MCA leaders as great a focus as Najib in the 2010 Budget presentation in Parliament

MCA leaders were as great a focus as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in yesterday’s 2010 Budget presentation in Parliament – the visibly uncomfortable MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and the forlorn MCA Deputy President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

This was a departure from the Budget Day in Parliament in previous years when the budget for the new year had no competitors for attention and would be the cynosure of all eyes and ears.

This distraction is highly pertinent to the relevance of theme of Najib’s first Budget, viz: “2010 Budget – 1Malaysia, Together We Prosper”.

The question that immediately comes to mind is how there can be a 1Malaysia Budget when it is founded on such shaky foundations like “1MCA”, with all top MCA leaders totally discredited after treating the MCA Central Committee members, over 2,300 MCA delegates, the Chinese community and the Malaysian people as “suckers”.

Does Najib’s 2010 Budget qualify to be described as a 1Malaysia budget? Using the term 1Malaysia for various programmes and proposals do not ipso facto make them “1Malaysia” – when there is even now a “1Malaysia Toilet”!

Najib has proposed a new maximum income tax rate of 15% for Iskandar Malaysia compared with 26 per cent for the rest of the country. The rationale is to attract local and foreign talent as well as intensify the development of Iskandar Malaysia, with the tax treatment eligible for those engaged in qualifying activities such as green technology, biotechnology, education services, healthcare, creative industry, financial advisory and consultancy services as well as logistic services and tourism.

How can this new tax incentive qualify to be 1Malaysia, when it discriminates against the other four development corridors and the rest of the country?

If Najib’s 2010 Budget is to be a 1Malaysia budget, then such a special tax rate to promote high-level knowledge workers should not be discriminatory in its application at all.

Malaysia is already divided into too many “Malaysias” without the creation of new dichotomies, which can only take the nation further away from the goal and objective of “1Malaysia”.

  1. #1 by taiking on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 1:44 pm

    Next chapter. All umnoputra companies will have a base and an address in iskandar.

  2. #2 by taiking on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 1:49 pm

    Higher income or higher disposable income? Sorry for asking this question but you see I am a product of umno’s (-)meritocracy system.

  3. #3 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 1:51 pm

    Perhaps Najib will want to give a response to your comment by changing the initial slogan of “2010 Budget – 1Malaysia, Together We Prosper” to another version of the slogan, which reads as “2010 Budget – 1Malaysia, Together We Prosper in the BN-governed State of Johore”.

    So, just let Najib continue to uphold his control in Johore and let him lose all other states to Pakatan Rakyat in the next General Election since Najib is only interested to make the Iskandar Project of Johore prosper in the next one year and he is not interested to make other states prosper!

    Here is another new interpretation of 1Malaysia, namely, “1Malaysia = 1BN in 1Johore and 0BN in Other States!”

  4. #4 by peter sng on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 1:55 pm

    Najib is keen on implementing GST[Goods & Services Tax]. When this comes about, all prices of essential goods will go up for sure. But before that he will cut down on subsidy of those essential goods and prices of such goods will go up pretty SOON. It will affect all but definitely hurt the poors more painfully.

    Instead he should focus immediately on those “leakages” as per the Auditor’s General Report. With those lost “billions” in the bank a/cs of a few privileged individuals, it can subsidize the lower income, right?

  5. #5 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 2:13 pm

    The Malaysian economy has been suffering from drastic drop in the private sector expenditures but the Government Linked Corporations such as Maybank and CIMB Banking Group are still keen to get involved in the leveraged buyout of poorly-managed foreign banks like the banks in Indonesia or in Bangladesh.

    This constant buyout of foreign banks by local GLCs may indicate that the BN Federal Government has lost confidence in the business environment of Malaysia and they are keen to dig more hares’ holes in foreign countries in order for them to store in foreign banks (which are kept within their figuretip control) the wealth and loot which they have amassed throughout many years from their institutionalised robbing on the Nation of Malaysia.

  6. #6 by monsterball on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 2:24 pm

    Yes..UMNO is trying to find Malays suckers and MCA is trying to find Chinese suckers..but both are trying so hard to find Malaysians suckers.
    Those that are proud to be Malaysians will never fall into their traps.
    Dirty politicians do not know what shame a dignity are. Mahathir is the best in dirty politics.
    But MCA have gone beyond far more dirty politics…yet they feel no shame.
    How can you describe those who are voted out…are still sitting down in Parliament?
    One word… for UMNO to be used and control.
    MCA politicians have never been so low class as what we are seeing now.
    You think these guys cares for the people or for themselves?

  7. #7 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 4:26 pm

    Many people wonder why Najib is much more interested to attract more investors to invest in Iskandar Project Site than any other project sites of Malaysia by way of permitting only a maximum 15% personal income tax rate instead of a maximum 26% income tax rate as applicable to other investment areas of Malaysia.

    If we understand that Umno’s investment holdings flagship companies, Renong and Faber, hold more than 10,000 acres of developmental lands in Iskandar Project Site, then it is quite easy for us to visualize the reason why Najib is keen to provide personal tax incentive to invite investors to come to Johore’s Iskandar Project Site. That means Najib is desperate to get an immediate cash out from the huge land banks that have been held by Umno’s flagship companies since 1996-1997. This is also an indication that Umno is in need of hard cash. It may also mean that the Umnoputras are keen to keep cash on hand because they have no sure confidence that Umno can continue to control the Federal Government by the next General Election.

    In other words, the Umnoputras are suffering from big confidence crisis among themselves!

  8. #8 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 5:13 pm

    The only commendable budget proposal I found with Najib’s newly announced 2010 fiscal budget is the proposal of promising easy approving procedures for application of Permanent Residence Status by qualified foreigners who plan to reside in Malaysia and the promise of giving “dependent expatriate family visa” within 14 days of receiving an application from the spouse or next of kin of a Malaysian citizen.

    In order to take advantage of the above budget plans, DAP should encourage all its branches to organize the match-making tours to mainland China, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia for those DAP members who are still single after exceeding the marriage suitable age. It is important for DAP to work out a proper logical plan in order to ensure the continual supply of its loyal members from the traditional sources. The plan of encouraging its members to get married at marriage suitable age and to give birth to more children should be deemed a reliable plan to ensure the continual supply of DAP members from the traditional sources.

  9. #9 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 5:16 pm

    The above 55s who are retired and cannot find a job, without any income and a dwindling savings.

    What’s in the budget to really take care of this growing but hapless group? Will they survive their old age?

  10. #10 by taiking on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 5:41 pm

    Easier process for pr status? Good. But that is only the announcement part. Lets wait for the implementation part to kick in. Coz we all know umno gobermen depts implement their own policies.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 7:16 pm

    This is the problem with a political slogan like 1 Malaysia – it is very quickly commercialized/misused by all kinds of people/groups under the pretext of giving support to (read ingratiating) the leader/PM’s vision and applied to all kinds of incongruous/irrelevant contexts/scenarios for their private interests!

    For examples, the feuding factions of MCA rationalize the outcome of their power struggles under the banner of 1MCA. If I were a vendor of a high performance toilet bowl of strong durable vitreous China with gold plated trimmings and environmentally friendly 1.6 gallons per flush, I’d market/advertise it as 1 Malaysia Toilet System!

    As a concept 1 Malaysia is good if it refers to unity in spite of diversity as applied In Context Of A Nation, especially one divided in religious, racial, cultural and geographical terms.

    But what happens if one departs from Context Of A Nation and indiscriminately extrapolate the “1” theme to other contexts of a political party like MCA or even PAS or a product like a toilet bowl? It becomes ludicrous!

    Politics is supposedly (in ideal terms) empowerment to politicians so that they could rule, run and manage country well to the benefit of its citizens and people.

    As a process there is always a perpetual contention/tension between the government and the people in the sense that the first is interested to perpetuate tenure for the benefit of ruling politicians whilst the people have an interest in checking their abuse of power and imposing discipline of accountability and good governance.

    So 1 Malaysia as a reference to 1 people united in spite of differences is good whilst 1 political party or 1 political coalition may not necessarily be good for the country and people! This is because a 1 political party or a 1 coalition party (united and strong) can also be united and strong (not necessarily in doing good for the people) but in its abuse of power against the rakyat!

    Today we like to see more contrariety of opinion and even open bickering in UMNO or (say) MCA. This is especially so when political parties are filled with mediocre players with moribund ideas and programs. This is not just a reference to ruling parties. Take the Opposition party PAS. Its spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had suggested that the Islamic party hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to deal with ‘several problematic leaders’ and change its president, Abdul Hadi Awang.”Even the Indian community can go against (MIC president Samy Vellu” he added. So who said 1 PAS or 1 MIC is necessarily good???

    In fact all parties including DAP should arguably do the same, and before becoming “1” do the necessary to kick out the troublemakers who are not acting to the interest of the high principles under which the parties’ banners are carried and sold to the people….

    Of course woe betides the people if they kick out the good and high principled peoiple instead of the unscrupulous miscreants!

    From the above it will be seen that the concept of unity signified by “1” sign cannot be liberally applied without discerning the situation and circumstances to which it is applied.

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 7:34 pm

    YB Kit,

    In passing, I draw your attention to Malaysiakini report by Andrew Ong
    Oct 24, 09 3:06pm, which reported :

    ”The powerful Registrar of Societies (ROS) is empowered to decide on the rightful deputy MCA president”, insisted Dr Chua Soi Lek today.

    ‘According to former deputy party chief Chua, since the MCA constitution was approved by the ROS, it is thus the legitimate body to interpret it. He was commenting on Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s statement yesterday that ROS would not meddle in the MCA crisis. However, Chua can make an appeal to the minister.’ ‘ “I beg to differ with the minister,” Chua, told a press conference today, which was ostensibly held to share his views on Budget 2010 as MCA’s government policy monitoring bureau chief.’ “The constitution for all political parties are approved by the ROS. How can they say they have no power (to intervene)? I hope the ROS will brief the minister on their role,” he added.’

    Please note that the above underlines 2 salient points.

    1. Chua has forgotten that the powerful Registrar of Societies (‘ROS’) is under direction/power of the more powerful Minister of Home Affairs, Hishammuddin Hussein, so its a joke that Chua is trying to lecture Hishammuddin about ROS’s power of interpretation.

    2. The above underscores what I earlier said about the dangers of registering the entire Pakatan Rakyat Coalition as a society under the Societies Act that makes it come directly under the regulatory regime of a functionary like the the Registrar of Societies or ROS.

    Can you imagine that when PR (after registration as a society) has differences amongst its leaders, which invariably there will be, it has, in same manner of MCA’s Chua, to seek patronage of and be beholden to a functionary like the ROS to arbiter the dispute and suffer be a pawn in the bigger game where the ROS and his boss the Minister of Home Affairs could play “good cop and bad cop” with you???

    I rest my case.

  13. #13 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 8:27 pm

    Dunno what is wrong with Dr Chua SL. Not that political savvy I’d say. Just because of his great desire to recoup the Deputy President of MCA position he goes to the extent of publicly repudiating what Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, implying as if the Minister (a lawyer by training) is not well versed with the legal implications of the Societies Act or the powers of the Registrar of Society (ROS), and that the ROS knows better.

    Chua should know better that Hishammuddin can change the ROS if he likes!

    How can he advance his political position by crossing swords so to speak publicly with the relevant UMNO minister whose portfolio covers the administration of societies including political societies?

    Chua could have negotiated for his position more diplomatically and less publicly via informal direct channels with the UMNOputras instead of doing so publicly citing ROS’s stance in defence of his position.

    The fact that he does not do so could well imply that in our conservative/religious moral milieu UMNO masters have distanced themselves from him in light of his baggage of a sexual scandal.

    UMNO cannot bank on the other Liow Tiong Lai because Toyota Alphard ‘gift’ allegations. So no choice lah, the only bankable one by default is Ong Tee Keat.
    So they broker “the peace” between OKT and CSL.

    One to one, CSL has probably more support than OTK and LTL & 3rd Force (individually, though not jointly).

    It is speculated that the distribution of support/power equation within the party machinery between the MCA trio (ie OTK, LTL + the so called “Third Force” and CSL (before the EGM) was probably (say) in the ratio of 3:7:9.

    Which means OTK (the weakest at 3) needed LTL’s support of 7 to prevail over CSL’s 9 in a vote of confidence on himself and expulsion of CSL.

    LTL’s faction earlier used the combined support of OTK (3+7) to prevail over CSL’s 9 to get CSL sacked as deputy president though he was later restored as ordinary member (to placate some delegates sympathetic to CSL).

    By using the same combined support of OTK (3+7) LTL faction could get LTL elected as Deputy President in lieu of CSL’s position.

    Then by LTL’s withdrawing a little of his support (so that instead of 3+7, it becomes 3 +5) in the EGM on vote of no confidence on OTK, OTK lost and was expected to resign so that LTL ascends up to No. 1 slot pushing out both OTK & CSL.

    As there are no permanent friends or foes in politics, and hence common enemy unites otherwise enemies to become friends, so OTK & CSL join forces to marginalize the LTL’s faction to restore status quo of OTK No 1 and CSL No.2. in MCA hierarchy. Otherwise both will be out!

    However CSL is, between the 2, the stronger one within the party but within BN firmament with UMNO calling the shots, OTK has by default the endorsement of UMNO’s leadership. That’s the key leverage OTK has against CSL with more support.

    The No. 2 (CSL) with more support within MCA wants to ascend but not getting enough support from big brother.

    LTL sidelined will try to play balance of power, siding/tilting to OTK’s side (after a passage of time when latter has felt less poignancy over recent betrayal) as counterweight against CSL’s assertion of influence. OTK would need LTL as well against CSL in the future.

    Do these conditions make for lasting peace in MCA ? Not likely, though UMNO now holds the ultimate balance of power to be arbiter of who could hold on or be replaced in respect of MCA’s no. 1 slot.

  14. #14 by vsp on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 9:58 pm

    A new tax avoidance haven in the form of the IRDA new tax structure. Now an UMNOputra can now set up a 2-ringgit shell company, registered its address in Iskandar, enter into a joint venture scheme with a principal company which will be the one actually doing the job, install themselves as directors and voilà, they are entitled to the benefit of not paying any tax at all! ingenious ya!

  15. #15 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 10:27 pm

    Let me see. According to the latest official forex reserve statistics (see Wiki) as at September, it is like this:

    Malaysia US$ 93.5 billion

    UK US$ 84 billion
    US US$ 83 billion
    Australia US$ 43.5 billion
    European Central Bank US$ 73 billion
    UAE US$ 45 billion
    Canada US$ 53.5 billion
    etc etc

    Thailand US$ 133 billion.

    So we are better off than UK, US, Australia and the ECB even. But way behind the Thais.

    Somethings are just puzzling. I am not an economist but can some economists out there explain the situation in plain simple “England”?

    Are we pokai or not?

  16. #16 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 10:39 pm

    And with regards to Dr Chua, the ROS and the Minister, I faintly recollect what the government of the day and the people in office then in 1987, did, when they registered “UMNO Baru” now known as the “original UMNO”, ahead of Tengku Razaleigh when the latter appeared to have filed his registration papers in earlier?

    Wasn’t the ROS then summoned to meet up with that, that, that ……. apanama, I forget.

    Reality check.

  17. #17 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 10:42 pm

    Hey, why is my next comment moderated? I no the understanding.

  18. #18 by k1980 on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 10:50 pm

    Malaysia’s latest official forex reserve as at September is US$ 93.5 billion. But how much is its total external debt? And after deducting the RM12.5 PKFZ scam, it will be only US$81 billion.

  19. #19 by yhsiew on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 10:51 pm

    MCA’s so called EGM was only a farce as decisions made at the EGM could be overturned by self-centered leaders.

  20. #20 by Hugos on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 11:03 pm

    Jeffrey is right.

  21. #21 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 24 October 2009 - 11:52 pm

    Oh, I see !

    If you have reserves of US$ 93.5 billion, and you owe Ah Long, Ah Kong, Ah Mah, Ah Kow, Ah Gu, Ah Beh and Ah Chua US$ 200 billion, you are actually pokai.

    They show you the “credits” but not the “debits”. Sneaky fellows.

  22. #22 by limkamput on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 12:24 am

    Mr Singh, may be I can help you a little.

    A country’s foreign reserves may originate from many sources. One of them is from our borrowing abroad as pointed out by some of you. But borrowing from abroad to build up the reserve does not really make sense because with increased reserves, the country has also built up foreign (or external) debts which must be serviced and repaid in foreign currencies. Most external debts are denominated in US D, Euro or yen.

    Then we have foreign reserves originating from foreign investment, either FDI or portfolio. FDI is more sustainable because the investment is usually for medium and long terms and so the possibility of reversal (pull out) is less. Portfolio investment, i.e. investment in our stocks and shares and currencies is usually more volatile and may cause problems when foreign investors decide to pull out at short notice as happened in 1997/98 crisis.

    The more sustainable foreign reserves are one from trade surplus, i.e. foreign exchange we earned from Malaysia’s exports. When firms earn foreign exchange, they have to exchange it with BNM for ringgit. That is how BNM accumulate foreign exchange.

    Because of 1997/98 financial crisis, most East Asian countries decided to accumulate large amount of reserves to cushion against any sudden change of confidence or any sudden reversal of investment flows. The conventional wisdom now is foreign reserves provide confidence to a country’s currency. A large reserves is an indication the country is able to meet its foreign obligations either servicing the interest or repay the external debts. Large reserves also indicate a country’s ability to pay for its imports.

    However, confidence is not solely dependent on international reserves. USA is a typical example. It has almost no foreign exchange reserves and yet the US dollar has remained acceptable in most country. But because of its spending beyond its mean, the beginning of the end of US dollar has probably begun. The next world currency? The Chinese renminbi perhaps.

  23. #23 by boh-liao on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 12:34 am

    NR does not wish to perform super well to leave too much RM around
    Deficit is better n less is better
    Just in case BN lost to PR in the next GE

  24. #24 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 1:09 am

    A shizophrenic Barisan Nasional, a schism-wracked MCA, a semi-valued MIC and a Najib all-3-rolled-in-1Malaysai, that is Malaysia Today.

  25. #25 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 1:19 am

    cOMPUTER TOYS for Parliamentarians. If the Minister of Finace can’t even get his toys right for MPs , what hope has 1Malaysia! There goes the taxpayers purse.

    Read: Jeffoooi’s Screenshots:

  26. #26 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 1:30 am

    Why is it all our ex-PMs suddenly become wise, spiritual and such smart alecks after they retire! Poor ol’ Mahathir. A quarter of a century as DPM/PM gone to waste and now he is making up for lost time by telling Malaysians how to suck eggs.

    “MELAKA, Oct 24 (Bernama) — An administration led by Muslims must be guided by Islamic values and be fair in all matters, free from corruption, respect laws and show concern for all communities, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

  27. #27 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 1:37 am

    Did they install any computer games for the bored MPs?

  28. #28 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 2:08 am

    Ah so desu ka.

    So what then is our total debts, foreign and local, that our 1Malaysian government have? Is it more than our reserves?

    As I recall, during the 1997-98 crisis, all our foreign ‘friends’ demanded their money back, cut our credit lines, wanted to withdraw their ‘medium to long term investments’ even. Trade fell. And to avoid bankruptcy, Apa Nama had to freeze everything, impose capital controls and locking everybody in for a number of years. Otherwise we would be kaput. Bank Negara had to arm twist foreign banks here to lend the government money which they all reluctantly did as they had no choice.

    How long will US$ 92 billion last? 8 months? After that? Financial crises often last longer than this. My friends just told me that to avoid default, our government keeps lengthening our repayment periods so that we don’t have to repay so quickly if another crisis strikes. And we will have enough money to buy rice and keep the peace. But repay we eventually will have to.

  29. #29 by limkamput on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 3:03 am

    Some of the info you need are available in the Economics Report of the Treasury and also the BNM annual report.

    The external debts are not just incurred by the Federal Government. Private sector too incurs foreign debts.

    Total external debt (i.e by government and the private sector) is about RM180 billion, but the government portion (i.e. government and govt related agencies etc) was only about RM60 to RM70 billion. I need to look at the latest report.

    Total domestic debt of the Federal government was about RM240 billion (again I must look at the latest numbers). Domestic debts are ringgit denominated so it has little or no forex implication.

    If you look at our Budget, there is actually no provision for repayment of debts (since 1998 since we have deficit every year so how can we repay our debts; it is oxymoron to borrow to repay debt, unless it is for refinancing to get lower interest rates). The Budget only provides allocations to pay for interest on external and domestic debt. Total interest payment per year is about RM13 to RM14 billion, the bulk of which is domestic.

  30. #30 by Taxidriver on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 7:11 am

    No more money coming from PKFZ. Caught by rakyat. Now they are moving south to Iskandar which is much,much bigger than PKFZ. Brilliant strategy by UMNO Baru as Johor is a rich state and UMNO Baru stronghold so, in the event that PR takes over the Federal Government, they have a refuge. All corrupt BN politicians in states outside Johor will ‘migrate’ to Iskandar and its surrounding areas to escape prosecutions by the new PR government, turning Iskandar into a new city ( Kota UMNO Baru where the BN Chinese and Indians will become ‘pendatangs’ ) As for me and my family, we will consider moving to the tiny Red Dot or to another state. I also would like to see Mahathir honour his words and leave Malaysia.

  31. #31 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 7:21 pm

    Based on the information provided by limkamput, we can highlight the following debts (domestic and external) of the Federal Government:
    1) Domestic Debt: RM240 billion
    2) External Debt: RM60 billion – RM70 billion
    3) Total Debt: RM300 billion – RM310 billion
    4) Total yearly interest expense:
    RM13 billion – RM14 billion.
    5) The interest rate per annum:
    Between 4.33% -4.52%
    7) Gross National Products in 2007:
    RM628.2 billion
    8) External Debt as a percentage of GNP:
    Between 9.55% – 11.14%
    9) Total Government Debt as a percentage of GNP: Between 47.76% – 49.35%

    Based on the above figures, it is undeniable that the Malaysian Federal Government is already high gearing in debt financing. The risk to lend money to the Malaysian Federal Government is high. That may explain why Najib’s recent offer of 1Malaysia Unit Trust did not receive good response from foreign investors and local bumiputra investors!

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