Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 25th
Why did the government give only a RM 364.2 million tax cuts to 10
million working Malaysians or a mere RM 36 per year but is willing to
put workers funds at risk by using RM5 billion of Employees Provident
Fund (EPF) to bailout selected listed companies?
The drop in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index
(KLCI) to 859 points, its lowest close in four years, is a clear
indication of the failure of the BN government economic response to the
global financial crisis by injecting RM 5 billion into Valuecap Sdn Bhd,
a company set up by the Government in 2003 to invest in undervalued
companies. What is RM 5 billion to buy shares in a few counters compared
to the Bursa Malaysia’s capitalization of around RM 700 billion?
A RM 48 billion economic stimulus plan that has the tidal effect of
helping 27 million Malaysians is fairer and financially sustainable than
the RM 5 billion funds borrowed from EPF to fund purchases of shares of
certain companies. By risking RM 5 billion to buy shares in companies
belonging to BN cronies only helps the few at the expense of risking RM
5 billion of EPF money belonging to all Malaysians.
DAP condemns EPF for agreeing to this short-sighted measure without
first calling for a full Board meeting to discuss this issue thoroughly.
It is unacceptable that representatives from workers do not have a say
on how workers’ funds are now put at risk to save those few companies
who never remember to give back to workers when they reap huge profits.
This is another classic case of BN’s unique public-private partnership
where profits are privatized to individuals but losses are socialized
and borne by the public.
Such funds should be put to better use by helping those who are hurt
most by the global financial crisis. The government should stop being in
denial mode but fulfill its sacred duty to act not for the few but in
the national interests of all. DAP proposes a 4-prong RM 48 billion
economic stimulus plan to help the poor and businesses overcome the
adverse impact on the global economic crisis:-
• RM 6,000 annual oil bonus to all
families earning less than RM 6,000 a month or RM 3,000 annual bonus
to bachelors earning less than RM 3,000 a month will cost RM 35
billion or a mere one-third of Petronas last year’s gross profits of
RM 107 billion;
• A progressive reduction
of corporate tax rate from the present 25% to 17% which will cost RM
• A daily revision of petrol
prices to take into account of changes in the international price of
• An immediate reduction in
electricity tariffs which was increased by 26% when the price of oil
was USD to reflect in the change in the price of oil.
Monetary and fiscal measures like cutting
costs and putting money into people’s pockets will help to generate both
jobs and businesses. The RM 48 billion will be shared by ordinary
Malaysians who will put the money into the local economy. This will
drive the economy and with the multiplier effect from the RM 48 billion
in the local economy help grow and contribute to the GDP and maintain
the quality of life of working Malaysians.
DAP is disappointed that the government has not announced any measures
to help working Malaysians reduce the financial burden of rising prices,
apart from giving a miserly RM 364.2 million in tax cuts or only RM 36
per year for each working Malaysian in the 2009 Budget. What is RM 364.2
million in tax cuts for working Malaysians compared to the RM 5 billion
using workers funds to help companies.
Such a policy is discriminatory against workers as their funds in EPF
should be used to help workers and not employers. Clearly the BN
government has not only got its priorities wrong helping the few instead
of all, but is a short-sighted measure that confuses and equates
economic policy with corporate bailouts.
Lim Guan Eng, DAP
Secretary-General & MP for Bagan