Monday, October 10, 2011

What Malaysia needs is certainly not more of BN’s empty promises, but a new Putrajaya government with Pakatan Rakyat at the helm.

Speech by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat at DAP dinner organsied by DAP Teluk Intan on Sunday, October 9, 2011


What Malaysia needs is certainly not more of BN’s empty promises, but a new Putrajaya government with Pakatan Rakyat at the helm.

There are two speculated dates for the next general election which will be the most important one in the nation’s history.

The two dates mentioned are November this year and April next year.

Those who believe that November is the likely date say that the BN government wants to take advantage of the after effect of the various feel good announcements made by the prime minister, including the Malaysia Day law reforms announced and the Election Budget presented.

Although BN leaders are quick to deny that the 2012 Budget is an election Budget to win votes, everything is just so clear.

There are lots of goodies including wage increases for the civil service worth RM2 billion and a RM2.5 billion direct assistance package to poor households and students.

But the Budget is an unrealistic Budget.

The government projected 2011 economic growth target as 5.0-5.5 per cent. It estimated that the fiscal deficit will shrink further to 4.7 per cent of gross domestic product next year.

But economic analysts have said that given the prevailing global economic climate, the government’s projection is too high.

DAP’s Publicity Secretary Tony Pua, in an immediate reaction to the Budget had said yesterday;-

“We may not yet be facing the crisis of Greek proportions, but Budget 2012 is doing very little to avert such eventuality, leaving the Malaysian economy nakedly exposed to the inevitability.

Our Federal Government debt has increased rapidly from RM242 billion in 2004 to RM363 billion in 2009 and RM456 billion in 2011. That represents a marked 88.4% increase in debt over the past 7 years. It is also an increase of 25.6% or nearly RM100 billion over 2 years.

The increase in debt has increased the pressure on reigning in our budget deficit as our annual debt service commitments have increased to RM20.5 billion next year from only half the amount 5 years ago in 2007.

While our federal government debt to GDP ratio is still at a moderate 53.8%, a far cry from Greece’s 117%, we are not far from Spain’s 64% or Ireland’s 67%, both of whom are facing economic turbulence of their own.”

The announcement by the Prime Minister in increasing Employers contribution from 12% to 13% to the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is most welcome. But more should have been done to help the workers.

It is a known fact that prices of food commodities have been going up and eating into the purchasing power of salaries being earned by the workers.

Over 60% of Malaysian workers earn less then RM3000 a month. Over the last decade salaries have been increasing at an average of 2.6 % a year. At the same time inflation has been hovering at above 3.5% Thus, in reality workers purchasing power has been on the decline in the last decade.

A caring government should naturally help the workers.The government should have:-
1) announced cost of living allowance (COLA)
2) encouraged the private sector to declare bonus as being done for the public sector
3) encouraged employers to review salaries in the private sector
4) spelt out l the retirement age for the private sector
5) stated clearly the minimum wage for all workers in the country

So after 54 years of BN rule, the country is faced with serious issues which need to be effectively addressed. But is BN government serious and capable of dealing with such issues?

The answer is simply too obvious and what is needed in the next general election is definitely political change.

Political analysts who believe that the next general election will not be this year hold the view that BN is still not confident enough of the voters’ support and hence require more time.

Regardless of when the general election is held, Malaysians who want a better Malaysia for all should rise to the occasion and vote Pakatan Rakyat into power at the state and federal levels.

When opening the MCA Annual Assembly in KL a few days ago, the Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib said the most important question is trust- whether the people can trust BN or PR.

The answer is obvious. BN ruled this country for too long and its track of records has shown that the people ought not to place their trust in BN.

If not for the political tsunami of the 308 general election which resulted in BN’s unprecedented electoral debacle, it would not change. ISA and other draconian laws will still exist.

PR can even commit to real significant political changes before we come to power. We don’t make empty promises and PR is certainly a coalition of hope to the people and a coalition that the people can trust.

What Malaysia needs is certainly not more of BN’s empty promises, but a new Putrajaya government with Pakatan Rakyat at the helm.

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