|Reckless spending or genuine aid? Will the rakyat be happy and grateful enough to vote the ruling party back into power?|
Life is good for Malaysians. Regardless of your age, ethnicity and profession, if you are a Malaysian, you are in for a windfall. You don't even need to ask, yet you shall receive. This seems to be the campaign slogan of the government, especially in the past few months. Indeed the goodies have been coming at such an unprecedented rate, one wonders if the country has suddenly discovered new sources of unlimited revenue that the rakyat don't know about.
Last year a special housing scheme was launched to help young professionals own their first home. Civil servants were promised hefty pay increments and generous pension benefits. Last month a minimum wage of RM800 was introduced, and two days ago, the government promoted 24,000 teachers at a cost of RM934 million.
|Smiles all round as these women receive their RM500 BR1M vouchers. (Star April 26, 2012)|
Where is all this money coming from? Has the government turned philanthropist using taxpayers money? Our public coffers are not bottomless. The government's favourite golden goose Petronas will not continue to produce golden eggs indefinitely.
Pemandu CEO Idris Jala once warned that the country would be heading towards bankruptcy in 2019 unless it cut subsidies and debt. He caused a furore with his statement, and has since amended it - "The government is not in dire financial straits now, but as in any situation involving finances, this is not to say it cannot be better." (StarBiz: Mar 19, 2012)
|Flushed with money to give away. (Star: May 19, 2012)|
According to the PM, "We are able to do all these because we manage the country well and can distribute the wealth to the people. We undertake huge projects in Kuala Lumpur so that we can stimulate the economy and, with the annual increase in revenue of five to six per cent, we are able to share with the people. The national revenue for 2010-2011 was reported to have increased by RM26 billion. (From http://www.mysinchew.com/node/69730)
However, the Deputy Finance Minister recently told Parliament that the federal government's total debt at the end of 2011 stood at RM456.1 billion, 96% of which was domestic debt and 4% external debt.
In the end, it's a case of he says, I say, they say. What exactly is the state of our country's financial situation? Are we enjoying robust economic growth under the ETP? Or are all these government handouts less of a financial aid and more of a pre-election sweetener that it can ill afford?
Perhaps it's more a case of you know, I know and we all know the answer.
TONY PUA TELLS IT AS IT IS
IT PAYS TO BE A CIVIL SERVANT IN MALAYSIA