“Where is Zafrul, and why is he afraid to take the stand and gallantly defend what, in my opinion, is “a half past six budget proposal?” Isn’t it obvious he can’t defend it? And when the government of the day cannot defend its own budget proposal, how is it going to convince Members of Parliament that the country is in good hands, that it has the interest of the rakyat at heart?”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
تڠكو زفرول ءغائبء دري ڤرليمين، اينله سببڽ…
The tabling of and subsequent debate on the Federal Supply Bill in the Dewan Rakyat are events of monumental significance and importance.
The tabling of the budget itself allows the government to propose its revenue sources and spending projections, forecasts for the upcoming year and its fiscal policy for the forward years.
The debate presents an opportunity for lawmakers to question the proposal and for the government to defend what it has proposed.
It is through this presentation and debate process that the government convinces all Members of Parliament that it has a clear sense of direction and knows what is needed to manage the country well.
In simple terms, the government must convince everyone that the country is in good hands, that it has the interest of the rakyat at heart.
Notice that the key word here is “convince.”
It follows, if the majority of lawmakers are convinced that the country is in good hands, they are confident.
When they are confident, they will approve the budget. This is why a vote on the budget is often referred to as a vote of confidence.
If, however, the majority of lawmakers aren’t confident that the country is in good hands, they will not approve the budget.
When that happens, it is effectively a vote of no confidence against government, meaning, the majority of lawmakers isn’t convinced that the government knows what it takes to run the country.
And from what I’ve seen, neither Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin nor his minister in arms, Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, have the faintest idea what it takes to revive the economy.
On Friday, Zafrul revealed the largest ever budget in Malaysian history without offering a clue – which, if you don’t already know, is what the government is supposed to do – as to where the money will come from.
Will Muhyiddin be increasing tax? No.
Will Muhyiddin be borrowing from banks? We don’t know.
It is a RM322.54 billion budget, RM25.54 billion more than the previous budget. We are told it is to help cushion the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
We are told it is to help the rakyat, particularly those affected by ravages of the disease. But where is the money coming from?
We don’t know.
As one article put it:
“This year’s total revenue is estimated at only RM227.3 billion, a 14% drop from 2019 (RM264.4 billion).
“The government has somehow been unrealistically optimistic that it could earn RM236.9 billion in 2021.
“Still, the country has to borrow close to RM100 billion (RM85.64 billion) to meet the ambitious gigantic expenditure of RM322.54 billion next year.”
Again, where is the money coming from?
We don’t know.
Finance Twitter wrote:
“Hilariously, the new budget’s estimated revenue of RM236.9 billion is just enough to cover the operating expenditure, which amounts to RM236.5 billion (73.3% of the Budget 2021 allocation).
“This portion is to keep the government running, including paying 1.71 million civil servants on government payroll, not to mention the highly paid bloated Cabinet of 72 ministers and deputy ministers.
“Finance Minister Zafrul Abdul Aziz was extremely optimistic in his budget presentation, claiming the economy will grow 6.5%-7.5% next year, the unemployment rate to drop to 3.3% from 4.2% this year, and domestic demand to rebound to 6.9% in 2021.
But Covid-19 isn’t going to go away on the 1st of January 2021, and things aren’t miraculously going to fall in place in an instant even if it does.
In the first place, it will take months, perhaps years, to undo the damage Covid-19 has caused industries and businesses, many of which have rolled their carpets due to the lack of assistance from government and banks.
In the second place, mere policies aren’t going to revive the economy anytime soon, as these policies take time to translate into positive results that generate steady revenue streams for government.
So yes, Zafrul’s presentation was unrealistic, particularly since his forecast on unemployment rate was so far off, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he either got bad advice or was pulling a fast one.
And forget the RM85.5 million allocation to JASA – which is something to both laugh and cry about – why on earth did Muhyiddin increase the allocation to the Prime Minister’s Department by RM3.8 billion?
To battle Covid-19?
The list goes on – RM400 million to abolish Felda settlers’ interest debts – which, as Finace Twitter put it, is actually a bailout after the Malay settlers were screwed up by Najib and his gang members – RM400 million for biodiversity protection, RM100 million for NGOs involved in job creation, RM2 billion to continue Green Technology Financing Scheme 3.0, RM15 billion allocated for transport infrastructure projects, yadda yadda yadda….
Tell me, how is this prioritizing, how is this a budget to help the man on the street who has lost his job and has four hungry mouths to feed, and not to mention, is saddled with debt due to Muhyiddin’s uncalled for CMCO 2.0 which could have been averted for green and yellow zones?
And since when did NGOs become involved in the business of “job creation,” and why would anyone allot RM100 million even if it were true?
You’d think that Zafrul would attend parliament to answer these teething questions, wouldn’t you?
Well, think again.
Earlier today, the deputy speaker of the Dewan Rakyat reprimanded Zafrul Aziz and his deputies over their absence when the federal budget was being debated in the house.
So where is Zafrul, and why is he afraid to take the stand and gallantly defend what, in my opinion, is “a half past six budget proposal?”
Isn’t it obvious he can’t defend it?
And when the government of the day cannot defend its own budget proposal, how is it going to convince Members of Parliament that the country is in good hands, that it has the interest of the rakyat at heart?