improve competition rest on shaky grounds, then Datuk Sharil's statement that MCMC decided against an auction for the bandwidth because "the highest bidder may not necessarily be the one with the best ideas" holds even less water.

MCMC's decision against an auction for the bandwidth is contrary to international best practices where both developed and developing countries have raised valuable income for the Government while promoting a highly competitive telecommunications industry. UK, Germany, Sweden and even Thailand have held auctions, raising billions of ringgit in proceeds, while Singapore, Taiwan and Brazil are planning their auctions for next year.

Datuk Sharil was quoted by The Edge Financial Daily that "an auction is best when the spectrum is convenient and quality of the spectrum is not a problem" does not even  make any sense. It sounds like a response designed to confound the people, without even beginning to answer the question.

A company that is committed and believes it will trump the competition will be more than able to participate in an auction for the new spectrum. And should the company fail, the MCMC still has the power to withdraw its award while keeping the proceeds of the auction. Hence under such circumstances, there is even greater incentive for the players to compete and innovate to ensure a successful business. This will at the same time benefit consumers.

MCMC must commit to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's own slogan that "the era where the Government knows best is over", and let the market play its part in determining the winner.  MCMC should instead focus on its role to prevent collusion between industry players, punish players who fail to provide quality services and create an even playing field for all parties in the industry.

Otherwise, it becomes clear that MCMC is over-extending its regulatory role to play "god" of the industry by deciding which company's profit to fatten, and ignoring the interest of the millions of telecommunication users in Malaysia.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

TIMSS 2011 Proved Malaysian Education Disaster

The International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 proved beyond doubt that the Barisan Nasional Government has completely destroyed our education system, causing Malaysia to suffer the biggest drop in results among all tested countries in the world for both subjects.

The 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) which was released on the 11th of December showed a worrying and unacceptable fall in Malaysia’s ranking and average scores in Math and Science.

Malaysia’s ranking in Math fell from 20th in 2007 to 26th in 2011 while its ranking in Science fell by an ever greater margin, from 21st in 2007 to 32nd in 2011. Our average Math score fell from 474 in 2007 to 440 and our average Science score fell by an even greater degree from 471 in 2007 to 426 in 2011. The results are summarized in Table 1a and 1b below.

Table 1a: 
Fall in Malaysia’s TIMMs ranking in Science and Math, 2007 to 2011

Table 1b: 
Fall in Malaysia’s TIMMs average score in Science and Math, 2007 to 2011

When we compare the results across all the countries, we suffer the ignominy of being the only country other than Jordan which suffered declines in scores in all tested domains for Mathematics (3 areas – Knowledge, Application, Reasoning) and Science (4 areas – Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Earth sciences).

However, the most damning outcome of the test is that Malaysia has suffered the biggest drop in test scores among all countries for both Mathematics and Science between 1999 and 2011.

For Mathematics, our score dropped by 79 points, compared to the next worst country, Thailand, by 40 points.  For Science, our score dropped by 66 points, compared to Macedonia, which fell by 51 points.

The poor achievement of Malaysians students in Math and Science is clearly seen in the % of students scoring full credit for what should be basic Math and Science questions.

For example, for the simple algebra question of  “What does xy +1 mean” (The answer is “multiply x by y, then add 1”), only 43% of Malaysian students answered this question correctly, ranking us 37 out of 42 countries.

In comparison, 94% of students in Hong Kong answered this question correctly. For a relatively simple Chemistry question, “What is the chemical formula for Carbon Dixoide” (The answer is “CO2), only 67% of Malaysian students answered this question correctly, ranking us 43 out of 45 countries. (See Appendix 2 below) In comparison 99% of Japanese students answered this question correctly.

Given the above, it is no wonder that many parents are voting with their feet and their wallets by enrolling in private primary and secondary schools at an alarmingly increasing rate.

The drop in our Math and Science scores as measured by TIMSS an unmitigated disaster our national education system which has been destroyed by the Barisan Nasional education policies.

In the context of the extent of our failing education system, the National Education Blueprint (Peliminary report) is clearly half-hearted in its attempted to reverse the decline and it has failed to address the primary issues of the severe in standards.

The Ministers of Education for Malaysia over this period, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad (1999-2004), Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein (2004-2009) and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (since 2009) must bear full responsibility for failing Malaysia’s young and the future of this country.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DAP PJ Election Fund-Raising Dinner 2013

We would like to invite you to join us in our 2013 DAP Petaling Jaya Utara Election Fund Raising Dinner. You may check out the Facebook event page here.
Theme: "Ini Kali-lah... the Final Countdown to Putrajaya"Venue: Petaling Jaya Hockey Stadium, Jalan Selangor, Seksyen 3, Petaling Jaya
Date: 19 January 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 7.30pm
The speakers will include:

  • Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister 
  • Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parliamentary Opposition Leader
  • Mohd Sabu, PAS Deputy President
  • Tony Pua, MP Petaling Jaya Utara
  • Lau Weng San, ADUN Kg Tunku
  • Kasthuri Patto, DUN Bukit Gasing Co-ordinator
  • Yeo Bee Yin, DAP Social Media Strategist

The primary language for this dinner will be English and Bahasa Malaysia. Halal food is available upon request.

The cost of the dinner will be RM60 per pax or RM600 per table. Gold and Platinum sponsorship tables are available for RM1,500 and RM3,000 per table respectively.

For reservations, please email to or to me directly with your name, contact number, which dinner(s) and number of seats or tables (Platinum, Gold or Silver) required.

If you have any more questions, you can call Chew 016 8782472.

For those who are not able to make the dinner, donations are also very much welcome ;-). Cheques should be written to "DAP Damansara Branch" or cash can be deposited at DAP Damansara Maybank account: 5141 9634 2008.

The funds raised from the dinner will be used for the upcoming election campaign for Petaling Jaya Utara parliamentary seat; and Bukit Gasing, Kg Tunku and Damansara Utama state seats. Any excess from the fund will be contributed to contested seats which require additional support.

Monday, December 10, 2012

4G-LTE Spectrum Award: No Track Record Needed

It is become endemic of the Malaysian regulatory authorities to award quotas and licences to companies with questionable financial credentials and without any track record in the relevant industries.

Last week, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced the allocation of the 4G-LTE spectrum where all 7 existing broadband players in the market – Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Celcom Axiata Bhd, U Mobile Sdn Bhd, Redtone Marketing Sdn Bhd, YTL Communications and Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd were granted 20MHz of bandwidth.

However, what took the industry by surprise was the award of the largest share of the bandwith of 40MHz to a little known entity Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd, owned by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

The most straightforward question to ask MCMC is – why is it that a company with zero track record in the industry has been given the privilege of securing the largest chunk of the bandwidth?

It appears that MCMC which has landed in controversy in the past, is persisting in awarding licenses to companies with little track record or financial capabilities.  In the past award of bandwidth for the 3G and WIMAX spectrum, several companies have failed to deliver the services or have effectively sold their license for a quick profit.

What is most disappointing the the award of licenses in Malaysia is there is not auction requirement as practised in most other developed countries.  The auction process will not only ensure the most committed companies to take part in the exercise, but will also raise valuable revenue for the Government.

For example, the Office of Communications, the independent telecommunications regulator in the United Kingdom has set a reserve auction price of GBP1.3 billion for the 4G-LTE licences and the industry expects the Government to raise between GBP3 to 4 billion!

In 2010, the highest bid in the German spectrum auction was 7.5 Million Euros for two blocks in the 800 MHz band.

In 2008 Sweden concluded an electronic 16-day auction for nine 15-year 4G-licenses for a total bandwidth of 190 MHz in the 2,6 GHz band. The total required minimum bids were SEK 50,000,000, but the total winning bids were USD314 million.

Other countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, Brazil are planning for 4G auctions in 2013.  Similarly, Thailand has only just concluded their 3G auction, netting their Government US$1.4 billion in the process despite a more depressed market environment, and alleged collusion to lower the auction price.

It appears that in Malaysia, our regulators are more interested in enhancing the profits of our telecommunication companies, and even then favouring certain connected parties despite their lack of track record.

The above is the clear cut case of lost opportunity for the Government to raise valuable funds to provide much needed services and facilities for Malaysians, such as toll-free highways and affordable homes.

Pakatan Rakyat will ensure that all licenses granted by our various regulatory bodies, particularly in the energy and telecommunication will be awarded in an open, transparent and competitive manner to ensure that the best bids will win the licences and the Government will also be able to maximise its revenue in the interest of the rakyat.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

UMNO Leaders Passes The Buck Over Land Grab

It is so hopelessly hilarious to see how UMNO Selangor leaders scrambling to disclaim responsibility and knowledge over their role in the state land grab scandal.

We have on Tuesday exposed a 87,188 square feet of land which was given to UMNO Subang at dirt cheap nominal prices in Ara Damansara in 2004.  This piece of land has since been developed into a 200-unit Suria Damansra Condomium launched in 2006.  This condominium is worth an estimated RM90 million based on today’s prices.

UMNO and MCA state assemblymen, Abdul Shukor Idrus and Wong Koon Mun had explained during the last state assembly sitting that the land they received on the cheap were used for the community, such as kindergartens or public community halls.

We had called on them to explain where exactly is the kindergarten and the community halls in this 87,188 sq ft of land.  This is the first of the 24 parcels of land which we will expose as a clear cut case of abuse of power and corruption by the Barisan Nasional government during their reign from 2000 to 2008.

Having been caught with their pants down, UMNO leaders are now fumbling to deny their complicity in the land-grab, and blame other UMNO leaders.

When contacted by the press, Subang Umno division chief Muhammad Bushro Mat Johor, said there is no such land in possession of Subang Umno.  “No, there is not even a single piece of land listed in Subang Umno’s asset list since I became the division chief,” he said.  However when pressed with evidence, the Paya Jaras assemblyperson pointed that any query on the land is best directed to the previous division chief.

However, the previous division chief, Datuk Mokhtar Dahlan when queried, then passed the buck to Kelana Jaya Umno acting chief Yahya Bujang.  He claimed that although it was Subang UMO which received the land, “the land was handed over to Kelana Jaya Umno after a constituency re-delineation exercise in 2004.”

Unfortunately, and coincidentally, Yahya Bujang is out of the country and is hence unable to respond immediately to the allegations.  Datuk Mokhtar Dahlan had disclosed however, that the land was originally intended for the construction of UMNO Subang’s Division Headquarters.  It is a clear admission that BN had abused its powers to benefit the interest of its component parties.

At the same time, the Opposition Leader in Selangor Datuk Satim Diman pleaded ignorance when queried and responded that said the matter should be referred instead to Umno Selangor secretary Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed.

Mohd Zin, then with great finesse , responded that he “needs some time and will respond in due time after his researcher gathers more information on the allegation.”

The passing the buck game cannot be any more comical than the above.  UMNO knows that they’ve been caught red-handed putting their hands into cookie jar, and no one wants to accept responsibility for robbing the people’s land for their own profit.

The biggest disappointment for all Malaysians, and particularly Selangorians, is the fact that the Prime Minister has remained steadfastly silent on the above issue, despite his insistence that UMNO has “transformed”.  Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is also the Selangor UMNO Chief must get his house in order by explaining the land grab scandal and accepting responsility for UMNO’s sins.  He must make amends for UMNO’s corrupt policies of the past be returning all such ill-gained profits to the state government for the benefit of the rakyat.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Official Invite to Datuk Chua Tee Yong to Visit BN Land Grab Sites

Datuk Chua Tee Yong has proven himself to be obsessed with “land scandals” especially in Selangor.

The independent audit by the international reputable auditing firm, KPMG as well as the Selangor state government White Paper tabled at the latest state assembly sitting proving beyond doubt that the Government under the leadership of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has collected back every single sen of the RM392 million debt oustanding from Talam Corporation.  These debts were incurred during the reign of Barisan Nasional (BN) and was never collected while BN wa in power.

Despite the above, Datuk Chua is remarkably persistent in his jihad to find the elusive needle in the haystack to prove his RM1 billion non-existent land scandal in Selangor under Pakatan Rakyat.

Given his insatiable quest for “land scandals” in Selangor and the obvious need to lead the ineffective Selangor MCA leadership, I would like to offer the perfect opportunity to Datuk Chua to uncover the real land scandals in Selangor.

I would like to invite Datuk Chua Tee Yong, the MCA “land scandals” and accounting expert, to jointly visit the 24 parcels of state land which which were given to Barisan Nasional component parties – UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan – between 2000 and 2008.  These pieces of land were transferred to BN parties for nominal sums despite being worth in excess of RM200 million.

Selangor Barisan Nasional component parties have been quick to defend the land-grab despite the obvious corruption, abuse of power and conflict of interests involved.  Selangor UMNO Information Chief Abdul Shukor Idrus, who is also the state assemblyman for Kuang who argued that “what’s wrong with giving the land to UMNO” as reward for the “contributions by UMNO in fighting for indepedence and developing this country”.

MCA Selangor Secretary and ADUN for Kuala Kubu Baru, Datuk Wong Koon Mun agreed with is UMNO colleague, claiming that there’s nothing wrong with alienating land to MCA, by comparing the political party to “temples and schools” which were also given land on the cheap.  Wong even added that the sites served as de facto centres for community life, including as community hall and even as schools and kindergartens, in lieu of purpose-built buildings.

The joint bi-partisan visits to the 24 sites will confirm if the land given to UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan were indeed utilised for the “community” or were they a clear cut abuse of power to profit the party and its cronies.

During the site visit with DAP state assembly persons, Ng Suee Lim and Hannah Yeoh to a 87,188 square feet piece of land in Ara Damansara given to UMNO Bahagian Subang yesterday, we found no kindergarten or community hall for use by local residents.  Instead we found a 200-unit condominium – Suria Damansara Condominium worth more than RM500 million when it was first launched in 2006.

The purpose of the site visits will be:

1. To confirm if these sites were indeed used for the community, or were they like the UMNO land above, sold or developed commercially for profit.

2. Where profit was made – 23 out of the 24 pieces of land were commercial land – to determine how much profit did UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan made from these land, as a result of getting them dirt cheap from the BN state government

It is critical for Datuk Chua to agree to the joint site visits to prove that there is no element of corruption and abuse of power by BN in the award of these land to themselves, and more important there was zero element of profit resulting from the above transactions.

And if the bi-partisan visits are able to prove that UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan have profited hundreds of millions of ringgit from these “land scandals”, then as the shining light within MCA fighting for justice for Selangorians and integrity in Government, Datuk Chua must declare that all the unethically obtained profits must be returned to the Selangor state government for the benefit of her citizens.

If not, then it will be unfortunate that Datuk Chua will prove himself as another dye-in-the-wool hypocrite from MCA and Barisan Nasional, who seeks only to protect his own interest and that of his party, at the expense of the ordinary man-on-the-street.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Najib Compares Himself to Mubarak?

By comparing himself to Egypt’s Mubarak, Datuk Seri Najib Razak publicly admits that Barisan Nasional is running a corrupt and authoritarian regime

UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak first warned Malaysians against the Arab Spring during the UMNO Hari Raya Open House in September. “Look at the countries in north Africa and the Middle East. We can learn from them that change is not always good,” he said.

He repeated his warning against yesterday at the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Annual Convention, warning against “change” or “Ubah” propagated by Pakatan Rakyat.

 “If we change, are we sure we’re getting something better? (The people involved in Arab Spring) are not enjoying the ‘spring weather’. They’re still in the winter of discontent,” Najib said.

By attempting to rally Malaysians against change as seen in the Middle East, is Najib not associating himself with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt and authoritarian 30-year reign?

Isn’t Najib not saying that no matter how corrupt, how authoritarian and how much abuse of power happens in the country, it is better to stick to Dr Mahathir’s “devil that you know” than to bring about “change” which is deemed “uncertain”?

What is different however, about change in Malaysia is the fact that it will be conducted through the ballot box to rid the country of a corrupt regime which has rule for the past 55 years, unlike the Arab Spring which was conducted to violent protests.

What is perhaps the critical differentiator between the impending change in Malaysia, which is so feared by BN, and that of the Middle East, is the fact that Pakatan Rakyat has already proven ourselves to be competent, accountable and transparent in our administration of the states we won in the 2008 general elections.

The recent BN land-grab expose by Sekinchan state assemblyman, Ng Swee Lim is a case in point.  While BN component parties were alienated land by the Selangor state during BN’s reign from 2000 to 2008 worth an estimated RM200 million, BN leaders have shown absolutely no remorse in such corrupt practices.

Selangor UMNO Information Chief Abdul Shukor Idrus, who is also the state assemblyman for Kuang who argued that “what’s wrong with giving the land to UMNO” as reward for the “contributions by UMNO in fighting for indepedence and developing this country”.

MCA Selangor Secretary and ADUN for Kuala Kubu Baru, Datuk Wong Koon Mun agreed with is UMNO colleague, claiming that there’s nothing wrong with alienating land to MCA, by comparing the political party to “temples and schools” which were also given land on the cheap.  He also insinuated that such land grab is justified by the effort of the party to register Chinese Malaysians to obtain their citizenship and “fighting for their rights”.

Datuk Seri Najib himself has chosen to remain completely silent over the scandal and refused to chastise his leaders for their “untransformed” feudal and corrupt mentality.

On the other hand, Pakatan Rakyat administration has made it a point not to alienate any land whether its component parties or its state assemblymen.  In fact, the Penang state government made it an explicit point that all its leaders will be banned from applying for land from the state to prevent the abuses seen during BN administration.

The transparent and accountable administration by the Pakatan Rakyat state governments have resulted in repeated surpluses in both the Penang and Selangor administrations.  Penang achieved a record budget surplus of RM138 million in 2011 after successive surpluses since 2008.  Similarly, the Auditor-General has also confirmed a surplus of RM180.5 million in 2011, a 45% increse from RM124.2 million achieved in 2010.  The finacial reserves of the Selangor state government has also increased from a mere RM400 million in 2008 to a whopping RM2.4 billion today.

Hence, the threat of a violent “winter of discontent” is nothing but an empty threat from an increasingly panicky Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional.  The threat, repeated umpteen times by UMNO leaders and its delegates during the just concluded UMNO general assembly appears to be their only weapon left, that is to scare the Malaysian voters in to submission and to prevent the corrupt BN government from being toppled in the coming general election.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

BN Will Bankrupt Malaysia, Not PR

UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak attempted to scare Malaysian voters that by voting Pakatan Rakyat, the latter will bankrupt the country in 3 years.

Najib said, the opposition under Anwar’s leadership was espousing poor policies, pointing to its plans to ensure an average of RM4,000 a month as household income, abolition of tolls and the PTPTN debt, RM500 special allowance for teachers and hiking the royalty payment to 20 percent for oil-producing states.

“If all these are done in the first year, the federal budget deficit will spiral to almost 30 percent. By 2015, our debt to GDP will sky-rocket to 140 percent.

“In three years time, we will reach a critical stage where we will lose our economic sovereignty, like Greece,” he said.

Without even going into the details of the accusations over Pakatan Rakyat policies which have been well rebutted by my colleagues previously, Najib’s claims are completely preposterous.

Pakatan Rakyat has unveiled our Alternative Budget for 2013 which has clearly spelt out our expenditure proposals which are much less extravagant and much more prudent than that by the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government.  We have proposed an expenditure of RM234 billion and projected a deficit of 3.5%, as opposed to BN’s RM252 billion and a 4% deficit.  How did Najib pluck a 30% or a incredulous RM300 billion deficit from thin air?

In fact, if the BN Federal Government scandals are anything to go by, it is the current administration’s continued profligacy which will cause the country to be "bankrupt" if they are voted back into power.

We have seen how the BN Government provide all sorts of unacceptable excuses not to collect back RM250 million of soft loan extended to UMNO Wanita Chief Datuk Shahrizat Jalil’s family in the failed National Feedlot Corporation projects where the money was abused to purchase luxury condominiums.  Similarly, Datuk Seri Najib has instructed that RM589.6 million of outstanding debt from Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli to Federal Government subsidiaries be completely written off for no good reason.

At the same time, we have surfaced RM140.2 billion worth of contingent liabilities or Federal Government guaranteed debts which are not included in our official debts of RM502 billion.  The contingent liabilities or hidden debts are rising at an exponential rate as a means for the BN Government to bail out its cronies and failing GLCs such as the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).  In fact, the heavily indebted Port Klang Authority has officially requested the Finance Ministry to write up RM2.1 billion out of its RM4.6 billion debt incurred as a result of government guarantee.

On the other hand, Pakatan Rakyat Governments have proven our prudence in managing state finances.  The Selangor State Government for example has successfully recovered RM392 million worth of debt from Talam Corporation incurred during BN’s administration.  Similarly, open and transparent policies have resulted in repeated surpluses in both the Penang and Selangor administrations.  Penang achieved a record budget surplus of RM138 million in 2011 after successive surpluses since 2008.  Similarly, the Auditor-General has also confirmed a surplus of RM180.5 million in 2011, a 45% increse from RM124.2 million achieved in 2010.  The finacial reserves of the Selangor state government has also increased from a mere RM400 million in 2008 to a whopping RM2.4 billion today.

Pakatan Rakyat will implement prudent spending and will reallocate funds for our proposed expenditure, by cutting wasteful expenditure, restructuring subsidies target groups and eliminating corruption via open, transparent and competitive tenders and procurement systems.

Hence the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Malaysians throughout the country can evaluate and compare the performance of the BN administration versus the Pakatan state administrations over the past 5 years and make informed judgements.  Pakatan Rakyat has more than proven that we are more than capable of strengthening the country’s finances and economy, while on the other hand, the continued corruption, abuse of power and profligacy under BN will inevitably lead to economic disaster for the nation.