KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 – The Budget 2019 which was tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on November 2 is better called ‘Rakyat Tears Budget’, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
Debating the Budget at Dewan Rakyat today, the Opposition Leader said the budget was purposely designed to popularise the Pakatan Harapan government and failed to emphasis sufferings by the rakyat.
Among 11 subjects which support the Opposition rejection of the Budget are a political budget, no proper stimulus package, no just in allocations by race ratio, non-guarantee loan and the declining of Bank Negara international reserves since PH took over after GE14.
Others are rural folks allocation, PTPTN, undelivered PH manifesto, rising unemployment and no incentives to settlers, fishermen, rubber tappers, breeders and planters.
“Let’s give attention to the rakyat as a whole. This Budget is only beneficial to urban folks and not rural. Have some consideration for them. By halting or reducing the assistance given to them under the previous government, is totally a suppression.
“While the government is reluctants to recognise the ratings by Moody’s, Fitch, Standard and Poor and other international agencies, they are also does not offer an attractive investment package to investors.
“And the government still lies about our debts, and drafted the Budget to its whim and fancy,” he said.
Zahid said the economic fiscal does not contain elements that could be applied as resistants formula to brace the adverse economic impact of the trade war between US and China.
He also questioned the mathematical explanation for the Cabinet’s decision to called off and deferred major projects already inked by BN government.
“We need to know, the rakyat need to know the mathematical explanation. Did it derived by proper calculation or just on assumption?”
On allocations to schools, Zahid questioned the motive behind figures revealed during Budget 2019.
“We found uneven and unjust alocations for Sekolah Kebangsaan, SRJK (C), SRJK (T), religious and tahfiz schools. The RM314.6 billion budget allocates RM50 million to all schools.
“This translates to RM27,777 for each and every 9,000 Sekolah Kebangsaan per annum, RM38,520 each for Chinese schools and a whopping RM93,984 for Tamil schools.
“I don’t mean to deny the importance of vernacular schools but the distribution is not reflective of the number of schools and race ratio,” he said, adding that it can be labelled as ‘an apartheid budget’ which caused an uproar among the government’s MPs.
“Another beyond-comprehension figure is RM12 million allocation for about 60 Chinese private schools, or RM200,000 each a year. I sincerely would like to ask the Finance Minister to explain.”
The Umno president also made a comparison to BNM foreign reserves which stood at almost US$110 billion before GE14 to the US$101.1 billion as at last month.
“The figure was at US$44 billion when the fourth prime minister stepped down at the end of 2003. It took him 22 years to achieve that figure but it shot up to US$110 billion in nine years (under Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak).
“Bank Negara seems to be in cahort with figures produced by the government and did not anything to correct it. It buffles us,” he said.
Apart from the government failures in writing off PTPTN and Felda settlers loans, PH is also frustrating the rakyat with their RM1,100 minimum wage and toll abolishment.
“There are reports that about 500,000 lost their jobs either under retrenchment or being sacked due to political reasons. Do have sympathy for them. Their bread and butter issue needs special attention.
“Negative response from the stocks market also gives a strong warning that the microeconomic management needs more adjustment as to make the country meets investors’ expectation,” he added.
Zahid, in reminding that ‘the government is not always right while the Opposition is not always wrong’, urged the government to listen more to the voice of the rakyat.
In efforts to make Malaysia a fully-developed and a high-income nation, he said more people’s based economic approach should be given emphasis, and not only to popularise the government.