110113 | George Town
Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth is at their best again – misleading the public and treating the people of Penang as if we are dumb.
It was reported that Penang BN Youth vice chairman Tan Hing Teik clamoured about the Penang state government’s deficit budget. Tan ignorantly claimed that the state government will go bankrupt due to our annual deficit budgets (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/218483)
Penang BN Youth is obviously ignorant on 4 counts:
Firstly, Penang BN Youth is obviously ignorant of economics. In the recent global economic crisis, the argument that there should be budget cut to boost growth has been discredited. Budget cut may lead to a sharp fall in demand especially when even household spending is already dampened. Instead of merely prescribing austerity, even conservatives are proposing responsible spending; in other words, it is not merely about deficit or surplus, but good and clean governance.
Secondly, Penang BN Youth is obviously ignorant of the track record of the Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government. Its vice chairman, Tan Hing Teik obviously cannot differentiate between projected and actual budget. Since 2008, despite projecting deficits, the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government has managed to achieve actual budget surpluses every year. They are, as follows:
2008: RM88.0 million
2009: RM77.34 million
2010: RM33.54 million
2011: RM138.32 million
It is worth noting that the 2011 figure is the biggest surplus in the history of Penang.
Under the leadership of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, the Penang state government has also received praises for good and clean governance from both national and international bodies such as the Auditor-General of Malaysia and Transparency International. Among others, under Pakatan Rakyat, the state government has managed to achieve the below:
1) annual final budget surplus since 2008.
2) actual state revenue increased around 26-56% annually from projected revenue.
3) successfully reduced 95% of state debt from RM630.13 million in 2008 to only RM29.66 million presently.
4) managed to rescue Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai (MPSP) from bankruptcy due to mismanagement under Barisan Nasional and now MPSP is back on good financial track with annual budget surplus since 2008.
5) savings and increased revenue are channeled back to the people via programmes such as Penghargaan Warga Emas, Bantuan Ibu Tunggal, Skim Pelajar Emas, Program Anak Emas, Program Bantuan OKU and others.
6) distributing RM12 million annually to schools in Penang.
7) the first state in Malaysia to achieve zero hardcore poverty and is on our way to become a zero poverty state in 2013.
Thirdly, Penang BN Youth is obviously ignorant or conveniently chose to ignore the failures of Barisan Nasional when they were running the state of Penang. It was at that time that Penang REALLY suffered from ACTUAL budget deficits. Under Barisan Nasional, Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai (MPSP) suffered the humiliation of being labelled a bankrupt local council with a straight 8 years deficit totalling RM230 million.
Fourthly and finally, Penang BN Youth is obviously ignorant of the many problems in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s federal government. Not only has the federal government under BN ran a decade-long deficit budgets, it is plagued with chronic problems of corruption, cronyism and nepotism. Recently, Malaysia was labelled by the international community as the “World Champion in Corruption” given our embarrassing result in the 2012 Transparency International Bribe Payers Survey where 3,000 executives from 30 countries were asked whether they had lost a contract in the past year due to corruption. Even the Auditor-General himself reported that RM28 billion was lost annually due to various leakages and mismanagement in the federal government. And let us not forget that under Barisan Nasional, our national debt has risen up to a historic high of over RM502 billion, 54% of our GDP. Against the high national deficit and debt, international rating agencies have warned that our credit rating would be downgraded if change does not come soon.
While we do not expect Penang BN Youth to be well-versed in the economy because after all under BN, Penang and Malaysia suffered from their failed economic and financial management, we expect BN to at least have the basic ethics not to mislead the people with such ridiculous lies about the Penang state government. BN should respect the intelligence of the people of Penang and Malaysia. They should instead spend more time assisting Prime Minister Najib’s weak and lacklustre federal government to prevent the warning of federal Minister Idris Jala about Malaysia becoming bankrupt by 2019 from coming true.
Steven Sim Chee Keong
Publicity Secretary, DAPSY Penang