Saturday, October 12, 2013

At every level, government shows blatant disregard in spending of public funds, Anwar tells forum

BY LEE SHI-IAN
OCTOBER 11, 2013
Anwar (2nd right), Serdang MP Ong (2nd left) and research consultant of Institut Rakyat Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin (L) attends a forum on the 2012 Auditor General Report in Petaling Jaya today. The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, October 11, 2013.Anwar (2nd right), Serdang MP Ong (2nd left) and research consultant of Institut Rakyat Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin (L) attends a forum on the 2012 Auditor General Report in Petaling Jaya today. The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, October 11, 2013.The Barisan Nasional government is worse than pirates of old, finding new ways to take the people's hard-earned money, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
"The government is full of leakages, wastage and embezzlement, otherwise how can an officer go to Switzerland just for a few days and rack up a RM300,000 expense bill? It seems that from top to bottom, everyone is just waiting for a chance to spend public funds."
"Those at the top spend on submarines, those in the middle spend on cows and those at the bottom spend on watches. But at all levels of the government, they do not hesitate to waste public funds the moment they spot an opportunity," Anwar said, drawing huge applause from an appreciative audience.
"But fast forward to the present, the modern pirates are still robbing and they are doing it in a sophisticated and insidious manner. They rob every minute without anyone realising it and it is daylight robbery," he said, estimating that the minimum amount lost based on the outcome of the 2012 Auditor-General Report was RM21 billion.
Anwar painted a tale where in the old days, pirates used to attack and rob villages once a year during harvest time. The pirates will leave the villages untouched for 11 months of the year as they only came during harvest time.
Anwar, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming and research consultant Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin were the panel speakers at a forum held at the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre tonight.
They were discussing the leaks, wastage and embezzlement revealed in the 2012 Auditor-General Report.
"Penang and Selangor have been managed well, to the extent that there is an excess of funds. I have constantly reminded the states governed by the Pakatan Rakyat that they must be thrifty and to spend within their means," Anwar (pic, right) said.
"But the Barisan Nasional government does not bother to live by these principles. They can actually spend RM67.6 million on National Youth Day celebrations. They also paid RM100,000 to Umno Youth and bloggers to promote the event," Anwar claimed.
"This is sick, pathetic and despicable behaviour by the government! All this talk about the rights of Malays being threatened, the survival of Malays is at stake, it is all absolute rubbish!" said Anwar, adding that the affirmative action policies for the Bumiputera is just an excuse for Umno to make the elite even richer while ordinary citizens remain poor.
He compared Malaysia with the United States, saying that in the US, 95% of the country's wealth was shared between 1% of its population. He said the same thing was happening in Malaysia.
"What the country needs is a strong leader who will say this nonsense must stop, no more blunders. Someone who will put an immediate stop to the wastage, leaks and embezzlement," he told a 400-strong audience.
"Presently, it seems that with the Umno general assembly around the corner, it is very hip to attack the Chinese. The more you attack the Chinese, the more support you generate among the Umno members," Anwar said.
In his presentation, Ong said the government could save up to RM30 billion if they adopted some of the suggestions mooted by the Auditor-General in his report.
Among the suggestions made by Tan Sri Ambrin Buang were compensation paid by contractors to the government if construction was delayed.
"Government contracts should be offered in an open tender process and in a transparent manner. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should investigate cases where contracts have been awarded to companies who have no experience."
Azrul Azwar (pic, left)proposed several measures for the government to increase its revenue and reduce its fiscal deficit. This includes raising taxes on gaming, alcohol and tobacco. He also proposed higher income tax for those who earned RM1 million annually.
Azrul Azwar said the introduction of capital gains tax could net the government between RM8 billion and RM10 billion annually in income. He also suggested a potentially unpopular move, which was to freeze the intake of civil servants as the civil service was bloated.
"Malaysia has one of the highest ratio of civil servants to the population compared with other countries in the Asia-Pacific. Most countries have a ratio of 1% to 2% of the country's population but Malaysia's ratio is 4.7%." - October 11, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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