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Monday, September 5, 2011

PR welcomes BN's belated awareness of neglected Malaysians

Pakatan Rakyat

August 22, 2011

Media statement by Pakatan Rakyat MPs Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Liew Chin Tong and Tian Chua

The Pakatan Rakyat Alternative Budget Committee welcomes the Barisan Nasional’s belated realisation on the importance of helping those who earn below RM3,000 per month.

Behind the façade of the massive, impressive infrastructure projects favoured by the Barisan Nasional government is a much more modest Malaysia. Hundreds of billions have been spent on showcase projects and masterplans but:
· More than half – 60% – of Malaysian households earn less than RM3,000 per month;
· Nearly half – 43% – of Malaysian households get by on less than RM1,500 per month. Of this, ¾ – 73% – are bumiputra.

The most important aspect of Pakatan Rakyat’s Alternative Budget for 2012, aptly entitled Kesahjeteraan Untuk Semua, is:
· The focus on developing Malaysians, not projects; and
· Emphasising dignified jobs, fair wages and opportunities for all, and especially, the common Malaysian, not just well-connected elites.

If given the opportunity by the rakyat, a Pakatan Rakyat Federal Government will radically overhaul policies to ensure they boost the disposable income of the vast 60% of Malaysians, so that they live a dignified life while their improved financial position will boost domestic consumption in a sustainable manner, resulting in a positive “rising tide for all boats”.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah announced yesterday that Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) has been tasked to study new measures to help ease the rising cost of living for those earning less than RM3,000 per month.

This is the third time within a month that the Barisan Nasional Government has responded to economic pronouncements by Pakatan Rakyat. The other two occasions were the announcement of a new National Key Result Area (NKRA) on cost of living after Pakatan Rakyat held a roundtable chaired by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on inflation; and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s blog post on 10 August 2011 on cost of living after the inaugural media conference by Pakatan Rakyat’s Alternative Budget Committee on 5 Aug.

The admission by Husni and the Barisan Nasional Government that those who earn below RM3,000 need help is a clear indictment of Barisan Nasional’s failure to create a high income society.

A new policy framework is needed to help the majority 60% of common Malaysians living on less than RM3,000 per month. Mere tweaking by PEMANDU would not result in much changes. And we expect mere tweaking – PEMANDU has a tiny 2 week time-frame to deliver.

BN’s crony economy must give way to a people-centric economic framework. Pakatan Rakyat’s “Kesejahteraan Untuk Semua” framework includes dealing with the following policy challenges:

1. Raising incomes and productivity

· To help workers upskill and to introduce a minimum wage to break the vicious cycle of low-wage, low-skill and low productivity;
· To help industries move up the automation and mechanization curve while curbing unskilled foreign labour and increasing real wages for workers;
· To craft policies for the self-employed in informal sectors (such as taxi drivers, small businesses, petty traders);
· To unleash the entrepreneurial and innovative potentials of Malaysians.

2. Raising disposable income

The Pakatan Rakyat Alternative Budget will look into the four big-ticket expenditures for struggling families and to study the role of government in enhancing disposable income through better public service delivery:
· Health;
· Transport;
· Housing;
· Household debts and servicing of debts.

3. Curtailing monopolies, oligopolies and cartels

To boost disposable income and to create a rising tide that lifts all boats through domestic consumption from private citizens is to introduce competition in areas currently dominated by monopolies, oligopolies and cartels.

Pakatan Rakyat Alternative Budget Committee has articulated our framework on the rice monopoly by BERNAS, sugar oligopoly and the MAS/Air Asia airline cartel facilitated by GLCs. More details on other sectors will be highlighted in September with the full details to be released the final budget document.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS)
Liew Chin Tong (DAP)
Tian Chua (PKR)

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