BN lawmakers slam PR’s 2013 budget as vote-buying tool
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers today dismissed Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) alternative budget as an irresponsible vote-buying tool used only to garner public support ahead of the upcoming general election.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today PR’s 2013 budget launched by opposition de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) this afternoon “is just to trick the people to vote for them”.
“It’s a stupid budget. They have a lot of promises, but nothing has been done yet, when are they going to fulfil them (promises)?” he asked reporters in parliament today here.
Hulu Selangor MP P. Kamalanathan echoed his colleague’s sentiments and warned the people not to take Anwar’s budget proposal too seriously as it was “made by those who want to take over the government”.
“It is a joke budget. It is irresponsible and a vote-buying budget,” he said.
“We cannot simply promise things that cannot be done. The real budget will consider all the needs of the people,” he added.
Tangga Batu MP Datuk Idris Harin, who is also Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) chairman, said PR’s budget was not logical but impractical and that it would only confuse the public.
“For example, if they want to get rid of the 1 Malaysia Housing Project (PR1MA), it is not practical because it will cause projects that are already under construction to be idle,” he said, adding the proposal was merely a ploy to destroy what has already been built by the federal government.
“The process implemented by the government (in hiring more contractors) is (one) that can benefit more companies while ensuring more projects can be completed. It (the policy) also discourages monopoly,” he said.
“What is being promised by the opposition through the shadow budget will only create loss of faith among the people,” he added.
PR today had promised to raise the disposable income of Malaysians in an alternative set of budget proposals announced today, just two days before the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) unveils the government’s official proposals for spending and taxes.
Anwar said disposable income would rise through measures such as cheaper car prices, the abolishment of tolls and the waiver of student loans, as the opposition sought to pre-empt Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Budget announcement on Friday.
Anwar said a PR government would be able to pay for the proposed measures not through raising taxes but by plugging leaks that arise as a result of inefficiency and corruption.
PM Najib is also expected to unveil a voter-pleasing Budget on Friday, placing the priority on winning a tough election above addressing the country’s rising debt burden.
Economists say Najib will likely delay much-needed reforms to broaden Malaysia’s tax base and reduce its dependence on oil revenues to at least next year, while announcing measures to help poorer families struggling with rising living costs.
Both Anwar and Najib are using populist approaches to court votes in what is expected to be the most keenly-contested general election in the country’s recent history.
It also is anticipated that they will avoid promising any tough measures for reforms.
Najib must call an election by next April and has already announced a series of handouts this year, including RM2.6 billion in cash payments to poor families to shore up support for BN.