Abdullah: National Budget 2020 could spell disaster for country’s economy

Abdullah Saidol — file pic

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KUCHING, Oct 17: The recent national budget for 2020 revealed during Parliament might spell disaster for the Malaysian economy if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government only meant it to justify its relevance as a good and efficient government.

This is because the budget would be a deficit budget, on top of a declining tax collection of 13.1 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), claimed Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Corporate Affairs) Abdullah Saidol in a statement.

“Out of the RM297 billion budget, RM241 billion (81.21 per cent) is for Operational Expenditure (Opex) and RM56 billion (18.79 per cent) only for nation development.

“The majority of people view this skewed budget as not progressive and it is almost impossible to achieve PH’s mission of boosting economic growth.

“Why is there so much funding for Opex, especially parking huge funds at the Finance Ministry? We should be suspicious about this because the Finance Minister has that frequent habit of twisting and U-turn policies,” Abdullah opined.

He added the PH administration should have admitted that their biggest mistake was to abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which left a big hole in federal coffers, causing Putrajaya to force Petronas to pay the federal government a “special” dividend of RM30 billion.

Ironically, Abdullah said, a substantial portion of the country’s oil and gas resources came from Sarawak where Petronas gave Putrajaya RM30 billion, but Putrajaya only gave Sarawak back RM4.5 billion.

This, he added, did not include the amount from other taxes paid by Petronas to Putrajaya such as Corporate Tax and Petroleum Income Tax (Pita).

“Do you think that’s fair to Sarawak? Things don’t look favourable for the PH federal government when the national debt is also increasing after they took over Putrajaya.

“Are we going to face serious national inflation and the PH administration has no clue how to widen the revenue base? Thus the people will end up suffering due to increasing cost of living.

“It should be noted that previously the federal government gave Sarawak a substantial budget of no less than RM100 million for perimeter surveys of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land and also a Special Scheme for Building New Longhouses, but PH provided nothing,” Abdullah observed.

On that note, he took a swipe at the statement by Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen for claiming that Sarawak got about 30 per cent, or RM16.8 billion of the RM56 billion national budget, when it only actually got RM4.5 billion, which is only 8.04 per cent of total development expenditure.

“Instead of admitting their political clumsiness by deliberately lying to Sarawak people, Chong tried to put the blame on the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government, alleging that we are trying to twist facts and mala fide (bad intent).

“Our calculation is based on their snobbish public announcement and promises that they will, amongst others, deliver 20 per cent royalty to Sarawak and 50 per cent of all taxes collected in Sarawak,” disclosed Abdullah.

He noted that in July 2018, Chong had disclosed that appropriately the total amount to be paid to Sarawak should be about RM8 billion.

In a nutshell, Abdullah added, the federal budget tabled by the PH administration was a desperate attempt to justify its relevance as a good and efficient government and all those goodies that they announced are just a temporary “feel good” initiatives.

He hoped that Sarawakians would not be too quick to get excited about the federal budget because the PH administration had done damage within the two years after taking over Putrajaya.

“My last words would be to question whether Chong and all Sarawak PH representatives are truly sincere and honest about fighting for Sarawak rights and interests?” Abdullah concluded. — DayakDaily