Isnin, Oktober 01, 2012


Budget snub a ‘blessing in disguise’

Although there is no Budget cheer for Sabah and Sarawak, the people in the two states can now plan for alternative solutions in the coming general election.

KOTA KINABALU 1/10/2012: Sabah and Sarawak, which have been treated as Barisan Nasional’s “fix-deposit”, have been sidelined in Budget 2013.

But it is a “blessing in disguse” because the people in the two states can now plan for alternative solutions.

It appears that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, his advisers and the ruling BN are very confident that both states won’t slip away from BN grip at the coming general election.

This explains why they could afford not to deal with the prevailing “touchy” issues in Sabah and Sarawak.

Otherwise, they would have addressed several “heartbeat” issues in Sabah and Sarawak..

Besides development projects, the basic needs here are houses, roads, water and electricity – all priorities with East Malaysians.

Important too is the abolishing of the chocking cabotage policy on transporting goods to the two states.

The cabotage policy generally stipulates that imported goods to Sabah and Sarawak must come through faraway Klang Port, even if there is a shorter route and cheaper vessels to the states from the source of the goods.

And to cap it all, in Klang, the cargoes must be unloaded onto Malaysian vessels only, many owned by proxies, to be brought to Sabah/Sarawak, across 1,000km of seas.

As a result, it has caused the prices of goods to soar higher in the two states than in the Peninsula.

Najib failed to address the cabotage issue. Instead, he planned to introduce more state-owned low-price stores in the states but the quality of their goods is unknown.

Easier to decide now’

Chairman of UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPi MaFo), Daniel John Jambun, said now that the two states have been sidelined in Budget 2013, it would make it easier for Sabahans and Sarawakians alike to think about alternatives in the coming election.

“While the budget is a good BN budget, we must bear in mind that Sabah and Sarawak contributed huge amount of revenue and yet we get nothing in return.

“This is why we are the poorest now in Malaysia as the focus of development has always been in the Peninsula. This budget confirmed it.

“If Najib is sincere, he should have listened to East Malaysia. Maybe he takes us for granted,” he said when contacted.

Jambun, who is also deputy chairman of the State Reform Party (STAR), said Sabah BN leaders would be heaping praises on the budget but right-thinking people would think otherwise and start looking for alternative solutions.

“It is a blessing in disguise… there is always a silver lining in the clouds…” he said from Kuala Lumpur where he was attending a political meeting.

Another issue of great importance to the coming general election is the oil royalty.

While Pakatan Rakyat in its shadow budget unveiled a few days ago announced an increase royalty from 5% to 20% to oil-producing states if it takes over the federal government, Najib chose to confidently ignore it.

Political scientist Dr Arnold Puyok, meanwhile, said Budget 2013 is a budget to expand or grow the economy in the face of the government’s “alarming” deficit.

“I would hope to see more measures to reduce wastage and to ensure financial accountability,” he said.

Nothing significant

He said the good thing is that more incentives were given to fishermen and paddy farmers.

“This will help grow the traditional economy and alleviate poverty in the rural areas.

“Goodies to young and single people is an indication that the ruling party is set to win the hearts and minds of first-time voters in the upcoming election,” he said.

Economist Jerome Majanil viewed Budget 2013 as a political budget and was surprised that no major announcements were made for the corporate sector.

“The prime minister should be giving more attention to the corporate sector as it is this sector that gives money to the country.

“This budget should have said something on corporate tax so as to make sure we are continuously competitive and also ensure companies would not close down as they do pay taxes,” he said.

Majanil was also shocked to see that nothing big was announced for Sabah and Sarawak, especially on perennial issues affecting the slow development of the two “poorest” richest states in Malaysia.

“There is nothing for Sabah and Sarawak. The cabotage policy, for example, was willfully ignored. The government didn’t abolish or liberalise it. What is 50% discount for ferry fares to Labuan? It is nothing compared to the cabotage issue,” Majanil told FMT.

Diverting attention’

He said the need for a bridge to Labuan was also not addressed.

“Some of the recommendations are very difficult to implement. This is just a way of diverting attention.

“This budget is throwing away money,” he said.

Veteran journalist, Joe Fernandez, said “no matter what the budget says, the prime minister cannot run away from the fact that his BN coalition has outstayed its welcome”.

“After 55 years of BN rule, people are waiting to move into the 21st century.

“The focus of the next general election will not be the budget but the growing realisation and awareness among the people that no party should be in power for more than two or three terms at a stretch,” he said, adding that the opposition could do better.

Luke Rintod

14 ulasan:

  1. Mengenai bajet 2013 yang dibentang itu rasanya telah mendapat respon yang baik daripada rakyat.

    1. ya. ia bajet yang baik.

    2. Bajet 2013 yang telah dibentangkan pasti boleh membantu rakyat

  2. Bujet is adalah lebih keseluruhan.

  3. Perlaksanaan bujet 2013 harus juga bijak.

  4. Pasti ada golongan yang tidak puas hati dengan bujet 2013 ini.

    1. Pembangkang akan menghasut rakyat untuk membenci bajet 2013 kerajaan

  5. Terbukti kerajaan mengutamakan rakyat.

    1. Kerajaan sentiasa mengutamakan rakyat dan rakyat perlu terus menyokong kerajaan.

  6. Semoga projek yang dirancang dalam bujet 20113 dapat dilaksanakan dengan bijak dan terkawal.

  7. byk manfaat untuk rakyat pada bajet 2013

  8. The government would not sideline the middle-income group in the 2013 Budget, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He said various incentives were given out to assist this group, including one percentage point income tax reduction for those in the RM2,500-RM50,000 income bracket.During the tabulation of the National Budget, the government also provide housing programmes for the middle-income group. Apart from that, other facilities too is provided that benefit them like the My First Home scheme.

  9. Najib said the huge allocation for administration costs involving the public sector was to motivate public servants to provide more efficient service delivery to the public. He said the public must understand that the government was not only caring for the lot of 1.4 public servants but the welfare of their families as well. To a question on the benefits from the Budget for the people of Sabah and Sarawak, Najib said the government provided a rather big allocation to balance the market price of basic goods in the two states.Through this special programme, the government will at least ensure that the prices in Sabah and Sarawak are not much higher than the prices in the peninsula.

  10. In the annual budget, the government also provide allocations for rural electricity and water supply facilities including to the longhouses. Meanwhile, Najib said investors would have more confidence to do business in Malaysia when they saw a politically stable, peaceful and harmonious country. When they look at Malaysia, they will compare us with other countries. And when they like what they see about Malaysia…peaceful, harmonious, no violent street demonstrations….confidence in Malaysia certainly will be much higher. As a nation, we will benefit from that kind of perspective. Commenting on the government’s efforts to fight crime, he hoped the motorcycle patrolling unit would be implemented as soon as possible to enhance security in housing areas and ensure public safety. Najib said the government would allocate RM20 million to provide 1,000 motorcycles for the patrolling unit.