RM7 billion economic stimulus – Najib wants MPs and nation to live a fiction

Yesterday, the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia made the ruling that Parliament was debating the Abdullah budget presented on August 29, 2008 and not the Najib Budget of an additional RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced during the 2009 Budget winding-up debate on Tuesday, as no changes to the Abdullah Budget had been tabled in the House.

The Speaker is right as MPs could not possibly be debating a revised 2009 Budget incorporating an additional RM7 billion economic stimulus package, when neither the details of the supplementary RM7 billion package have been tabled in the House nor an amendment to the 2009 Budget proposed in Parliament.

The trouble with such an interpretation is that MPs would have to live the fiction of pretending that the RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced by Deputy Prime Minister and the new Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his speech winding-up the2009 Budget policy debate had disappeared into thin air within 24 hours and does not exist!

In fact, the nation and Malaysians are being asked to join in his fiction, if Najib persists with this unprecedented solution to the parliamentary faux pax he had committed in failing to follow the correct parliamentary procedure of submitting a proper parliamentary amendment to the 2009 Budget incorporating the new RM7 billion economic stimulus package.

This was why I had likened Najib to the illusionist David Copperfield yesterday when the Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, responded to my query in Parliament and explained that the RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced by Najib on Tuesday was a hypothetical one, as it depended on savings made from the downturn in global fuel prices, and what the government will do with RM7 billion when the situation arises.

I agree with Najib when he announced the RM7 billion package on Tuesday that “extraordinary times require extraordinary measures”, like amending the 2009 Budget with an additional RM7 billion economic package in the face of the worst world economic crisis in 80 years because of the global financial meltdown – but this is no justification in breaking all parliamentary rules and procedures by one day presenting a RM7 billion economic stimulus package and claiming in the next 24 hours that it is just a hypothetical proposal!

Isn’t the entire 2009 Budget of RM207 billion, made up of RM154 billion operating estimates and RM53.7 billion development estimates equally “hypothetical” as being based on on a whole architecture of assumptions about revenues and expenditures which only time can tell whether they will come true?

If so, why then is Parliament debating and passing a “hypothetical” 2009 Budget but is not required to debate and pass a “hypothetical” supplement to the 2009 Budget in the form of the additional RM7 billion economic stimulus package?

This is not a good start for Najib as the new Finance Minister and five-month Prime Minister-in-waiting, as this is not the way a responsible Finance Minister should conducted himself – telling Parliament and nation one thing and saying a completely different thing 24 hours later.

Najib never qualified his announcement on Tuesday that his RM7 billion economic stimulus package was a hypothetical one.

Instead, he wanted Parliament and the nation to take his RM7 billion economic stimulus package seriously, and this was why there was a two-week build-up of an important announcement he would be making in Parliament on Nov. 4.

All the media, whether television, radio or newspapers, treated his RM7 billion package as his important first test as the new Finance Minister and not just as a flight of imagination, with all front-page newspaper headlines yesterday like “RM7b KICK-START – Government responds to global financial crisis” (New Straits Times), “RM7 bil spending – Najib unveils plans to ensure continued growth of economy” (Star), “$PEND, $PEND, $PEND” (Sun), “RM7b rangsang ekonomi” (Utusan Malaysia) and “Dana RM7b rangsang ekonomi – Penjimatan subsidi minyak jana pertumbuhan negara” (Berita Harian).

Are all these just mirages in the desert?

Najib came to Parliament on Tuesday like Santa Claus before Christmas announcing a whole litany of goodies from the RM7 billion economic stimulus package, including

· RM1.2 billion allocations for the construction of 15,000 low-cost and medium-cost houses.

· RM500 million to refurbish police stations and police quarters, as well as army camps and their living quarters.

· RM600 million for small projects under the Public Infrastructure Maintenance (PIAS) for repairing village roads, building of community halls and small bridges.

RM500 million for the preservation and repair of public amenities such as schools, hospitals and roads.

RM500 million for upgrading and construction of rural roads and village roads.
RM200 million to four groups of schools. RM50 million each for fully-aided religious schools, mission schools, Chinese schools and Tamil schools.

· RM300 million for creation of funds and to implement skills training programmes in the Development Corridors.

· RM500 million to strengthen the public transport especially the LRT, Komuter and bus systems in urban areas.

RM1.5 billion ringgit as investment funds to attract more private sector investors.

· RM400 million to expedite the high-speed broadband project implementation.

· RM200 million to build human capital through various training programmes by various ministries.

· RM100 million for Rakan Muda projects.

RM200 million to revitalise abandoned housing projects.

· RM200 million for early education for kids.

After raising high hopes from the beneficiaries of the RM7 billion economic stimulus package, is Najib now pouring “cold water” by suggesting that the various allocations announced by him in Parliament on Tuesday are tentative, hypothetical and not meant to be taken seriously?

Parliament and the Barisan Nasional would forfeit all public respect if this be the case.

Najib had committed a grave parliamentary faux pax in not following the proper parliamentary procedure in his first parliamentary outing. He should be man enough to admit his mistake and rectify it and not compound it by claiming that his RM7 billion economic stimulus package is a mere fiction and need not be debated and approved in Parliament.

Then why announce it in Parliament in the first place?

DAP and Pakatan Rakyat MPs are prepared to co-operate with the Barisan Nasional government in the interests of the people and country and we are ready to work with Najib to rectify his parliamentary faux pax.

But he must have the humility and decency to admit his parliamentary faux pas or there will be no way to rectify it.

One solution is for Najib to introduce a motion to amend the 2009 Budget to incorporate the RM7 billion economic stimulus package he announced on Tuesday, so that MPs could debate on both the Abdullah Budget presented on August 29 as well as the RM7 billion supplementary Najib Budget announced on Tuesday.

It is a great disservice to Parliament as well as a most adverse reflection on him if Najib persists in wanting MPs to live a fiction that the RM7 billion economic stimulus package does not exist and need not be debated.

This is the first test of Najib’s quality of leadership five months before he becomes the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia next March.

  1. #1 by taiking on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 11:47 am

    Oh shit! Umno works on hypothesis and not realities!

  2. #2 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 11:54 am

    You need to excuse the new FM.
    The MO has not changed from the time when they commanded a 90% majority and simply ignored the Opposition.
    This stimulus package is a good example of “No Think and Double-Speak”.


  3. #3 by Damocles on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 11:54 am

    Uncle Lim, don’t you know that the ministers in the BN government are hypothetical ministers!
    That’s why nobody is in charge of anything because they are not real or perhaps even surreal!

  4. #4 by Hasbullah Pit on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 11:55 am

    Ulasan di blog saya, perbandingan jumlah Perbelanjaan mengurus BN vs PR


  5. #5 by bentoh on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 12:01 pm

    The Prime Minister-in-waiting cum Finance Minister is experienced politician. He is at least a 4-term-MP (or 5? pardon me for not doing research), took over 3 different government ministries before, and once an MB in a state government. So how can he have no idea about the standard procedure in the parliament house?

  6. #6 by bentoh on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 12:03 pm

    The Prime Minister-in-waiting cum Finance Minister is experienced politician. He is at least a 4-term-MP (or 5? pardon me for not doing research), took over 3 different government ministries before, and once an MB in a state government. So how can he have no idea about the standard procedure in the parliament house?

    P/S: Why my comment isn’t shown when the system said I had submitted? Something wrong with the system?

  7. #7 by sj on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 12:29 pm

    Hypothetical ministers, that is a good one. Haha.

  8. #8 by sj on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 12:32 pm

    Actually I have a burning question, why in our Parliament, can we not shoot our Speaker? It is very obvious our Speaker is biased and misused his power to side with BN/UMNO when people on the otherside start questioning this issue. I mean if a Speaker in UK would dare to do something like this, they will be finished in no time. Can an MP actually raise a motion to remove our Speaker? If not then isnt the Speaker vested with a lot of power in Parliament? One man can even overrule an entire party.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 12:49 pm

    All I can say is that were Najid were to become Treasury Secretary in the US, he would be lynched on the spot in the US Congress

  10. #10 by max2811 on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 12:53 pm

    Stupidity reigns in malaysian politics. Idiots rule msia. Corrupts’ utopia in UMNO. Racist thoughts for those in yellow robes. This is my country.

  11. #11 by Bobster on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 1:12 pm

    Tats what you get when you put someone tainted with so many scandals as the soon-to-be-PM.

    Mr Clean has shown how ‘clean’ he has became after 4 yrs. What more to add regarding Mr Jis.

    More to come, trust me.

    Good luck Malaysia!

    huhuhu ……. sad, sad.

  12. #12 by Mr Smith on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 1:51 pm

    If David Copperfield can make a Mongolian and Balasubramaniam disappear why not a stupid stimulus package.
    You called him Santa Claus who is a fiction. Is Najib also a fiction?

  13. #13 by Steven on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 1:58 pm

    sj, you see, here is where the problem lies with Bolehland. You think they dare put in a non-partisan or better still, a bi-partisan person, in charge of the lower house? You think they dare to appoint an opposition leader, or better still a non political person, to head up the PAC? No….they know they are crooks and to put anybody but their own kind in those positions would mean shooting themselves in the foot and the danger of cans of worms being pried open. And these are only a couple of examples. What about the police force, the judiciary, the heads of GLCs, and the list goes on……forget about comparison with western democracies, we can’t even get close to Hong Kong, Taiwan and most of the rest of Asia in terms of open government.

  14. #14 by dawsheng on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 2:16 pm

    Will UMNO’s top judge after acquitted Razak Baginda on the ground of no prima facies does the opposite, starting with Anwar Ibrahim? Figments? Stranger than fiction? Or simply just predictable?

    Can we afford four years more for the next general election? The time table told me the oppositions would be slain by then.

  15. #15 by ST on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 2:39 pm

    What ever the so called save the economy plans that we heard of in many occusions with the big figures, there don’t seem to be of any direct help to the general pubblic in improving their income status & overcoming the money crisis.

    We the general pubblic don’t really 100% understand about politics & whatever the economic polices is. What we want to see is a real & direct improvement in the country economy so that jobs are created & good bussinesses are generated. Don’t tell us figures & that we have no interest on.

    So far we only heard of calls telling us to start planting vegetables at our home ground & nothing much on concrete ways to save ourselves from the economics crisis.

    Can someone comes out with a simple guildlines on how to save ourselves in this crisis ?

  16. #16 by jayenjr on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 2:43 pm

    YB Lim

    Perhaps you & PR team of MPs should also pose the following questions:-

    1. Huge allocations are earmarked for various infra projects. Will there be any transparency in the awarding of jobs related to the expansionary budget? Are these just measures to placate mainly, the Class F contractors, or to be more precise, the grassroots of the UMNO support/survival system? How can we ensure that the funds are given to properly qualified contractors, and not to fly-by-night type of UMNO leeches that are just waiting at the starting block for a good suck of the rakyat’s blood?

    2. This is an expansionary budget – ie guided by monetary policy. Firstly, it is clear that it is business as usual for the BN gov’n – they continue to fail to address key governance issues such as corruption, wastages, leakages etc. Just provide the $$$, and voila – the economy is cured! Neither does it address the sourcing of future revenue sources nor the establishment of a solid R & D base – which in turn can be revenue generators for the next generation. Well, what can we expect from cavemen who get excited bout sending a space tourist, whilst India & China are sending an actual manned rocket to the moon….

    The Finance ministry also needs to have a Fiscal Policy to guide the nation thru the next few years of ecomonic slump. Putting an average of RM60 per person by way of reducing EPF contributions is not going to be of much help. You may pump in total about RM2.4b back into the economy – but for an INDIVIDUAL – what is RM60 these days?

    Wouldn’t it be better to look into various tax breaks, say for a period of 2 years? For eg – allow for more tax allowances for Capital Expenditure by SMI businesses. Many SMIs would prob face a credit crunch in these days when bank tighten their lending – & as such, cash flows will be affected. But if SMI properietors are allowed to fully claim usage of personal assets in their businesses, then they can save on cashflows meant for Capital Investments – and plough it back to the business – incl to not re-trench workers.

    Now, you tell me, is this a better solution for an employee – ie having RM60 pm in his pocket – or actually having a job without getting re-trenched , cos his boss can’t sustain operations?

  17. #17 by monsterball on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 3:23 pm

    The PM in waiting…waste no time to spin his wheels…showing his leadership….how to win votes..and win with sytle …..this coming election.
    Like I said….many goodies will come…and yes….Najib will make many feel…… living in Fantasy World.
    What childish idiot will not do??

  18. #18 by k1980 on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 3:40 pm

    3.4% GDP growth for 2009, so be prepared to tighten your belts further. If the 13th General Elections is held in 2009, umno and the rest of the BN crocodiles will be wiped out, as fast as Altantuya’s corpse was wiped out with C4 explosives

  19. #19 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 4:52 pm

    aku suka berada di alam fantasi, boleh berangan angan. aku suka berimaginasi. aku suka berimaginasi akan tempat tempat exotic dengan wanita cantik. apatah lagi aku ada wang aku ada kuasa aku ada kedudukan. kalau aku tak suka bukannya aku tinggalkan dia. aku akan bom dia. 7 billion itu imaginasi aku aje kerana aku minat nombor itu, bukannya ada apa apa. ahhh, angka angka ini buat aku rimas, biarkan lah, pokoknya wang aku banyak angka.

  20. #20 by Godfather on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 6:47 pm

    3 months ago, John McCain proclaimed that the US economy was in good shape. 1 month ago, Muhyiddin confirmed that Bolehland’s economy is in good shape. One week ago, the PM in waiting proclaimed that Bolehland will not face a technical recession.

    These clowns are going to be running the country. They are no better in economics or statistics than the Sleepy Head. To these clowns, a stimulus package refers to money being conjured out of nowhere to fund their cronies. “Check and balance” refers to their current accounts. Velocity of money refers to how fast they can make money disappear. Of course, in this regard, we are World No. 1.

  21. #21 by Godfather on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 6:49 pm

    Both Najis and Muhyiddin are graduates of Akademi Fantasia.

  22. #22 by Jimm on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 8:19 pm

    umno malays are seriously busy with their monies politic event lately …..
    we must be proud of them the way the entire government machineries are proud of their leadership …..
    they are the one that took away their own children future.
    look at their children … purely OKU and demons of this country.
    we are not walking alone to hell as they are joining us too.
    drug addiction , inmoral life style , conmen ,have taken the right price of these children.

  23. #23 by lopez on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 8:34 pm

    first cheat the uni then cheat the people

  24. #24 by One4All4One on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 9:36 pm

    The functioning and realities of the Malaysian politics are based on the premise that there are two sides to a coin: a dominant one on side – the bumi ( more specifically the malay ) interests (which are protected, privileged, race-based and biased ), and on the other side: the discriminated “others” ( whose interests could be tossed about and treated according to whims and fancies, and be disregarded at will and according to appetite and favours).

    In the initial reaction to the euphoria of Barack Obama’s ascent to the presidency of the USA, many are interested in knowing whether such a scenario could be replicated in our very own country. The constitution is positive on this. However, the above-mentioned premise on which the political realities rest on in Malaysia, would not allow that to happen. So much for democracy in Malaysia, let alone true liberty, true opportunity and true unyielding hope for all Malaysians.

    Hypocrites and bigots abound among Malaysians politicians, administrators and authorities. If such attitudes are not removed and corrected, the future of Malaysia remains grim, prejudiced and jaundiced.

  25. #25 by StevePCH on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 10:03 pm

    Flip Flop pt 1 , AAB
    Flip Flop pt 2 , NTR
    Looks and sound familiar ? I think we are into another sh*t situation

  26. #26 by pathfinder on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 11:09 pm

    Oh god, another nimkumpook is going to take office real soon. And the flip flopping continues…..This fella thinks the 7 billion is his grandfather’s money, don’t even know the basic procedures in presenting the stimulus….

  27. #27 by pangwl88 on Thursday, 6 November 2008 - 11:59 pm

    I think BN members watched too much MATRIX movies already.

    They think they can really construct a virtual reality for all Malaysian to live in.

    Either way, there will ALWAYS be a NEO to break it.

  28. #28 by Toyol on Friday, 7 November 2008 - 9:19 am

    Its unbelievable we have a ‘pea brain’ as fumbling around like Mr Bean! Don’t even know what a Budget is! In a time when govts all over the world are scrambling to rescue their economies from collaspe, our dear FM is still telling lies and stumbling around. We, the rakyat are continuously being inundated by stupid people from BN. When is this going to stop, I wonder?

  29. #29 by Godfather on Friday, 7 November 2008 - 9:27 am

    They are under pressure to rescue all their relatives and cronies. Yes, car dealers can’t sell their cars now. Big boutiques can’t sell their clothes and handbags. Contractors can’t get contracts anymore. New housing developments can’t be sold.

    Oops, Najis did say that there will be no technical recession. However, the line to UMNO headquarters is getting longer. The line to seek financial assistance. Many of those queuing for help don’t know what to do with their 2nd, 3rd and 4th wives. They don’t know what to do with their 12 kids. They all hope that Najis has the answer.

  30. #30 by Godfather on Friday, 7 November 2008 - 9:30 am

    Talking about belt-tightening, I am almost certain at the recently concluded airshow in Zhuhai, China, that a Malaysian company signed an MOU with a China Aviation to supply light aircraft to Bolehland. The signing ceremony was broadcast on China TV networks. Someone should look into this, and find out if it is public expenditure.

  31. #31 by marketer on Friday, 7 November 2008 - 9:58 am

    sheeeet no! how could he announced something which was not fully thought of, i.e. having something said in another time??? now i’d have to change all d referencing made in my PEST coursework!!! he is such a dumbo! this is so sad. seeing my country tumble like this.

  32. #32 by shortie kiasu on Friday, 7 November 2008 - 4:22 pm

    Najib is making a fool of himself over the RM7b stimulus package in Parliament, and his cronies just follow blindly.

  33. #33 by ktteokt on Friday, 7 November 2008 - 6:48 pm

    Does Najis really think the BN can survive another “political tsunami” during GE13? I think he knows too well, that is why he is using the rakyat’s hard earned money in the EPF to pay off debts incurred by crony companies now. So, even if BN cannot make it in GE13, like he has said, the GOVERNMENT will guarantee repayment!

    Anyway, what can the GOVERNMENT use to pay off this DEBT? Isn’t it tax money paid by the rakyat that becomes revenue to the GOVERNMENT? And using this money to repay what it owes the rakyat is equivalent to “using the left hand to chop the right hand”!

  34. #34 by akarmalaysian on Saturday, 8 November 2008 - 2:04 am

    and fcuk hell.whr is this 7 billion really gonna come from?and to a sane citizenz mind like me and many others….how much are these dirty “bustards” gonna scoop and scoff intheir pockets?and wat kinda reasons again are they gonna give us if any one of their so called “contributing projects” failed?7 billion…..damn…how many of them are laughing all the way to their banks?i think these breed of monkies are taking us people for a ride again and again.

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