Speech By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng During The DAP Selangor State Ordinary Convention On 1.11.2015
Malaysia can only achieve developed nation status with an income per capita of USD 15,000 (RM63,000) as an entrepreneurial state with inclusive growth without corruption. Malaysia has paid a heavy price by adopting a crony state with mercenary capitalism of monopolies and rent-seeking that leads to unbalanced growth, income inequality and finally bankruptcy.
This crony state has led to the GST, increased federal government debts, stubborn and continuous budget deficits, price hikes in petrol and highway tolls despite the drop in world oil prices or that the construction cost of highways have been fully paid, as well as the precipitous drop in the value of the ringgit. There is no doubt that GST is the principal cause of the economic downturn and the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal as well as the RM2.6 billion donation scandal the cause of the depreciation in the Ringgit.
To salvage Malaysia’s economy as a first step we need to abolish the GST, reduce petrol price, freeze toll hike and outline concrete measures to restore the value of the ringgit. Then we need to adopt an entrepreneurial state approach to move towards a high-income state that is transparent and accountable to combat corruption.
Why should we, our children and grandchildren continue to even pay toll for the North-South Highway until 2038, when the construction cost has been fully paid up? The Pakatan Harapan government that wins power in Putrajaya will do more by abolishing toll for the North-South Highway.
The Federal government has admitted that the RM39 billion to be collected from GST for 2016 saved the government from bankruptcy and even of not having enough money to pay civil servants, caused by reduced revenue following low global commodity and petroleum prices. We can see how desperate the Federal government finances have been with its debt increasing from RM266 billion at end 2007 to RM to RM627.5 billion as at June 2015.
If we include contingent liabilities of RM176 billion, the federal government debt obligation would be RM804 billion, which would mean that Federal government debt has risen by more than 3 times in 9 years! This means that each of the 30 million Malaysian owes RM 26,800 per person.
How does the Federal government intend to lessen the burden of the rakyat when toll hikes are announced and petrol prices is increased despite the drop in international oil prices? Will the Budget 2016 help to restore the value of the ringgit? Will BN admit that the Budget 2016 is a failure if the ringgit value does not bounce back to RM3.70-3.80 to 1US$ from the present RM4.30?
Budget 2016 also does not address the issue of how Malaysia is going to escape the middle-income trap and achieve fully developed status with GDP per capita of US$15,000 when we have only reached US$10,830 last year. We would need an annual growth rate of more than 6% until 2020 to reach USD15,000 GDP per capita as well as our ringgit to recover from the present RM4.20 to 1US$ to RM3.67-3.70. For the immediate future, such economic growth and recovery of the value of the ringgit is impossible, which means developed country status will be pushed back by at least 5 years from 2020 to 2025.
The time has come for Malaysia to seek inclusive growth that is not only sustainable but also free from corruption that encompasses all segments of society. There should be a progressive economic policy with a wealth-creating agenda based on collaboration amongst “wealth-creators” involving not just business but also workers, public institutions, and civil-society organizations.
A progressive economic policy that is not only inclusive, private investment-led and sustainable to create wealth through a public-private partnership that drives long-term growth and productivity but also benefits all, especially the lower income groups. The best way to solve the problems of “bad capitalism” (monopolies and cronyism) is to unleash the virtues of “good capitalism” (competition and innovation). Just as it is employability that matters, not employment.
Merdeka and Malaysia was established by leaders who believed they were doing something exceptional for the country with rights and freedoms as set out in our Federal Constitution. Unfortunately whilst we should be expanding our future, our present leaders want us to live in the past. BN is characterized by resentments and grievances, by distress and dismay, by the belief that America is irredeemably corrupt and past the point of no return. Let Malaysia not be defined by our past but by the opportunities of the future.
—-Mandarin Version —–