Should this Budget be passed?

In Malaysia’s RM332.1 billion Budget 2022 — the largest Budget so far — RM11.4 billion have been allocated to bumiputras and only a 2.6% equivalent or RM300 million to non-bumiputras. This works out to RM577 per bumiputra and RM75 per Indian and RM15 per Chinese. How on Earth can Members of Parliament ever pass this brazenly racist, grossly unbalanced distribution of wealth to citizens with a clear conscience?

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government no doubt represents the more undeveloped bumiputra majority and allocating more funds to this community to develop and bring them up to par with the more developed urban communities is justifiable. But the Ismail government is an unconstitutional government waiting to hold a general election as soon as possible, perhaps, as early as next year, to seek legitimacy. If so, how much of that RM11.4 billion plus all the other allocations for Islamic development and such will go into actual development plans for the bumiputras in so short a time before the elections?

The most the Ismail government can do is to find ways to put that money as cash in the hands of the target community which is their political base to ensure their support in the event of a general election. If the bumiputra allocation was a moderate sum calculated based on the cost of programmes to bring about long-term benefits to bumiputras with a similar need-based allocation for the Indian community and a sensible allocation to help the Chinese especially during these trying pandemic times, such allocations would be acceptable because it is need-based and fair, even if the bumiputras got more.

As it is, the RM11.4 billion for bumiputras is clearly not need-based. It is an inordinate sum diverted to the Ismail government’s political base and combined with the one-off RM700 handout to civil servants are evidently aimed at ensuring the survival of the current leaders in the face of a general election. It’s as good as broad daylight highway robbery because much of that money comes from taxpayers the majority of whom are not the bumiputra majority.

The people can no longer be foisted with an unconstitutional government and one which uses taxpayers’ money to ensure its survival rather than make funds work for the people. This government can’t be allowed to continue to govern with impunity.

It does not heed constructive criticisms and compromises the law as it plays politics among the coalition partners in order to maintain a simple majority and at what costs?

The prosecution looks suspiciously compromised. Former prime minister Najib Razak who was found guilty of corruption walks around free and is able to get his passport to visit his daughter in Singapore who is about to deliver a baby. A three-judge panel gave him the approval.

Similarly, Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin obtained a 13-day release of his passport for a business trip to the Middle East this month from the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court where he is facing criminal charges. While we do not question the judges’ rulings, we certainly question why the prosecution didn’t raise objections. Would the judges’ decisions have been different if the prosecution had raised objections?

Najib was convicted by a court and Bung Moktar is facing criminal charges of corruption yet they got approval to travel out of the country. If it had been any other citizen, would the prosecution have been so caring and lenient?

MPs should have grilled Attorney General Idrus Harun to answer why Najib is walking around free. No doubt he is appealing his conviction but why is the appeal not being heard soon as if it isn’t a priority?

This is the kind of AG and prosecution we’ll have under the Malay-majority government.

Businesses, especially small-and-medium-sized ones, are floundering with little support from the government. Despite former premier Muhyiddin Yassin helming the National Recovery Council, we see no concrete course of action to stimulate economic recovery and Bursa Malaysia remains in the doldrums. The business community apparently is showing no confidence in either Muhyiddin’s or Ismail’s leadership.

We may have achieved close to a 76% vaccinated population (latest Health Ministry figures as reported in The Star on Nov 13 (updating figures)) but the more than 2.5 million active covid 19 cases and a fatality count of 29,535 as of today is on Muyhiddin’s and Ismail’s governments. The figures might have been less if aggressive testing, contact tracing, and vaccination were conducted earlier on. But, we will never know why that didn’t happen.

Prime Minister Ismail seem powerless to control his own party; he was unable to prevent the Malacca state elections, appearing beholden to those who put him in that position and failed to advise the state leadership and prevented unnecessary state elections.

Why are the people stuck with such leadership? Won’t our MPs do what we elected them for? Act on our behalf.

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