Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 3rd October 2010:
All Umno Elected Representatives nationwide should immediately return all their salaries to the Government as they come from non-halal sources
The recent controversy created by Umno politicians over the welfare funds given to old folks and the poor in Pulau Pinang, that it was derived from non-halal sources such as gambling, shows that they are willing to be the biggest hypocrites in order to maintain their grip on power.
Firstly, the state government has clearly denied that such funds were used for distribution to Muslims, which means that these Umno politicians are lying through their teeth to gain political mileage.
Secondly and more importantly, their attempt to distinguish halal and non-halal revenue for Penang smacks of ultimate hypocrisy as the Federal Government headed by Umno, the Finance Minister who is also Umno President, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak are the parties responsible for legalised gambling in this country. Furthermore, had it not been for the opposition by Pakatan Rakyat, Najib would not have withdrawn the sports betting license awarded to Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
What's more, the Finance Ministry has responded in Parliament to MP for Rasah, Anthony Loke on 9 Jun 2010 that the Government does not in any way differentiate the tax it receives from different revenue sources, be they from halal or non-halal activities.
"Untuk makluman Yang Berhormat, buat masa ini, hasil daripada aktiviti perjudian adalah dikategorikan sebagai hasil cukai kepada Kerajaan... Bagi semua hasil daripada bayaran cukai ia akan dimasukkan ke dalam Akaun Hasil Disatukan sama seperti semua hasil Kerajaan yang lain dan digunakan untuk tujuan belanja mengurus dan pembangunan negara."
This means that all tax revenue collected are deposited into a single Consolidated Fund.
Hence, by virtue of the same argument Umno is using in Penang, all Umno elected representatives should immediately return all their parliamentary and state assembly allowances to the Government as the revenue source is even more dubious than in Penang!
Penang state opposition leader, Datuk Azahar obviously could tell the difference when he claimed that "Umno assemblymen need not return their allowances as the state government's income was from tax revenue." He's obviously ignorant of the fact, intentionally or otherwise, that taxes are paid to the federal government which are then redistributed back to the respective states as grants and loans.
The irresponsible actions of these Umno leaders who have raised these religious issues to create fear in the hearts of Muslims purely for political expediency has only resulted in another own goal for themselves making them look completely stupid and foolish. It is Umno who approves all gambling licenses in the country, and it is the Umno Federal Government who uses tax revenue, regardless of source, to pay for all government expenses, including allowances of elected representatives and salaries of Ministers and civil servants.
These Umno leaders should not only return their allowances back to the Government, they should also demand that for future infrastructure projects such as highways built by the Federal Government, there should be lanes designated for Muslims and non-Muslims based on the proportionate breakdown of source of revenue used to build the roads.
All right thinking Malaysians should of course reject these ridiculous thoughts by Umno leaders to ensure that Malaysia don't become even more divided than it already is today.
* Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara