“Borrowing spree to finance budget’

By G Vinod, FMT

PETALING JAYA: Budget 2012 failed to address ways for the economy to remain resilient in the light of an impending global economic crisis, said Klang MP Charles Santiago.

With the US and the European Union, being Malaysia’s traditional export market, bracing itself for another economic slowdown due to its debt crisis, Santiago said Malaysia is going on a spending spree without a proper direction.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced a RM230.8 billion budget that included a lot of goodies catering for the lower income group and the civil servants.

Among others, Najib announced windfall for Felda settlers next year and pay hikes for civil servants from RM80 to RM360 depending on their grades.

Calling the budget an election gimmick, Santiago said Najib failed to find ways to increase the nation’s revenue base in Budget 2012.

“And with our commodity prices  falling, obviously we are going to continue borrowing money to finance this budget,” said Santiago.

Currently, he said, the nation’s debt stood at RM456 billion, which is 53.8% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“And despite the huge amount of debt, we are still borrowing like there is no tomorrow. The fact is, our future generation will be shouldering the responsibility to pay off our dues,” said Santiago.

Citing example of the RM100 cash handout to students, the DAP leader said it would cost taxpayers RM53 million which could be better used to provide scholarships and rebuild dilapitated schools.