G Vinod | October 21, 2013
Free Malaysia Today
Pakatan Rakyat will only reveal details of its alternative budget later on fear that their ideas will be copied by Barisan Nasional
KUALA LUMPUR: A parliamentary select committee will scrutinise the Defence Ministry procurement to curb graft, said Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in announcing the Pakatan Rakyat alternative budget 2014 today.
“We will also look into postponing the National Service programme for next year until a review is done by a select committee.
“The programme costs us RM800 million annually. On top of that, 22 trainees have died undergoing the programme and we have cases of female trainees giving birth during their three-month stint,” Anwar said at a press conference at the Parliament lobby.
Also present were DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, PAS’ Kamaruddin Jaafar and several Pakatan parliamentarians.
Among other proposals outlined in the alternative budget are:
•initiating the Pan Borneo highway project by 2014;
•reviewing the cabotage policy imposed on East Malaysia in order to reduce prices of goods there;
•ensuring all rural areas have electricity and water supply, including Sabah and Sarawak;
•yearly allocation of RM1,200 to assist working mothers;
•setting up the National Women Provident Fund worth RM3 billion to help women;
•expanding the Social Security Organisation Scheme (Socso) coverage for workers to 24 hours, with an additional contribution of RM1each from workers, employers and the federal government.
•building flagship vocational schools to enhance skills training programme among Malaysian youths; and
•introducing a comprehensive insurance coverage for fisherman and farmers, covering even fall of commodity prices.
Lim said Pakatan leaders opposed the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) because the timing was not right.
“Implementation of a new tax must reflect on the real wage increase. Since 1997, workers in Malaysia only saw a wage increase of 1.7%, after inflation is taken into account.
“So GST will only serve to burden the people. Right now, we must look into increasing the disposable income of Malaysians,” said the Penang chief minister.
Anwar said the government should improve its efforts in curbing corruption and wastage before implementing a new tax system.
He added that the income gap between the rich and poor was also worrying, claiming the gap was becoming wider.
“Every year, we lose between RM20 billion and RM30 billion through leakages. Introducing GST without addressing wastage is akin to punishing the rakyat,” said the former deputy prime minister.
Queried on when the opposition will reveal the full details of its budget, Anwar said they would do so in three days.
“It’s because the Barisan Nasional government will steal our ideas. It’s okay for them to take our ideas but they do it without acknowledging us,” he said.