Justice For All Malaysia

A revised budget should be the right course of action

Posted on: October 30, 2008

What the Pakatan Rakyat has said all along finally got into the head of Umno-BN?   But Umno-BN can no longer be trusted to implement anything now for the best interest of the people…they just want to stay in power to finish off the nation’s riches…unless something else enters their head…justice for all people and at all times – no ISA/OSA with freedom to express, assemble, to give alternative views…fair coverage in mass media…freedom of information…clean up SPR, and the rest of the government machinery…converging to a transparent government and governance of the country

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Economists: Fall in oil prices, gov’t should revise budget
Beh Lih Yi | Oct 29, 08 5:17pm
Is there any immediate risk of the government running out of money?

MCPX

This question is increasingly being raised as the government’s revenue estimation in Budget 2009 may be significantly affected by the plunge in global oil prices.

klse asia stock share market down crash turmoil 060307In Budget 2009, tabled on Aug 29 by then finance minister and premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the government had used US$125 per barrel as the benchmark to estimate the revenue it would earn from sales of crude oil.

However, global oil prices have since dropped by half – to about US$65 per barrel – and this is expected to adversely affect the government’s income as over 40 percent of the federal budget comes from state-owned oil company Petronas.

lim teck gheeEconomist Lim Teck Ghee, who is director of think-tank Centre for Policy Initiatives, said the government would run a “great risk” of running out of money if the global economic meltdown is prolonged.

“Government revenue will fall drastically if the recession continues for a few years. Not only would Budget 2009 have to be revised but the entire Ninth Malaysia Plan will have to be reviewed,” he told Malaysiakini.

Lim urged the finance minister to immediately revise the budget by taking into account the fall in oil revenue, which contributes close to half the national revenue.

The government’s basis for projected oil revenue in Budget 2009 appears to have been a misjudgement.

Unlike Malaysia, the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, had used oil prices of US$65 per barrel in planning next year’s budget.

Given the global economic slowdown, most economists do not expect oil prices to go beyond US$100 per barrel anytime soon.

‘Revise Budget figures’

dr yeah kim lengAnother economist, Dr Yeah Kim Leng, argued that it is crucial for the government to slash its spending as announced by Abdullah yesterday.

Abdullah said that all ministries would be required to put on hold all non-essential projects.

“It’s not an issue of running out of money. It’s either the fiscal deficit will increase or the government will have to reduce its spending and look for new resources,” the chief economist of rating agency Ram Holdings Bhd said when contacted.

pm abdullah ahmad badawi suspend eurocopter ec725 deal ministry of defense event 281008 03“The impact will not be that great because the amount of the oil subsidy (the government pays) will be much less (when the world oil price drops) – there are some compensating elements,” he noted.

Citing the example of Abdullah’s decision to put on hold the RM1.7 billion Eurocopter deal, Yeah said it was essential for the government to cut down its expenditure.

He echoed Lim’s statement that the government should re-examine its spending in Budget 2009 or the fiscal deficit would balloon.

The opposition has called on the government to table a new budget to take into consideration the fall in oil prices and the global economic crisis.

Other news:

Audit underway into PKFZ scandal
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | Oct 29, 08 10:46am
International accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has begun auditing the controversial government ‘soft loan’ provided to Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), among other contentious issues.

MCPX

lee hwa bengPort Klang Authority (PKA) chairperson Lee Hwa Beng told Malaysiakini that a six-member team led by a PWC senior manager has been conducting the probe.

“Auditing started this month and is expected to be completed by year’s end. Whether or not the report will be made public will be decided by the transport minister,” he said.

He said the audit team has been given authority to interview all current and former staff members as well as board members. Letters have been sent to all relevant parties and individuals involved in the probe.

ong tee keat pkfz klang visit 060508 05“We hope everyone will cooperate with the auditors,” Lee said.

He also said the appointment of an international audit firm is to build confidence that the probe is being conducted by an independent entity.

On why auditing has been delayed – when an announcement on this had been made in May – he attributed it to procedural requirements.

pkfz port klang free zone the white elephant project connections update 291008“PKFZ engaged the services of PWC by direct appointment instead of calling an open tender, he said. As such, approval had to be subsequently sought from the Finance Ministry.

The audit exercise was announced by Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat, following a public outcry over a RM4.6 billion ‘soft loan’ given by the government.

Ong said details of repayment would be properly audited and disclosed at the appropriate time, to avoid any misconception of a government bailout.

The project came to public attention after news reports raised issues linked to land acquisition and questioned if the project would become a ‘white elephant’.

PKFZ, owned by PKA, was conceptualised as a regional hub for export and transhipment of manufactured goods costing RM1.85 billion. But the cost rose to RM4.6 billion by the time the project was completed.

‘Business picking up’

On PKFZ’s performance, Lee claimed that business has picked up. Since May, proceeds from annual rental have doubled from RM7 million to RM15 million.

“Besides operating the port, our job is to get more tenants to occupy the industrial buildings in PKFZ,” he said.

Lee and new general manager Lim Thean Shiang were appointed to the PKA in April.

Ong had entrusted Lee with appointing the auditor and to assist the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should the latter conduct a probe.

Lee, however, said there has not been any follow-up on the matter by the PAC since he took over the post

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Must Attend Program

Please go to this link: https://justice4allkuantan.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/invitation-public-forum-the-isa-and-the-police-reform-process-whats-next-after-pak-lah/
To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of people - Emily Cox

Siphoning EPF money

On 'Why should Valuecap borrow from EPF?' Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud: MTUC condemns the government's move to bail out Valuecap to support the local stock market using RM5 billion from EPF, as the provident fund is the custodian of the workers' money and not some sort of ‘automated teller machine' for the government.
If at all the EPF were to lend its money to the government, it has to be under the condition that there be transparency and accountability in the activities for which the money has been purposed. We want to know who is doing what with the money that belongs to the workers. This is the hard-earned money of the workers, their retirement plan. How is this bailout plan going to benefit the workers? We also question the reason for this bailout. If the economic fundamentals in Malaysia are strong and reserves sufficient as has been stated several times by the government, then why is there a need to offer so much money to the GLCs? Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop should prove how the EPF would profit from this loan. Bernama had reported that Nor had given the assurance that the loan given out by EPF would reap profits for the fund judging from Valuecap's past performance. But where is the paperwork and calculations to show that this move will benefit the EPF? MTUC is concerned that the loan might be mismanaged or misused and this, in turn, would affect the returns for the contributors. Mere assurances are not enough. We want to proof that this RM5 billion will not go down the drain. (The writer is president, MTUC). Sharyn: The government wants to use our pension money to prop up the Malaysian stock market which is the playing field of the rich people. If so, the government must ensure that the EPF account holders - who are predominantly the poor to average citizens of Malaysia - be guaranteed all of our pension money with a compound 8% growth (interest). It's so selfish and sick of the government to use the poor's pension money to help the rich to make more money with all the risks taken by the poor/average citizen. We can better use the RM% billion loans to Valuecap for our children's education, shelter, medical bills etc. Why not get those rich people to prop up the share market instead? Why should they park their money overseas and gamble with our EPF money instead? Kumar14: Who is behind this Valuecap organisation? Why suddenly, this separate entity is allowed to access funds from the EPF? Are they capable enough to handle it or is it just another desperate and blind move? It has been a very infamous trend where the people's funds are channeled to a company for investment purposes and suddenly POP! the funds disappear and there is nobody to be held responsible but a RM2 shell company. Charge who? Sue whom? The RM2 company (just a registered name)? We have seen this many times. People in power and with connections allow such things to go through and reap/rob the people's wealth and then blame it on organisations which actually don't exist. What if a lot of EPF funds are looted via such scams and nobody is to be pointed at? Where will the government get the funds to replenish the EPF? The people are very bored, disappointed, angry and frustrated at seeing all these dumb and unaccounted for measures being allowed by the government with lame excuses. Please, somebody verify the true purpose, integrity and capability of anybody attempting to use the people's fund.

Raja Petra

Photobucket Ihsan dari blog Go!Malaysian http://gomalaysian.blogspot.com/

ANWAR IBRAHIM

A prosperous future is indivisible from a firm commitment to the principles of distributive justice, the rule of law and a profound respect for human rights.

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