Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pakatan says will pre-empt Budget 2014 with ‘brave, honest’ alternative

By Ida LimSeptember 24, 2013
UPDATED: September 24, 2013 03:00 pm 

In a statement provided by PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar, PKR’s Sim Tze Tzin and PAS’s Dr Hatta Ramli, the trio said that the government needs an ‘honest and brave budget’. — file picIn a statement provided by PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar, PKR’s Sim Tze Tzin and PAS’s Dr Hatta Ramli, the trio said that the government needs an ‘honest and brave budget’. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will present an alternative Budget 2014, with the federal opposition MPs expected to do so before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tables Putrajaya’s Budget in Parliament next month.
In a statement provided by PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar, DAP’s Steven Sim and PAS’s Dr Hatta Ramli, the trio said that the government needs an “honest and brave budget”.
The trio said that PR’s alternative budget would focus on fiscal responsibility through measures such as reforms to the Budget and tightening of government procurement and spending rules in a bid to cut down on waste, leakages and excessive costs.
The shadow budget by PR is also expected to contain “innovate policies” to broaden the government’s source of revenue, coupled with a close monitoring of government spending, the statement said.
“Usually it’s going to be a couple of days before the prime minister tables his budget,” Nurul Izzah told reporters at Parliament today, when asked when PR would present their budget.
Najib is scheduled to table Budget 2014 on October 25.
All eyes will be on the Budget to see if Putrajaya introduces financial reforms such as the long-delayed Goods and Services Tax (GST) to widen its tax base.
Earlier this month, the government reduced subsidies for RON95 petrol and diesel by 20 sen a litre in a bid to slash its fuel subsidy bill by an estimated RM3.3 billion annually.
Pressure has increased on Putrajaya to trim the country’s debt level and introduce meaningful reforms to widen its revenue base after international ratings firm Fitch Ratings cut the country’s debt outlook from “Stable” to “Negative” in July.
Today, Hatta, who was also present at the media conference, raised PR’s doubts over the Supplementary Supply Bill tabled yesterday, where Putrajaya sought additional funds of over RM14.1 billion for the spending of 16 ministries, government departments and agencies this year.
Hatta viewed the bill for extra funds as allegedly reflecting poor planning, saying that the government could have projected the amount of money it needs.
“So it means there is no proper planning in the presentation of our budget,” he said, referring to Budget 2013 where RM251.6 billion has already been approved.
“So in the end we feel that the original Budget was designed in such a way to project a smaller deficit, to get some kind of good image.
“Because after (the) supplementary (bill), if deficit is bigger, people will not realise it, so it’s not a big deal to some people, this is our contention,” the Kuala Krai MP said.
In their statement, the PR trio warned that the Supplementary Supply Bill could cause Putrajaya to breach its self-imposed debt ceiling of 55 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while its budget deficit could hit 5.5 per cent of the GDP instead of the original 4 per cent targeted.
Last year, the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration headed by BN tabled the Budget 2013, seeking RM251.6 billion in expenditure, with a projected budget deficit of 4 per cent.
PR had then presented a shadow budget for RM234 billion, with a projected budget deficit of 3.5 per cent.
BN’s budget expenditure had steadily increased in recent years, from RM206.2 billion in 2010 to RM212 billion and RM252.4 billion in 2011 and 2012.
In the same three-year period, the BN government managed to gradually cut down its projected budget deficit, slicing it from 5.6 per cent in 2010 to 5.4 per cent and 4.5 per cent in 2011 and 2012.
Putrajaya has stated that it aims to reduce its national debt which currently stands at more than 53 per cent of the GDP.
It also wants to trim its deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP by 2015.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pakatan-says-will-pre-empt-budget-2014-with-brave-honest-alternative#sthash.knm0RYMz.dpuf

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