KUCHING, June 4: Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian said Tabung Harapan was born out of a citizens’ initiative and not mimicking what Korea and Japan had done in the 90s.
He questioned the rationale of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing for making disparaging remarks about Tabung Harapan.
“I do not understand why DCM James Masing would want to make disparaging remarks about the Tabung Harapan,” said Baru in a statement yesterday.
“He should know that it was born out of a citizens’ initiative, and that the Finance Minister (Lim Guan Eng) had set up the bank account in response to the people’s wish to help the country pay off our RM1 trillion debt.
“Nowhere was it claimed that the government was trying to mimic Korea and Japan. It was only brought up by some commentators after the fund was set up that Korea had the same initiative in the late 90s after the Asian Financial crisis.”
Amongst others, Masing labelled Tabung Harapan as a political gimmick, adding that Malaysia should solve the debt problem by adopting Korea’s and Japan’s method by inviting their businessmen to return home to help rebuild their countries.
Baru stressed that the difference between Tabung Harapan was that “ours is a citizens’ initiative, unlike the Korean experience, which was a campaign launched by the government”.
Baru, who is also Selangau MP and Ba ‘Kelalan assemblyman, said it had been explained that the bank account was set up to prevent fraud and fundraising scams by unscrupulous people.
“Everyone knows that fraudsters are ever ready to prey on the people, and the Finance Ministry did the correct and responsible thing by setting up the Tabung Harapan account.”
He said Tabung Harapan was also a way for citizens to show their love and patriotism towards the country, and it was the result of “the sense of solidarity and achievement post-GE14 felt by the public, which is so palpable”.
“People want to contribute towards the healing of the nation as they now have hope for a better Malaysia. Many feel that they have a vested interest in seeing the government succeed in rebuilding Malaysia,” he said.
“Even schoolchildren have joined in by washing cars to collect money for the fund.”
He said Korea and Japan were successful in paying off their debt, and whether Tabung Harapan manages to pay off the RM1 trillion debt was immaterial as the sincere sacrifices and efforts of Malaysians was what counted.
“Masing’s unkind comments belittle the efforts of ordinary Malaysians. It was the BN (Barisan Nasional) government under (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak, of which James Masing’s PRS (Parti Rakyat Sarawak) is a part, which got the country into this mess.
“If he has nothing good to say, it would have been better for him to remain silent.” — DayakDaily