Sacrifice 1MDB And Not Our Children’s Future To Save Our Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam(JPA) Scholarships.(e/c)

Press Statement by the Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, George Town on 22.1.2016

As a major exporter of crude palm oil that also relies on oil-related revenues to finance growing expenditures by the Federal Government, Malaysia faces a fiscal crisis with recent drop in oil prices. For this reason, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is forced to recalibrate the 2016 Budget on 28 January 2016 to make up for the revenue shortfall.

Based on Penang Institute’s statement back in October 2015, it was already expected that the then decrease in oil price would reduce the national coffers from RM64 Billion in 2014 to RM29.4 Billion in 2016. This would translate to crude oil based revenue forming 29 percent of total government revenue in 2014 and a low 13 percent of total government revenue for 2016.

The slump in oil prices will force the Federal government to cut down on the 2016 Federal Budget of RM267 billion but instead of reducing leakages such as corruption, waste and inefficiencies, DAP is shocked that our students’ future is targetted. We should be protecting our top students’ right to higher education scholarships both locally and overseas, as the first bastion for a better future, instead of sacrificing it as the first victim of a weakened economy and poor governance.

Undoubtedly, this move will affect 700 student placements yearly and significantly jeopardises tertiary study opportunities for top students from poor and underprivileged backgrounds. More important however, is the perverse logic behind the Federal Government’s move. On one hand, we are annually ‘surprised’ by the record number of students obtaining straight A’s in major national examinations. On the other hand, why create more ‘candles’ to light the nation only to snuff them out in dark or financially trying times?

DAP urges BN to focus their attention on promoting better governance within the public administration; fishing out and punishing corrupt leaders and office-bearers; curbing unnecessary wastages and suspicious spending as have been emphasised in the yearly Auditor-General’s Reports; stopping funds from disappearing though the many leaking holes in the system; doing away with exorbitant foreign consultancies; delaying mega-projects which will only enhance our federal leaders’ penchant for useless white elephants instead of benefiting the citizens and reducing wasterful government expenditures on private jets or purchasing expensive hotels in London. The Federal government should be sacrificing 1MDB, which caused the RM42 billion scandal, or even exchange the RM2.6 billion donation scandal to save our JPA scholarships for our top students’ and our country’s future.

In contrast, the Penang State Government will not follow the Federal Government’s irresponsible action to destroy our youths’ aspirations and future. Last year, the Penang state government started the RM40 million Penang Future Foundation (PFF), from private contributors to provide Penang and Malaysian top students with local scholarships to local universities. Focused on science, engineering and technology courses, the PFF will not be cut but continue to provide scholarships for local universities. Interested students are advised to visitwww.penangfuturefoundation.my for more information on the scholarship and timelines.

LIM GUAN ENG

槟州首席部长林冠英于2016年1月22日在槟城乔治市光大发表的声明:

为拯救公共服务局奖学金,我们应该牺牲的是一个马来西亚发展机构,而不是我们孩子的未来。

作为毛棕榈油的主要出口国,且依赖石油相关收入来支撑联邦政府不断增加的开支,马来西亚在近期国际油价大跌之际,将面对财政危机。因此,首相兼财政部长拿督斯里纳吉被逼在2016年1月28日提呈附加预算案,以弥补这收入的缺口。

根据槟城研究院在2015年10月份所发布的文告指出,该院已预测当时的油价下降,将导致我国国库从2014年的640亿令吉,减至2016年的294亿令吉。这将导致在2014年占政府总收入29%的原油收入,在2016年跌剩13%的新低。

油价暴跌逼使联邦政府减少2016年总额2670亿令吉的预算,但政府非但没有减少贪污、挥霍及无效率等浪费,让行动党震惊的是,政府竟然把我们孩子的未来作为削减开支的羔羊。我们理应保护我们优秀生在海内外深造的权益,作为共创美好未来的堡垒,而不是把他们当成国家管理无能、经济衰退的牺牲品。

无疑地,这项举措每年将影响700个学生,很明显地将剥夺贫穷及弱势背景优秀生完成高等教育的机会。更重要的是,联邦政府的不正当逻辑。一方面,我们为每年在国家教育考试全A的学生人数破记录感到“惊讶”,另一方面,为什么点燃了国民的“希望”,却在这种经济不景时期、暗地里将火扑灭?

行动党促请国阵把工作焦点放在促进公共领域良好施政;严惩贪官污吏;遏止不必要的浪费及可疑的开销,正如总稽查司每一年所强调的;阻止资金因为体制内的疏漏而消失;不再聘用收费昂贵的外国顾问;展延那些只是为了撑饱联邦领袖口袋、而不是惠及人民的白象计划;减少使用私人专机或购买伦敦豪华酒店的政府开销。联邦政府已经首先牺牲涉及420亿令吉丑闻的一马发展机构,甚至是26亿令吉捐款丑闻,为我国的优秀生及国家的未来保留公共服务局奖学金。

相反地,槟州政府不是像联邦政府那样不负责任,毁灭年轻人的梦想和未来。去年,州政府开始创建了4000万令吉的槟州未来基金会,我们向私人界筹款,向槟城及马来西亚的优秀生提供进入本地大学的奖学金,上述奖学金首要考虑选读科学、工程及科技相关的学生,政府不会取消这项奖学金,反之我们会继续提供进入本地大学的奖学金。有兴趣的学生可以登录www.penangfuturefoundation.my 获取更多详情。

林冠英

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