Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 11th November 2011:
5 reasons why Penang will not go to the polls this year if Najib calls for snap elections
As speculation rises whether Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak will call for snap elections on this auspicious date of 11 November 2011, there are 5 key reasons why Penang will not follow suit and hold concurrent elections with the federal parliamentary seats this year.
One, BN has still not fulfilled its promise to repeal the Internal Security Act and disbursed RM 500 to all households earning below RM3,000 per month. Questions are raised as to whether BN will conduct a mere cosmetic exercise of repealing the ISA but replacing it with two ISA-like laws. resulting in Malaysians ending up with two ISAs instead of one.
The disbursement of RM100 to students this year when this measure is included in the budget is for 2012 and not 2011 raises questions of legality especially when the 2012 Budget has still not being passed in Parliament. Further if the RM100 is to be paid this year when it is not budgeted in this year 2011 budget, where is the Federal government getting the money from.
Lest we forget Malaysia recorded a budget deficit this year as has been a deficit for 15 years. The National Deficit for 2010 is RM43.27billion, for 2011 is RM45.51 billion whilst the 2012 projected deficit for is RM43billion. (4.7% out of RM918 billion nominal GDP projected). Where is the Federal government going to get the extra RM530 million for giving to school students RM100 this year when it is not budgeted for 2011 and will only increase the 2011 deficit further?
Two, holding general elections now would be unfair to those performing the haj as they will be denied their right to vote and determine the next government. The last batch of the Haj pilgrims are not expected back until Dec 11 and almost 30,000 Malaysians went to Mecca to perform their pilgrimage
Three, the failure and refusal by the BN government to explain the misappropriation of funds, gross irregularities and abuses of power as outlined in the 2010 Auditor-General's Report. The 2010 Auditor-General Report reminds Malaysians of everything that is wrong in the BN Federal government. Night-vision marine binoculars costing only RM 1,940 are bought at a price of RM56,350, a TV LCD and DVD player bought with a contract price of RM16,100 was supplied with an inferior brand valued at only RM195; RM770,000 was spent to supply electricity to one house.
The Auditor-General's Report said nine ministries or departments had overspent their operating allocation for last year by a total of RM3.73 billion and even a Minister Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil is involved when a RM73.6 million cattle-farming project is given to her family's company. Her husband is the Executive Chairman while her son is the CEO. The rest of her children, meanwhile, are executive directors.
Many questions remained unanswered about this National Feedlot Corporation project in Gemas, Negri Sembilan. Chief amongst its failures is its production of only 3,289 heads in 2010 or 41.1 per cent of its intended target of 8,000 heads. The AG's report also cites poor management as a key factor and points to other failings such as its failure to train enough farmers, a 5,000-acre farmland that is overgrown and poor maintenance of its facilities.
Naturally, Malaysians are concerned about public money which includes an additional soft loan of RM250 million being used to fund this "family business", especially when it is turning out to be a monumental failure. In addition, Sharizat has still to deny reports of how the funds were used on non-cow related purposes including an allegation by PKR that nearly RM10 million was spent to purchase a high-end condominium.
Four, the Parliamentary Select Committee of Electoral Reforms have still not completed its hearings to carry out reforms to ensure a free, fair and clean elections. Failure to do so would permit the dirtiest general elections in history with phantom voters and illegal immigrants being transformed magically to citizens and voters in a few hours. Would Malaysia's destiny be determined by Malaysian citizens or phantom voters and illegal immigrants?
Five, the national agenda for the end of this year should be focused on flood prevention and mitigation. Malaysians should learn from the horrors of floods in Thailand that has caused tragic loss of life and huge financial losses. To hold general elections now during the rainy monsoon season when flood victims are more bothered about surviving than voting, would be not only be a denial of their democratic right of choice but cruel and inhumane.
If Najib insists on calling snap polls this year, then the Penang Pakatan Rakyat will hold a special convention where a recommendation will be made not to hold the state election together with the federal parliament.
*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister