PKR is "shocked" to learn that the government may have "sold off or pawned" the country's assets in a last-ditch effort to meet its budget deficit target.

This, said party strategy director Rafizi Ramli, appears evident in the latest World Bank report, 'Malaysia Economic Monitor: December 2013'.

NONEIn a statement today, Rafizi cited Page 10 of the report that details how the BN government plans to achieve its deficit target of four percent of GDP in 2013 from 4.5 percent  in 2012.

According to the report, of the additional RM11.8 billion in revenue to be raised above the original budget estimate, "...RM7.4 billion originated from non-tax sources, including RM1.4 billion of proceeds from asset sales and RM4.2 billion from the securitisation of government mortgages…”

Rafizi, who is also Pandan MP, said, "This is a revelation that is truly shocking, because Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's administration has reached the point of selling the nation's assets and pledging our country's property (through securitisation of government mortgages) to prop up his government's extravagance and wastage.

"I suspect the plan to sell off national assets has already taken place, because the aim of achieving the target deficit rate of four percent has in fact already failed.

"This means our national assets have already been sold off or pawned, so that the proceeds for 2013 can be used to close up the chasm between national revenue and expenditure," he added.
Rafizi said that the matter was serious enough for Pakatan leaders to consider issuing a call for a flash Parliamentary meet.

'Deficit targets'

Besides noting the asset sales, the World Bank report did have some positive things to say about Malaysia. The World Bank applauded Malaysia for its prudent measures to cut subsidies and emoluments.

"After growing an average of 11.4 percent per year between 2000 and 2012, emoluments are expected to increase by only 2.7 percent in 2013, the lowest annual growth rate in the past 10 years," it said. 

It also estimated that the government saved RM1.1 billion in fuel subsidies, owing to a slight decline in crude oil prices and fuel subsidy cut implemented in September.

However, the World Bank report also sounded a warning that the government had underspent on development.

But Rafizi said that Najib's main economic focus, which was to increase government size and cut deficit at the same time, remains a mad idea.

"To reduce the deficit, PKR has urged time and time again for total reform to start with stopping bribery and leakages. In this way, the expenditures to be borne by the public every year can also be lessened to match our sufficient national income.

"The refusal of Najib to cut wasteful government expenditures is the main reason why he needs to find new ways to press the people (for more money).
"The rise in prices of goods and services, cutting subsidies, rising tariffs and now toll hikes are all results of the madness of Najib, who wants to meet deficit targets without ending corruption," he added.