Answers needed to some perplexing questions — Lim Mun Fah
JULY 26 — Misha Glenny, journalist, historian and expert on the Balkans, told us in his book “McMafia: Crime without frontiers” that the world is black.
Glenny did not intend to alarm the world with his statement. Having conducted an in-depth analysis of cross-border crime syndicates, he led his readers into a real, hair-raising world.
Just as everyone is fantasising about the rosy picture of a Global Village, the criminal underworld has already breached the confines of national borders, as he wrote, taking a step ahead in “globalisation.” Narcotics smuggling, human trafficking, arms smuggling, tax evasion and money-laundering activities have swept the world in a big way and gone truly global.
How much of this “black money” is actually present in this world? How much of the evaded tax revenues governments have lost each year? According to IMF estimates, the black money around the world amounts to a whopping US$9 trillion (RM28 trillion) to US$12 trillion each year, almost 15 to 20 per cent of the world’s annual GDP output.
As for evaded taxes, Tax Justice Network studies show that cumulative evaded taxes topped US$21 trillion as of end 2010.
To many, money is something we can hardly be bothered about if the amount is insignificant, and something we do not have actual idea of its magnitude once it shoots up to astronomical proportions. As such, some practical instances should work well to put things in clearer perspectives.
How many briefcases do we need to stuff US$21 trillion into is out of the question. The important thing is that this amount is equivalent to the GDP of the United States and Japan put together!
Back to the home front. Our figures are equally astonishing. An earlier report by Washington-based non-profit organisation Global Financial Integrity (GFI) has revealed that RM150 billion (US$47 billion) worth of black money was siphoned out of the country in 2009 alone. The figure put Malaysia in fifth place among nations of the world.
And now, Tax Justice Network studies show that some RM893 billion of tax money has found its way out of Malaysia into offshore tax havens between 1970 and 2010. This amount is three times the country’s total debt of RM257.2 billion for 2011. The same has put Malaysia at 12th place among 20 developing countries suffering badly from capital outflows.
The saddening fact is that a small country like Malaysia has not only seen a million of her citizens ( a third of whom are well educated) leaving for greener pastures overseas, it has also witnessed a massive exodus of black money and tax money.
It has been reported in the foreign media that the economic woes and social problems in many countries could have been resolved if such cash outflows could be stemmed. Rural China will be devoid of barefooted children who cannot afford to pay their school fees, and Europe will not see its cash-strapped senior citizens taking their own lives under the weight of the debt crisis.
My question: how about Malaysia?
Does anyone have an answer? — mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.