This is why Pakatan’s budget is better

While Najib’s budget features RM3 billion in one-time cash handouts to pacify the people, Pakatan’s alternative budget contains no such handouts, but it has long-term macro measures.

By Chua Jui Meng, FMT

If you compare Najib Tun Razak’s Budget 2013 with Pakatan Rakyat’s alternative budget, the Barisan Nasional federal government has taken no long-term macro efforts to help ease the financial burden of the rakyat and resolve Malaysia’s economic ills.

Year in and year out, the BN budget is the same – serving to enrich BN, especially Umno, cronies by dishing out mega projects with inflated costs that bleed the nation.

Budget 2013 is clearly an election budget with various forms of one-off cash handout sweeteners ranging from RM250 to slightly more than a thousand ringgit for the rakyat who qualify.

This, the BN is forced to give, because of the March 2008 general election that saw the ruling coalition losing its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament.

This is the second time within months the BN is giving out such one-time cash handouts – a clear sign of attempts to pacify the restless rakyat who may change their government with their ballots in the next general election.

While Prime Minister Najib’s budget features RM3 billion in one-time cash handouts to pacify the people, Pakatan’s alternative budget contains no such handouts.

It features long-term macro measures to resolve the economic ills of the people and country that are mainly caused by mega project cronies, leakages and corruption.

The Pakatan budget puts money into the rakyat’s pockets, not by giving cash handouts but by reducing cost of living.

The measures that will achieve this include savings from lower car prices, abolishment of toll (total spread out over one year), abolishing PTPTN loans for free tertiary education, special teaching allowance, government’s contribution for wives and lower prices for food and goods due to lower fuel and transportation costs.

These measures are estimated to increase the people’s monthly disposable income by about RM930.

Isn’t all these measures clearly more practical than one-time cash handouts that come with five years of suffering under the BN government?

This is why, in an immediate response to the Budget 2013 announcement, I told Malaysians not to be fooled by the BN’s insincere sweeteners.

It is clearly a budget too sweet to dismiss as an attempt to pacify Malaysians to return the BN to power in the next general election which must be called latest next June.

With Malaysia only 1.3% short of the 55% legislated debt ceiling, can the majority of Malaysians continue to gamble with BN’s continuous plundering ways?

Chua Jui Meng is PKR vice-president and Johor PKR chairman. He is a former MCA vice president and ex-health minister.