11th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review

atok

Yesterday, the Parliament’s website published the 11th Malaysia Plan mid-term review paper which was unveiled by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad which, among others, officially confirmed that the national debt as at end of 2017 stood at RM686.8 billion, and not RM1 trillion as announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

That drew flak from the masses who felt that they were duped into voting out the previous Barisan Nasional government and lied to by the current government.  As a result, the document has been taken down.  This says a lot about transparency of the current government.

A quick check at the Economic Planning Unit’s website shows that a copy of the document is still downloadable by clicking on this LINK.

Anyway, if that is taken down too, you can click on the following link to download the pdf document.

Kajian Separuh Penggal RMK11

Perlukah Adanya JITN?

Pada bulan Julai 2017, Perdana Menteri telah mengumumkan bahawa unit-unit integriti dan tadbir urus akan diwujudkan di semua syarikat-syarikat GLC dan akan dikawalselia oleh Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).  Ini selaras dengan tugas-tugas SPRM yang termaktub di dalam Akta SPRM.

Ucapan Najib Razak yang menyebut unit-unit integriti dan tadbir urus akan dikawalselia oleh SPRM

Walau bagaimanapun, Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Paul Low pula telah umumkan dua bulan kemudian bahawa kabinet telah bersetuju untuk menubuhkan Jabatan Integriti dan Tadbirurus Negara (JITN) yang akan diletakkan di bawah pentadbiran beliau.

Ini nyata bercanggah dengan pengumuman yang telah dibuat Najib Razak dua bulan sebelum itu.  Percanggahan ini telah mencetuskan rasa tidak puas hati di antara Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad dengan Paul Low dan mengakibatkan sebuah NGO bernama Pertubuhan Belia Generasi Mahkota (PEMBELA) membuat laporang terhadap Ketua Pesuruhjaya MACC itu kerana melawan cakap Menteri.

Yang menjadi tanda-tanya adalah keperluan untuk membentuk sebuah jabatan hanya untuk penambahbaikan integriti dan tadbir urus Kementerian-Kementerian serta GLC-GLC sedangkan jentera-jentera kerajaan yang sedia ada termasuk SPRM sudah boleh menangani ketirisan, ketidak-cekapan serta membanteras perbuatan rasuah.  Apa yang perlu dilakukan hanyalah untuk ketua-ketua jabatan serta GLC menentukan segala kelemahan yang telah dikenalpasti oleh Ketua Audit Negara diambil tindakan segera dengan membentuk jawatankuasa dari kalangan juruaudit dalaman setiap jabatan dan melaporkan kemajuan dan kelemahan kepada unit-unit yang telah disebutkan oleh Najib Razak.

Difahamkan setakat ini memang sudah ada pegawai-pegawai SPRM yang terlatih sebagai Pegawai Integriti Terlatih (CIO) yang ditempatkan di jabatan-jabatan kerajaan.  Bagaimanapun, Paul Low bercadang untuk menempatkan seramai 20 orang pegawai tadbir dan diplomatik (PTD) menggantikan kesemua CIO SPRM yang telah bertugas di unit-unit tersebut.

Ini bermakna, 20 orang PTD ini terpaksa dilatih sebagai CIO, manakala SPRM perlu membuat perjawatan-perjawatan baru untuk menyerap para CIO mereka yang tidak akan mempunyai sebarang jawatan.  Ini sahaja akan melibatkan kos tambahan kerana akan terdapat perjawatan baru.

Bukan itu sahaja, malah dakwaan Paul Low bahawa penubuhan JITN tidak akan memberi kesan kepada SPRM juga nyata terpesong kerana sudah tentu akan ada perubahan struktur organisasi serta tanggungjawab-tanggungjawab yang telah diberikan kepada SPRM melalui Akta SPRM.

Melalui akta apakah kuasa JITN diperolehi?

Pada masa yang sama, persoalan yang timbul ialah bagaimana 20 orang ini boleh memantau kesemua jabatan dan GLC milik kerajaan dengan berkesan?  Adakah ini bermakna kerajaan perlu melantik konsultan luar untuk membantu pengurusan unit-unit di bawah JITN?  Saya tidak yakin bahawa integriti dan penambahbaikan tadbir urus jabatan-jabatan kerajaan serta GLC dapat dilakukan dengan baik oleh hanya 20 orang!

Tugas JITN juga akan melibatkan latihan integriti kepada para pegawai dan kakitangan kerajaan, iaitu satu peranan yang sememangnya telah diberikan oleh Akta SPRM kepada SPRM.  Adakah JITN akan menggunakan 20 orang PTDnya yang dipertanggung jawabkan untuk mengawalselia integriti dan tadbir urus jabatan-jabatan kerajaan dan GLC juga untuk menjalankan latihan-latihan integriti?  Atau adakah JITN akan membayar konsultan luar untuk menjalanjan peranan ini?  Di bawah akta apakah akan latihan ini dijalankan?

Di Akademi Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (MACA) juga terdapat sebuah sistem iaitu Sistem Pengurusan Anti Rasuah (ABMS) yang diseliakan oleh CIO-CIO dari SPRM.  Sistem ini memerlukan latihan dan pensijilan khusus untuk mengendalikannya.  Maka, adakah sebuah lagi konsultan akan dipanggil untuk mengendalikan sistem ini, atau adakan sebuah konsultan akan dipanggil untuk mengadakan sebuah lagi sistem yang akan memakan lagi belanja wang rakyat?

Kita maklum bahawa Paul Low sudah berada di penghujung perkhidmatannya sebagai seorang Menteri. Khidmat beliau sebagai seorang Senator akan berakhir pada bulan Mei 2019.  Oleh itu, beliau tidak akan lagi dilantik sebagai seorang Menteri selepas Pilihanraya Umum Ke-14.  Ini membawa kita kepada persoalan adakah Paul Low menggunakan penubuhan JITN ini sebagai rancangan persaraannya?

Pada 2 Oktober 2017, Perikatan Integriti Perniagaan (BIA) telah menandatangani sebuah MOU dengan Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Bahagian Integriti adalah di bawah Paul Low) kerana dilantik menjadi “rakan” kerajaan untuk menjadi pemudahcara bagi pihak kerajaan untuk membanteras perbuatan rasuah di sektor swasta dan sektor awam yang nyata penindihan tanggungjawab dengan SPRM.

Berapa yang kerajaan perlu bayar untuk mereka menjalankan tugas pemudahcara tersebut?

Business Integrity Alliance (BIA) dilantik sebagai pemudahcara pihak kerajaan untuk membanteras rasuah. Adakah ini SPRM kedua yang menjadi salah satu rekaan Paul Low untuk rancangan persaraannya?

Paul Low telah lama berbincang dengan pihak BIA mengenai penubuhan JITN ini.  Pertemuan mereka pertama kali diadakan pada bulan Disember 2016 semasa bersarapan bersama-sama.

Makan-makan dan cari makan bersama

Pentadbiran baru SPRM sejak setahun lalu gandingan mantap Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad dengan timbalan-timbalan Ketua Pesuruhjayanya telah membuahkan hasil yang tidak pernah kita lihat berlaku sebelum ini.

Dalam sembilan bulan pertama tahun ini sahaja sebanyak RM21.4 juta wang hasil rasuah telah dirampas, iaitu kenaikan 400 peratus berbanding dengan tahun sebelumnya.  Sebelum pucuk pimpinan SPRM diambil alih oleh Tan Sri Dzulkifli, SPRM hanya berjaya merampas RM4.95 juta pada tahun lepas dan RM3.9 juta tahun 2015.  Ini menunjukkan bahawa SPRM kini lebih tegas dalam hal pembanterasan rasuah berbanding dengan tahun-tahun sebelum ini sedangkan perbuatan rasuah yang melibatkan pegawai-pegawai kerajaan dan syarikat-syarikat kerajaan.

Kalau JITN itu bagus, kenapa sebanyak 50 NGO dan tokoh-tokoh integriti seperti Ramon Navaratnam, Lee Lam Thye dan Tunku Aziz membantah penubuhan JITN?

Ingat pesanan Allahyarham Tun Razak buat penjawat awam

Pada tahun 1967, Perdana Menteri Malaysia Ke-2 Allahyarham Tun Haji Abdul Razak bin Hussein telah memberitahu para penjawat awam suaya tidak tunduk kepada para ahli politik kerana di dalam sebuah demokrasi para penjawat awam mempunyai tanggungjawabnya tersendiri.

Saya yakin Najib Razak benar-benar ingat akan pesanan Allahyarham Ayahandanya.  Itulah sebab beliau terus membuat ucapan pada bulan Julai 2017 tersebut dengan tujuan menentukan SPRM terus bebas dari sebarang pengaruh politik.

Sekiranya itulah kebenarannya, adakah Najib Razak yang mempengerusikan mesyuarat kabinet di mana Paul Low telah mengusulkan rancangan persaraannya ini supaya diterima dan dipersetujui oleh para menteri kabinet yang tiada sebarang petunjuk atau maklumat mengenai perkara ini sebelum ianya diperbincangkan?

Jika benar tanggapan saya bahawa Najib Razak tidak mempengerusikan mesyuarat kabinet tersebut, adakah ini bermakna PEMBELA telah tersilap dalam langkahnya membuat laporan polis terhadap Tan Sri Dzulkifli sedangkan yang melanggar kemahuan Najib Razak ialah Paul Low sendiri?

Inilah jawapan yang perlu kita cari untuk merungkaikan permasalahan ini.

How Financially-Strapped Malaysians Celebrate Ramadhan

It has been a while that I have actually driven late at night in Kuala Lumpur, a city that city-dwellers claim to have become more and more unaffordable to live in.  So, I took a drive last night just to see how it looks like mid-Ramadhan.  I shun driving through KL towards the end of Ramadhan because there would be a mad rush for season end bargains.  The middle of Ramadhan should be alright for a drive.

I was wrong.  I used to be able to park my car in front of the embassy of Nepal on Jalan Ampang (behind St John’s primary school) and walk across the Klang river for a plate of roti canai on previous years’ Ramadhan night.  However last night, the jam started just after the intersection between Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang as cars tried to get to the Masjid India and Capital Square areas.  Parked cars lined the sides of Jalan Ampang from across Sunway Tower all the way to Jalan Melaka!

A friend who works at a very famous textile mall in the Masjid India area confided that sales this Ramadhan has so far exceeded the total sales for Ramadhan 2016.  And it has only been 15 days since the beginning of Ramadhan with another two weeks to go.

I have not gone to see the sales of Naelofar scarves.  If hundreds of dUCk scarves costing RM800 each could all disappear from the shelf within five minutes, I expect a mad scramble for the Naelofar ones which have gone on sale one week before Ramadhan even started!

What about the Ramadhan buffets?

Ramadhan buffets are generally dearer compared to last year.  I have had the chance to sample some by both invitations and personal visits.  I have not seen one that is not full, be it at one that costs RM65 per head or the one that charges RM218 per head.  And most are not corporate invites as they throng these venues in shorts and t-shirts, and often than not I see long tables of families, not co-workers, enjoying their Ramadhan buffet.  Even university students swamped the RM65 ones, something unthinkable back in the mid-1980s.

At one venue the hotel car park was full that I had to park next to the waste bins near the hotel’s goods delivery area!  I was lucky to have gotten that spot as I see scores of people having to walk from afar after parking their car by the roadside.

So, how oppressed are the Malaysians financially?  Is it true that it used to be better two Prime Ministers ago?

Consumer spending in Malaysia over 10 years (Trading Economics/Department of Statistics Malaysia)

If you look at the graph above on consuer spending in Malaysia over the last ten years, despite claims that RM1 could get you many things back then compared to now, consumer spending in Malaysia has been on the upward trend.  If you look at your social media accounts, even university students can afford to go on a holiday in Bali and Lombok now when the farthest they would go back in the 1990s was a weekend in Port Dickson.  Students in the 1990s could hardly afford a flight to Kota Kinabalu.

Consumer spending increased to RM152 billion in the first quarter of this year from RM150 billion in the last quarter of 2016 and averaged RM101.7 billion from 2005 until the first quarter of 2017.  The lowest consumer spending by Malaysian was in the second quarter of 2005 when it was RM56.8 billion and peaked at RM153.5 billion in the second quarter of 2016 – exactly the period when whining Malaysians complained without facts that the country is on the brink of financial doom.

As a matter of fact according to the Department of Statistics of Malaysia, the median and mean monthly salary and wages paid to employees in 2016 have increased by 6.2 and 6.3 percent respectively compared to 2015.

This is also helped by the fact that sales tax has gone down from the 10 percent sales tax (and 6 percent service tax) that were not fully remitted to the government due to the suspected underdeclaring of sales and profits, to just 6 percent Goods and Services Tax.

Sales Tax in Malaysia (Trading Economics/Malaysian Inland Revenue Department)

Corporate Tax, despite claims that the government has been charging corporations more, has been brought down to just 24 percent in 2016 from 30 percent back in 1997.

Corporate Tax in Malaysia from 1997 to 2016 (Trading Economics/Malaysian Inland Revenue Department)

Even the April 2017 numbers for Year-to-Date car sales figures in Malaysia had increased compared to the corresponding period in 2016.

And the government continues to make life more affordable in especially Kuala Lumpur, the city many big spenders complain is getting expensive to live in.  The Light Rapid Transit system that was originally built especially for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, has now been extended in service to connect Puchong and Putra Heights, while by 17 July 2017 the Mass Rapid Transit Line 1 will connect Sungai Buloh to Kajang directly meeting the KTM Komuter in Sungai Buloh and Kajang, while meeting directly with the LRT at Pasar Seni, and is within walking distance with the KL Monorail at Bukit Bintang.

The LRT will further extend from Bandar Utama to Johan Setia, south of Port Klang, and will be passing Tropicana, Glenmarie, Shah Alam stadium, UiTM, Bukit Raja, Sri Andalas and Bukit Tinggi.  The construction of LRT extension (known as LRT 3) has already commenced.

The MRT Line 2, which has also begun its site clearing phase will be from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya, passing through Sri Damansara, Kepong, Jinjang, Sentul, Titiwangsa where it will meet with the KL Monorail and LRT Ampang/Seri Petaling lines before going through Kampung Baru, Ampang Park, KLCC East, TRX, Bandar Malaysia, Kuchai, Bandar Tasik Selatan where it meets with the LRT, ERL and KTM Komuter, Serdang, Seri Kembangan, and Cyberjaya.

Meanwhile KTM Komuter will have a service linking its station at Subang Jaya with the Subang Skypark Terminal.

These are all ways initiated by the government to make connectivity better and cost of living lesser for the people of the Klang Valley.  At least, no false promises such as abolishing tolls have been made, such as the one made by the DAP-led state government in 2007 which have not only gone unfulfilled, but also reneged on by introducing not only tolls for Pulau Pinang voters to shoulder, but also having to foot higher parking charges statewide.

Statement by the Pulau Pinang state government promising a tolled highway

So, stop complaining saying things are unbearably expensive because figures show more people can afford to splurge, and stop telling lies in this holy month of Ramadhan, for those who claim to be Muslims or decent, refined and educated human beings.

In The Spirit Of Air Lanas

On the 23 August 2012, I wrote the following:

This was the way the British divided and ruled. Eventually, swayed by the profit they were earning from the Malay States that they forgot their promise to the Sultans which was to protect the interest and welfare of the Malays. The bulk of the Malays lived in rural areas and they had very minimal contact with the other races, the Chinese were basically in towns and tin mines, while the Indians were in rubber plantations. The effect to this was that the Malays remained backwards and were told to stay as peasants or tillers of the soil, the Chinese inherited all the tradings in the Malay States and became the richest residents, and the Indians remained as rubber-tappers without proper infrastructure. The Malays, according to Chai Hon-Chan:
“…merely retreated from the tide of commercial activity and material prosperity…whereas the British, Europeans, Chinese and Indians had the lion share of the country’s wealth…”
As a result, the Malays who were given land to cultivate, forced by economic disadvantages, began charging or creating a lien (collateral) over their land to the Chettiars. The Malays, already in a disadvantaged position, cried foul and started the “Malaya for Malays” movement in the late 1800s. EW Birch, the 8th British Resident of Perak, recognized this dire situation and quickly proposed a policy of preserving the Malay land. The only way to him to preserve the Malay race was to “free them from the clutches of those people who now remit to Indian large sums of money, which they bleed from the (Malay) people.”

The Malays were in a very disadvantageous position just before Merdeka, one of the reasons the Malayan Union was rejected so as to protect the rights and position of the Malays then.

FELDA was created 60 years ago to provide organised smallholders farming through resettlement of rural Malay poor who did not own any land. A year later Tunku Abdul Rahman launched the first settlement in Air Lanas, Kelantan where 400 settlers were relocated.

FELDA has grown into a very respectable organisation and has diversified its activities. FELDA Global Ventures, although separated in terms of its structure, is the third largest palm oil company in the world by acreage that also has downstream activities in oleochemicals.

Of late, FGV has not been performing well. Being in Malaysia, the government gets the blame although FGV has its own board. And the Opposition pins the blame on one person and one person only: Najib Razak.

Reading Raja Petra’s latest instalment does make me wonder if Isa Samad who is both the Chairman of FELDA and FGV is aware of the damage FELDA is causing to UMNO.

The allegations that Isa Samad and family is using FELDA/FGV as personal treasure chests is not something new. My only question is why is this cancer not nipped in the bud? 

It is still not too late for Najib Razak to act, and act he must! It would be sad to see a legacy left by his late father and the Tunku before that, that started in Air Lanas, be ruined by greed and irresponsible behaviours.

And what more if it is true as Raja Petra alleged that FELDA is being used to destroy UMNO in the upcoming general elections.

I can only echo a post on Facebook by Azmi Arshad – act now and save FELDA!