Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Malaysia under Najib spells dictatorship, says Anwar

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (image) has predicted a dictatorial regime under Prime Minister-designate Datuk Seri Najib Razak. [The Malaysian Insider, 10/11/08]

The charismatic former Finance Minister turned Opposition head was commenting on the government's plan of a financial boost worth RM7 billion to stimulate positive economic growth in the midst of a global recession. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the funds will be spent on a wide range of projects, from light rail transport to repairing houses of the poor with the hope of boosting the nation's ailing economy.

However, Najib's decision to allocated the huge sum of public funds despite its positive effects (as argued by the Finance Ministry) was criticized by theDatuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Such a move, according to Anwar, did not go through the proper parliamentary procedures and thus, could not be considered an approved policy.

"It has not been approved by Parliament. It has not even been tabled," the Permatang Pauh MP said of the stimulus plan. The public is not even aware this is a problem as conveniently most mainstream newspapers have covered this up just to protect him," Anwar said. [The Malaysian Insider, 10/11/08]

Najib's refusal to table the financial package in the parliament for a proper debate was seen as a prelude of what was to come under reign ofNajib when he assumes the role of Prime Minister next year. Anwar's statements echoed the Opposition insistence that such large utilization of public funds should be brought for a detailed parliamentary debate.

"This means you can anticipate the type of administration under Najib. In the issue of tabling this revised budget, the fact is that it was not done according to procedures. If he says it will be disbursed in January, how do you disburse funds that have not been approved by Parliament? So I do not know from where, maybe from his savings,"Anwar told reporters. [The Malaysian Insider, 10/11/08]

Even the US$700 billion financial bailout package proposed by President Bush in September to rescue the American economy had to be presented to Congress for approval.

The RM7 billion stimulus package was not part of the original 2009 Budget. On Wednesday, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia was right to rule that Najib's proposals were not an amendment to the 2009 Budget. However, the announcement of the RM7 billion stimulus package was announced by Najib in his closing speech of the 2009 Budget debate.

The question mark hangs over Najib's announcement of an addition to the existing budget when clearly
no changes to the 2009 Budget was tabled at the Dewan Rakyat.In other words, Najib made changes to the agreed Budget without informing the Dewan Rakyat of any amendments.

However, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had insisted in Parliament that the funds allocated in the stimulus package was under an administrative order from the Finance Ministry and were not considered an amendment to the Budget Bill. In answering to Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang's query, Ahmad Husni said that the RM7 billion package was a 'hypothetical' solution as it depended on savings made from the downturn in global fuel prices.

But the 2009 Budget was also a 'hypothetical' solution by itself, as it depended on educated assumptions of revenues and expenditures acquired from predicted economic trends.

One might also argue that such bureaucratic corners had to be cut when an immediate response by the government is needed in the wake of a dire situation, in this case, the global credit crunch.

But why the double standards when the 2009 Budget was given the privilege of a parliamentary debate while a similar 'hypothetical' solution in the form of the stimulus package was approved without the need of one?

2 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    Today average petrol price is USA is USD2.22/gallon. In some states, it is USD1.89/gallon with some stations selling petrol at USD1.50/gallon.

    At average USD2.22/gallon X RM3.5 (exchange rate) = RM7.77/gallon.

    1 US gallon = 3.7854 litres.
    So 1 litre of petrol in USA is RM7.77/3.7854 = RM2.05/litre. In USA, there is ZERO "subsidy".

    In Malaysia I am paying RM2.15/litre with supposedly RM0.30 "subsidy".

    Can someone explain to me what is wrong?

  2. Anonymous said...

    Just as the fiction and fictitious story in UTUSAN broke into a fierce storm by Seputih,a storm centre in Bandar kinrara, MI's prediction of a Dictatorship emerging in a vibrant lively democracy of ours should also be taken like wise.
    In addition to be prediction it also ,a gamble,a speculation and crsytal gazing by madame Zohra.
    Mah Ngah Tong

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