Posted: 20 Jan 2015 01:50 AM PST
20th January 2015.
a) The PM should have focused on addressing the spiraling cost of living crisis. Despite the decrease in global oil prices (between 50 – 60%) people are finding it difficult to make ends meet, especially the poor. Food prices have increased, albeit weather conditions are partly responsible for the increase. Transportation prices have not decreased. In fact school bus fares have increased in the last week. Price Increase should not affect access to health and education, as people are already bracing themselves for increased expenditure in other areas, especially once the GST kicks in;
b) Electricity tariff should have been decreased given that oil prices have decreased drastically. The government still has to pay the concessionaire so that there is no real savings for the state; In short, the PM's claim that the halving of global oil prices will result in a benefit to consumers is not ringing true. The UMNO-led government seems unable to keep a lid on prices, with a price control mechanism needed urgently to prevent this problem from worsening.
c) The budget revision should have been bold by cutting the bloated Prime Minister's Office budget which amounts to RM 65.6b, constituting about 24% of the total budget. In addition, the awarding of all government contracts must be halted and thoroughly scrutinized by an independent body, so as to ensure that potential leakages are cut. The first step should be to plug the leakages.
d) Support for SMI needs a further rethinking. Exports to China will decrease. However, the increase in exports to the US is not a given proposition. There is a body of thinking that says that the economic rebound in the US might not be sustainable. And this might have an impact on exports of electrical and electronics to the US. Thus there might be an urgent need to support the needs of SMIs. It's not easy to enter other markets in short notice;
e) Household debt defaults might be on the rise but sadly no support for this category.
f) The minimum wages need to be increased from the existing RM 900 to RM 1200 to help workers and their families cope with price increases and higher cost of living;.
g) problems with IMDB and FGV might reach serious proportions and the ramifications for the economy is significant. So stay tuned for Austerity 2.
h) In general, budget 2015 revision is a huge disappointment for the average Malaysian.
Member of Parliament, Klang.
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