‘Gambler’ Najib will ‘break the bank’

The language Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak used when presenting the budget was the kind often used by gamblers.

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz, Free Malaysia Today

I don’t understand why there is so much hype over the unveiling of a budget. It seems the politics is more important than the contents, ramifications and implications of a budget.

There is always this funfair atmosphere surrounding the presentation of our national budget.

Everyone thumps the table upon hearing this group will receive a one-off payment, that group another lump sum payment.

The loudest response of course came when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is also Finance Minister, announced that the allowances of all Members of Parliament would also be revised.

A budget is a solemn document. It’s an account of how much this country earned as revenue, its sources and the proposals to commit that income.

It’s both a revelation and reflection of an exercise in financial management and discipline. Those are the things we must direct our attention to.

Biggest deficit in history

For example, everyone clapped when Najib, said: “This year’s budget is a lower proportion of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product).”

Yes, but isn’t our GDP this year bigger than last year’s?

Look at the absolute figure too. It’s still a deficit, suggesting perhaps financial indiscipline and, even worse, unjustifiable leakages.

Have the leakages been dealt with?

The budget is humongous – RM232.8 billion which is a lot of money, especially with a 9.4 percent rise in expenditure.

Despite the country’s deficit being reduced to 4.7 percent from 5.4 percent of GDP, the fact remains that in terms of absolute amount, it would be the biggest deficit in Malaysian history.

Hear this – “biggest deficit” in Malaysian history!

While our finance minister is confident that Malaysia will do a five to six percent growth rate, the rest of the world will grow from a negative figure to maybe three percent at the maximum.

So is the finance minister’s five to six percent growth rate realistic and achievable? Or is he pulling wool over our eyes?

Language of a gambler

I would usually refrain from giving a spontaneous response; I would rather prefer giving further analysis of the budget.

People can easily be overwhelmed by the feel-good nature of an election budget.

Did I say an election budget?

That’s what it is really despite the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s usual dour rejection of suggestions that it is. But nowadays not many people take the DPM seriously.