Who is the one short-changing Malaysians – BN or Pakatan?

Is it fair to say that the modus operandi of the BN government is that when things are done to enrich their cronies, that has to be defended at all costs, but when it benefits ordinary people it has to be protested against? Is it a coincidence that the majority of Umno branch chiefs are Class F contractors? 

By Douglas Tan

Selangor Opposition leader Satim Diman is barking up the wrong tree. He accuses the Selangor State government of selling off government assets in order to fund the Selangor State minimum wage policy which is to take effect next year.

Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim explains that the money which they would use does not come from Perbandanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) but through savings from prudent fiscal management and the reduction of corruption within the state.

As Mentri Besar of Selangor, Khalid has led Selangor to post the largest state budget surplus in the state’s history. By the end of 2010, the reserves stood at RM918 million, and increased state revenue by RM200 million in under six months.

The Pakatan state government has also shown their ability to practice good fiscal management. The state is being run effectively, with additional programmes to give assistance to the elderly, children of farm workers, a RM50 million micro-credit schemes and free water to name a few. Added initiatives but increasing revenue year-on-year? They must be doing something right.


Kedai 1Malaysia

The irony of the accusations levelled against the Pakatan-led state government is that Barisan Nasional are the ones who are inherently guilty of engaging in land swap deals to generate income. Further to that, they do not even bother to give the money back, but are quite content in keeping it to themselves.

Tony Pua and Nurul Izzah has shot down the whole Kedai 1Malaysia (KR1M)scheme. In the lobby of parliament on November 9th, they exposed the BN government of lying to the people that they could potentially save “up to 50%” on 250 items as compared to what one could purchase outside.

Although some items were indeed cheaper, the fact remains that you could get Tesco or Carrefour branded items at the same price or even cheaper. The RM40 million subsidy pumped into Mydin who operates the 85 stores cannot besubstantiated. So Satim Diman, who is short changing the public now?


Land Deals

Since you talked about land, let’s talk about land. The federal government is very clever not to include certain allocations in the budget, so the way to finance a crony project would be to do a land-swap deal.

In 2009, the Auditor General raised questions over the RM256 million Skudai 7th Brigade Army Camp project. This was awarded in 1997 but after 15years, is only 18.3% complete. The Kausar Corporation who was awarded thisproject had already collected the construction fee in full, and was given 153 hectares of land.

Records reveal that a RM465 million bank loan was paid out for the land,which would place the land valuation in excess of RM800 million in 1997. At todaysland valuation, it could potentially be worth more than double the Selangor State government surplus. This means that Kausar took RM721 million in cash, and 153 hectares of land. The government does nothing over all these years, and the people get nothing. Isthis how this all works?

So Tuan Satim Diman, when a company in which the government awards aproject directly through closed tender, who is given land worth 4 times theproject itself, takes all the money but does not complete the project, and walkaway, that is ok?