The truth about various questions and issues that have been raised by certain parties with malicious political agenda.
- This case has been investigated, tried and concluded in the Federal Court. It is a nine year-old case without end as it continues to be “recycled” by the Opposition.
- As it was a lengthy court case, the appellants had ample time to give their full account and tell the courts everything. So why are we listening to individuals whose testimony have already been given and who have been found guilty of the crime?
- What is important is that the judgment brings justice to everyone, most importantly to the family of the victim, to the accused and even to me.
- I have stated many times that I have nothing to do with this issue, and even sworn an oath on the Quran in a Mosque.
- The people must take into account that in politics, many issues keep being played up, and this is one of them. It became hot at a time when I was PM in waiting and the Opposition needed a way to prevent me from advancing. Because the two bodyguards had worked for me, and Razak Baginda was a friend and associate, they tried to connect the dots to me. Razak Baginda has openly admitted to the relationship with Altantuya but in no way did I have any knowledge of it. Pakatan and their media have irresponsibly tried to play the psy-war game by trying to implicate me and influence perception. They even went as far as to superimpose a photo of me, dining with the victim in a restaurant. In this era of social media, these things go viral uncontrollably, including the superimposed photo.
- Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the former PM, received the full investigation report from the police and has personally confirmed that I am not involved.
- Having established the above, it is unfair to force me to investigate this case again and demand to know who, if anyone, had ordered the killing. I am not involved and do not know anything about it. The court has determined who was guilty of the murder. That should be the end of the story.
- I find it disturbing that this issue is being brought up once again. We all know that if veteran leaders insist on bringing it up, even in passing, it would automatically cause the issue to be resurrected once again.
- Such influential individuals have many resources. When the issue erupted, I believe they would still have been able to verify the validity of the allegations. If they believed this to be true, why did they not raise it when the issue erupted 8 years ago? Why now? Some have said that they are only questioning the issue now as it has turned into a matter of life and death of those who have been convicted. But this case has been tried in the courts, with a clear verdict and punishment meted out. Are they disputing the very judicial system that they put in place?
- Despite the court’s lengthy deliberation and judgement, the ample time given to the appellant to have their case heard and judged, my Sumpah Laknat, the repeated denials I have made, the public explanations provided by Razak Baginda, some people continue to question the issue and keep trying to implicate me.
- I am aware of such comments. However, these headlines are derived from surveys based on perceptions. Most of us rely on more empirical measurements that are used by reliable independent groups. An example is the Transparency International Index. In the index, Malaysia is currently ranked no 50 out of 175 countries, improving 3 spots from the year before. If we are the most corrupted country, why are we nowhere near number 175?
- I find it troubling that someone who used to continually criticise the international media as being biased now suddenly believes and takes their arguments as the truth.
- Remember this veteran leader once went on record to describe the western media as ‘biased’ in describing their administration. So, the western media criticising that administration is biased, but when they criticise my administration, they are not? There appears to be a double standard here.
- Recently Transparency International reiterated that Malaysia’s corruption is under control, and the country’s growing foreign investment is proof of it. The 2015 Index of Economic Freedom ranked Malaysia as the 31st freest economy among 178 countries, with a score of 70.8 points. It is an increase of 1.2 points since last year, with improvements in freedom from corruption, business freedom, and trade freedom outweighing a decline in labour freedom and the management of government spending.
- Bloomberg has rated us the 5th most promising emerging market in 2015 and the only ASEAN country in its ‘top 10.’
- The World Bank has further upgraded us from number 20 in 2014 to number 18 in 2015 in their ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Index.
- How is it that we have improved in these competitive world rankings and yet we are also supposed to be as corrupt as certain parties claim us to be?
- Of course the issues raised by the Auditor General’s Report must be addressed and resolved. However, what is important here is we are making progress. In 2013, there were 418 items highlighted but in 2014, it came down to 319. We hope to continue reducing it much further in years to come.
BR1M is a social safety net recommended by the National Fiscal Committee, which comprises of officials from the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Bank Negara and the Ministry of Finance. They are mostly economics experts, not politicians. Such a social security net is being implemented in many other countries. Some call it “unemployment benefit”, which targets the unemployed. However, BR1M targets the low income. Both, in essence, are a form of social security allowance as they target vulnerable groups.
We aim to rationalise our current blanket subsidy to one that targets the needy. Everyone (including the rich and foreigners) benefit from blanket subsidies. By abolishing blanket subsidies, we generate savings that will then be channelled to those in the low-income group. And we will be able to give these deserving groups more than what they would have received as a result of the blanket subsidy scheme. Hence, BR1M must be seen in the context of a targeted subsidy, and it is the belief of the Fiscal committee that it will reduce leakages and increase the efficiency of our subsidy mechanism.
BR1M also compensates the needy for the any additional expenditure that they might incur as a result of GST. Some quarters claim that the GST is a regressive tax as everyone including the poor are subjected to it. However, with BR1M, GST is not regressive as the low-income groups are being compensated. In addition, a large portion of GST revenue will be spent on this vulnerable community.
Some politicians say that in spite of BR1M, the people are “not grateful.” This is exactly why they believe it is bribery and are not on the same page as the fiscal committee. We see it as an economic measure, but these politicians see it purely in the context of politics. Mind you, BR1M is given to everyone regardless of his or her political inclination. BR1M is given regardless of when elections are held. My conscience is clear. BR1M is an economic measure, not bribery and I have stated the reasons why.
People always say, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish, he lives for a life time”. But in the real world, we have to do both. Provide assistance to the needy and at the same time invest in education/skills upgrading/improving productivity. The Education Ministry receives the biggest amount allocation from our budget. On top of that, we have also created entities like TERAJU, Tekun, Genovasi, Superb, MAGiC and many other government training programmes under various ministries.
It is unfair for certain politicians to convict the government in the court of public opinion way before the actual facts are laid down by lawful authorities, namely the Auditor-General and the bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
When concerns began to be raised, I wanted a detailed explanation, so I ordered the Auditor General and PAC to investigate 1MDB’s books. Anyone found guilty of embezzlement or misappropriation will be brought to justice.
We are expecting the release of the preliminary report by Auditor General very soon. In the mean time, please do not speculate and form conclusions without the information that will be laid out by the Auditor General, who will provide a detailed report into 1MDB’s finances.
We all want detailed answers but it is only proper to let the auditors do their job and tell us clearly what the situation really is. If we pre-empt it, we would be undermining them, as many others have done. This is not the proper procedure. If we are sincere in finding out the truth behind those allegations, we need to get the information from legitimate sources (like the Auditor General) and not third-party news portals or online blogs that might have hidden agendas.
5. Allegations over the ‘Crooked bridge’ – Claim: We dare not build a bridge on our own land without approval from Singapore
- Our Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has advised the government regarding the legality of any modification to the Johor causeway under international law. AGC has advised that pipes within the Johor causeway are subject to the Johor-Singapore water agreement (1961, 1962), which outlines that said pipes belong to the Public Utilities Board (PUB) of Singapore, and that any modification of pipes must be approved by PUB.
- There is no question of whether we have enough courage to go up against Singapore. The bridge was not built because Malaysia is committed to adhering to all agreements it has signed. Any such bridge, if built in place of the Johor causeway without the express permission from Singapore’s PUB, would be in breach of property rights under international law.
- We have improved relations with our southern neighbours to a point where we are now engaged in projects and ventures that are a win-win proposition for both countries. To increase the connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore, we are now building a High Speed Rail and even mooting the idea of a friendship bridge that will not breach international law and see us build something that both countries want.
- In the last general elections (GE13), BN won 11 state governments compared to 9 in the previous GE. We regained Kedah, maintained Terengganu and solidified our position in Perak.
- UMNO won more seats in GE13 when compared to GE12.
- To fully turn around BN, I need time. Insha-Allah, the impact of the Transformation Programme that is already happening will assure the people that the BN-led government is able to deliver on its promises.
7. Claim: (Najib is) ignoring the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), setting up a new agency to plan the development of the country
- I formed Pemandu as a steering body that oversees the transformation programme that covers not only economic aspects under Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), but non-economic aspects under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), which naturally does not fall under the purview of Economic Planning Unit, which is an economic body.
- Contrary to what some have pointed out, I put enormous importance in the EPU as they are key to ensuring the success of the ETP. I even appointed one of the most capable CEOs in the country to head the EPU.
- The civil service have always been and forever will be at the centre of the country’s administration and operations. The civil service runs the country on a day-to-day basis. They play an integral part in our system. Just because a few individuals and parties are appointed to assist does not mean their experiences are no longer needed.
- This is simply an unfair comment that lacks objectivity. Assist Yes, take over NO. There have been numerous programmes implemented to continuously empower civil servants, increase synergy and the quality of delivery to the people, which can be seen in the National Blue Ocean Strategy initiative.
- This is not accurate at all. I have always prioritised the progress of the Bumiputera and under my administration, I have created the Bumiputera Empowerment Program, which is managed by TERAJU to ensure that the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda becomes a national agenda to be implemented effectively. As of today, TERAJU has provided business opportunities, business financing, development of human capital, private investment and the creation of equity exceeding RM 47.95 billion.
- Recently, the Bumiputera Economic Council certified a total of 99 Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that would be used this year in all 23 ministries and the Prime Minister’s Department in order to help Bumiputeras. GLCs including Petronas have special contract quotas for Bumiputera. Each GLC is also subject to a development program for Bumiputera contractors to provide opportunities for qualified Bumiputera contractors. More scholarships are given for Bumiputera under government-linked bodies. Superb grant was formed to create more Bumiputera entrepreneurs. Ekuinas was formed to increase Bumiputera holding and as of 2014, it has met its objective of creating RM4.2billion in Bumiputera equity value for its portfolio companies.
- In addition, UiTM is currently being expanded significantly to increase the number of places from 174,875 in 2011 to 250,000 by 2020. UiTM has also established the Mengubah Destini Anak Bangsa programme, where they venture into remote areas to reach out to Bumiputera youths who do not have the benefits of education, orphans and the poor. They can now come to study at UiTM and this helps to completely change their future. 5,000 places are given each semester. There are more such concrete examples which can be found in the TERAJU report card.
- Thus, to say that I ignore affirmative action, simply put, is nonsense.
- As Prime Minister, I am also very supportive of the Chinese, Indian and all other communities that make our nation great. But it is definitely not at the expense of neglecting the Bumiputera. My primary focus is to increase the economic pie, so there is more to go around for ALL races. As long as I can ensure growth in the economy, there will be social mobility, and all races will be able to move up the economic ladder.
- If I get the support that I need to pursue the transformation programmes, we will succeed. If we are united, and stop the infighting, we will succeed. If we focus on constructive rather than destructive politics, we will succeed. If we focus on work instead of believing and spreading rumours, spins and half-truths, we will succeed.
- A clear plan has already been set in motion. We have started to see the fruits of our efforts. Our GDP has been growing around 5-6% since I took over and we are well on our way to achieving a developed economy by 2020.
- We are facing a setback at the moment due to the fall in crude oil price which weakened the value of the Ringgit. These factors are outside our control. Nevertheless, we have been able to persevere due to our strong fundamentals, reserves accumulated in recent years and diversified revenue streams rather than being over-reliant on oil. We have also reached our best ever independent scoring on corruption in the past 10 years based on the Transparency International Index. My administration has seen the highest ever Foreign Direct Investment. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is decelerating in growth and our budget deficit is decreasing year on year. In addition, we reached an all time high in the WEF’s most competitive economy index, overtaking Australia, France, Austria and South Korea. We reached an all-time high in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index. All three major credit rating agencies have maintained a favourable investment grade for Malaysia. We continue to have a surplus in trade. Our healthcare is recognised as one of the best and most affordable in the region.
- The keys to some PR1MA affordable houses have already been given out with more to come. The second Penang bridge has been completed, the MRT’s Phase 1 is almost 60% completed, the economy opened 1.5 new million jobs in the last 5 years making our unemployment rate amongst lowest in the world and economic corridors like Iskandar Malaysia have seen infrastructure, houses, factories and community areas being developed. Greater KL has taken shape, with more townships being developed and homes being built, the Bus Rapid Transit Phase 1 will be completed by mid-year with Pan Borneo highway finally taking shape and which will be a major economic catalyst for Sabah and Sarawak just like the PLUS highway is for the Peninsula. The High Speed Rail (HSR) project is underway. These are all projects, initiatives and efforts by my administration to develop this nation. As you can see, these are fruits of the Transformation Programme launched 5 years ago. It is finally happening and I am very excited that we are starting to see the impact. This is what actually matters to the people.
- Improvements are happening before our very eyes. But I know that many would of course rather look at the bad and continue to harp on never ending rumours, half-truths and spins. They continue to believe that the ‘end is nigh’ and that the Opposition will win. These are claims that have been made over and over again in the last five decades and yet we are still here.
- While everyone is free to criticise me and list all my ‘failures,’ it is also important to recognise how far we have come in the last six years, in order to have a fair view of things.
- 1Malaysia is a call for unity. The most important difference with the “Malaysian Malaysia” concept is that 1Malaysia explicitly accepts the Malaysian Constitution in its entirety, particularly all the provisions listed under article 153.
- “Malaysian Malaysia” was originally a concept opposed to article 153, and its modern use has been ambiguous at best. Had 1Malaysia been exactly like Malaysian Malaysia, there would not have been a Majlis Permerkasaan Bumiputera, TERAJU and others. Had 1Malaysia been exactly like Malaysian Malaysia, there would not have been the New Economic Model (NEM), a framework to increase inclusivity in the economy but at the same time empower the Bumiputera community to be more competitive.
- To say that 1Malaysia is equivalent to Malaysian Malaysia is nothing short of a distortion from reality, with the sole intention of misleading the Malays.
- This claim is untrue. Last year alone, the police managed to reduce crime rates in the country by 12.6%. Violent crime in the country has also dropped by 13.4%. The Royal Malaysian police have been working hard to ensure that all Malaysians are safe from all forms of crime and violence.
- As a matter of fact, 8,868 individuals were detained and 280 weapons were seized in the recently launched Ops Cantas Khas. When the ISA was first launched, its sole purpose was to fight the communist insurgency and today it has become irrelevant.
- To ensure that violent extremism has no place in Malaysia, the government has introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, which has been passed by Parliament. This act will combat new challenges, including the rise of the Islamic State militant group and will not be used for political ends. Only those who raise the threat of violent extremism can be detained under this new act.
- It is standard practice across the world for most leaders to use official jets, not for luxury, but for efficiency in carrying out their duties. The aircraft’s interior is configured such that meetings and discussions can be held on board and that the work of state can continue even during the flight. Therefore the question does not arise as to whether or not a country should have an official jet.
- We must not be taken in by the opposition propaganda that the government was wasting money on a new jet. What they failed to explain was that the jet was purchased to replace a 16-year old aircraft that was becoming a safety hazard. Moreover, it is also the official aircraft used by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, providing all the more reason for us not to compromise on safety and security.
The cost of maintaining an old aircraft is high. Hence, the older aircraft is being disposed of and the money the government makes from its sale will clearly reduce the cost paid for the new aircraft.
- I understand that some concerns have been expressed around the introduction of the GST. However, as Prime Minister, it is my responsibility to make the right decisions for all Malaysians, even if it can seem difficult at the time.
- At the moment, only 1 in 10 Malaysians pays personal income tax, and it is important that we broaden our tax base for the long term good of the economy
- Furthermore, it is important to note that 23% of the government’s revenue currently comes from oil and gas. As we have seen from the recent steep fall in global oil prices, Malaysia cannot sustain its growth and development based on this revenue stream alone. This is why we announced a reform of the tax system, with the Goods and Services Tax replacing the Sales and Services Tax.
- The introduction of the GST will help us build a stronger, more sustainable and transparent economy: it will help reduce our deficit, help us invest in our future, and help drive forward our national development.
- Unfortunately, rather than seeking to understand the economic rationale and the long-term benefit this will bring to the rakyat, some politicians have been attacking the introduction of GST, portraying this as an unusual and unnecessary measure for a country of Malaysia’s size.
- However, GST is not a new phenomenon. More than 160 countries have already implemented this and in ASEAN, our neighbourhood, we are the 8th country to introduce the tax. Furthermore, Malaysia’s 6% rate is actually one of the lowest in the world. By contrast; the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Indonesia all have a 10% GST rate.
- Having said that; I have been made aware that some unscrupulous businesses, both big and small, are trying to take advantage of the introduction of GST to increase prices above the 6% rate. This is completely unacceptable.
- I have instructed the relevant departments to step up their enforcement efforts to ensure that any increases introduced by shopkeepers and business owners are in line with the 6% GST rate, and that any abuses of this system which negatively harm the consumer are brought to a halt.
- I accept criticism with an open mind and will continue to address legitimate concerns and feedback.
- We must also always respect our elders who have done a lot for Malaysia. However, I know many believe that it is time they let the next generation run the country, and this includes overcoming problems and challenges on our own.
- Malaysia is a democracy. I was elected by UMNO, and by the people of this country, to lead them. Therefore, I have their mandate and I am answerable to the party and the people, not to any one individual. At the next general election and party election, the party and the rakyat can exercise their democratic rights through the ballot box.
- Furthermore, many of Tun’s criticisms are unfair or misleading:
- He is opposed to the implementation of GST, although all credible economists believe that broadening our tax base is the right thing to do. The revenue will be used for the welfare of the rakyat. Indeed, the idea was first mooted during his administration.
- Tun has echoed malicious opposition rumours concerning my wife and family. For example, in a recent speech in Ipoh, he cited a fictitious statement that the opposition has been peddling through the use of a doctored Utusan article. Also, he regurgitated a false smear started by the opposition at the time of the last general election that my wife owned a RM24 million ring. It is a lie, and the company that owned the ring clarified in detail at the time that such a ring was never bought by Rosmah. It is regrettable that someone of Tun’s stature should pass on such slander to the people.
- He also echoed the opposition in raising the purchase of the replacement government jet, claiming that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong does not use the jet, calling me a liar. But again this is false – His Majesty was in fact the first VIP passenger to use the newly arrived aircraft for a trip to Langkawi, and will continue to do so.
- Tun has used the financial challenges facing 1MDB as an excuse to attack me. It is true that 1MDB is facing challenges, but not at the level being alleged.
Indeed, some of the allegations that have been made have no grounding in reality, for instance Tun’s claim that I am responsible for a loss of RM42 billon on 1MDB’s balance sheet. This appears to be a deliberate twisting of the facts as 1MDB has not made a loss of this amount. This is the amount of its total debt; debt that is far exceeded by the company’s assets of RM51 billion, as audited and confirmed by Deloitte. Most large companies around the world have high levels of debt, there is nothing unusual about this.
He also claimed that I do not answer issues surrounding 1MDB, but I have gone beyond that – and instructed the Auditor General to conduct an audit of 1MDB, the results of which will be presented to the bipartisan Public Accounts Committee. This should ensure that the process is transparent, and all questions that have been asked of the company are independently answered by legitimate bodies rather than politically motivated sources.
- Tun often claims that he is doing something because of what people tell him when they come to see him. However, he should check whether such hearsay and claims have any evidence and truth before airing them. He knows well that many allegations were made about what happened under his administration. And always Tun’s answer was: “Where is the proof?” He should be applying the same test to what he hears.
- Although much has been achieved in the first six years of my administration, all of the progress that our country and BN has made are being ignored in favour of baseless allegations and lies started by the opposition. Much of what Tun has said lacks objectivity and is downright wrong. The question should be asked – what is Tun’s motivation in choosing this moment to regurgitate smears manufactured by the very opposition groups that he previously denounced as liars?
- During his 22 years in power, Tun had always insisted on party members supporting the leadership, especially during challenging times. We did our part then, and I supported him through thick and thin. I did so because I believed then, as I do now, that party unity is a prerequisite for what we want to achieve for the country. The vast majority of UMNO members still recognize that real loyalty means working together to build the party for the good of the rakyat.
It is wrong for Tun and any party members to undermine today’s party leadership just because their personal wishes are not met. The interests of the people and the party are far more important than any one individual.
- I was democratically elected by both the party and the people, and, as I have the mandate, will complete my term as party President and Prime Minister. My priority is to ensure that we achieve Vision 2020 and the economic, governmental and political transformation that will benefit all Malaysians.
16. Official jet – Claim: “This country is being attacked repeatedly by terrorists who killed our police and soldiers. Is this the normal state of things or is this a security problem? If we care for security do we buy luxury private jets.”
- The security of Sabah has nothing to do with the purchase of an official jet. No funds meant for the security of Sabah have been diverted or reduced in order to purchase the government jet so the logic is quite mystifying.
- The security of this country is of paramount importance to me. Because “we care for security,” the government establishedESSCOM to secure the boundaries of Sabah. We have deployed a total of five battalions comprising of police and military troops to secure eastern Sabah. ESSCOM is made up of two components. The first component deals with security and defence management while the second component handles enforcement and public action. The security and defence management component pools the resources of the various security agencies so as to improve its operational effectiveness while the enforcement and public action component ensures compliance with immigration regulations, the monitoring of controlled goods and issues affecting the daily lives of residents in the area.
- ESSCOM ensures security for ESSZone which comprises 10 districts in eastern Sabah, namely Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.
- Although ESSCOM has been able to prevent fresh intrusions, abductions remain an ongoing security threat. The situation remains complex due to the nature of the insurgency in the Southern Philippines and our vast maritime border. The government has increased patrols and operations across the region and we will continue to do so. Such abductions have been occurring for decades but not much had been done previously. As such, this was the security situation that I inherited and which the terrorists chose to exploit. The Lahad Datu raids showed just how fragile our security can be and this government is committed to preventing this happening again. We are also forever indebted to all those who had sacrificed their lives in order to defend and protect our sovereignty.
- The accusation by certain parties that wrong doing has occurred is for the Auditor General and PAC to address in their comprehensive reports.
- At the same time, I want to be very clear that should anyone be found guilty of any wrong doing, they will be brought to justice and the law will be enforced without exception.
- Given how sensational and politicised the 1MDB issue has become following various ‘exposes’ and ‘revelations’ on certain suspect websites and third party news portals as well as attacks from veteran politicians, it is almost impossible for the management of 1MDB or anyone else to explain various parts of the issue without seeing their statements being spun, twisted and exaggerated by parties with ulterior motives. That is why a full accounting of the facts by lawful authorities are needed so that there can be no misinterpretation or spin.
- Allowing the PAC and AG to present the facts in full will put us all in a better position to determine what transpired. The Auditor-General has a reputation of being uncompromising when reporting about the weaknesses in public finances. The PAC consists of lawmakers from both the government and the Opposition.
- Thus, it is ironic that some claim that the Auditor General will reveal nothing when it is generally known that his job is to disclose a true and fair view of a ministry’s or company’s finances. In any case, the PAC has a much wider scope and has already begun their probe.
- Some individuals are also unsatisfied that it will take time to produce the findings. If the objective is to really find out the truth about 1MDB rather than trying to oust the current leadership, then the auditors should be given the necessary time to come out with the results.
- There is no proof that anyone has been ‘robbed,’ only allegations. Does that mean we should spread rumours and speculation and move to oust the country’s leaders if instant answers are not provided, rather than getting a true account of what has transpired?
- I also want answers quickly but if we don’t allow the authorities to provide us with the information in a proper and legal manner, how can the government take action against anyone who is found guilty? Is the government supposed to base its actions and prosecutions on wild allegations and tabloid exposes? Now that would be silly.
19. Claim: “With better financial management the GST need not be imposed on the people. By introducing the GST, Government is actually asking the people, including those who are not in the income tax bracket to bail out failed Government ventures.”
- The government continuously improves financial management:
- Improving the efficiency of GLCs and maximising returns. The GLCs have made more returns and grown in value more than ever before, with increased transparency, accountability and competitiveness under the GLC Transformation Programme.
- This administration has increased the importance and freedom given to the Auditor General to audit the National Finances to report on all leakages. As mentioned in 2(h), the number of issues highlighted by the AG has reduced steadily over the years and I intend to improve on this further.
- Malaysia remains one of the world’s most competitive countries, according to the WEF’s competitive index.
- We have also introduced 11-cost cutting measures earlier last year in the public sector.
- Tun’s argument that GST bails out unsuccessful government ventures sounds convenient. But Tun deliberately omitted the fact that there have also been many more successful GLC ventures. For example, our G20 GLCs have had a total shareholder return of 12.6% per annum (p.a.) from 2004 to 2015, beating the KLCI’s 12.2% p.a. Market capitalisation also grew 3.2 times (RM133.8bn in 2004 to RM431.1bn in 2015.) Total net profit increased from RM9.9 bn to RM26.2 bn from 2004 to 2015.
- While we try our best to maximise the potential of all ventures in the country (both government-linked and private,) it is impossible to be successful all the time. Regardless, the majority of these ventures are successful and this tends to offset the less successful ones. Hence, the issue of using GST revenues to bail out failed ventures does not arise.
- To say that those who are not in the income tax bracket are bailing out the government is nothing short of twisting facts. This is because the bulk of government assistance goes to this particular group. They are even compensated in the form of BR1M. In the 11th Malaysia Plan, we are allocating RM 5,000-10,000 per house in rural areas for repairs. In the plan, we are also giving extra focus to the bottom 40% by moving to increase their household income to RM5,000 by 2020. We have also implemented the 1Azam poverty eradication programme. Students will also continue to get book vouchers and education subsidies. There are many, many more government schemes and initiatives for the non income tax paying group.
- And this is where the bulk of GST funds will go. It will not go to bailing out the government. It is unfortunate that Tun has chosen to ignore these very significant forms of assistance, well aware that by omitting these, the rakyat will be led to think that GST funds go to bailing out the government. I have promised to disclose how the GST revenue will be spent in the upcoming Budget.
- GST is not to bail out the government. It is a worldwide tax system, which is more transparent and systematic than SST, as mentioned in 14. A change from the SST to the GST system is inevitable and it has been delayed since Tun’s time. Even if it does not happen now, it will still have to happen eventually.
- The replacement tax will serve to broaden our revenue stream to avoid a high reliance on oil revenues. Had GST not been imposed, the fall in oil price recently could have sent us into an economic crisis. But because Malaysia now has a more diverse revenue stream and strong fundamentals, the business community and foreign investors remained optimistic.
20. Claim: Giving out money to all and sundry may be popular…It is far better to educate and train people for higher-paying jobs when incomes would increase substantially in return for work done.
- Education does increase productivity but BR1M is also needed as I have explained in 3(e).
- All of our economic measures in the past, current and future including the 11th Malaysia Plan are about increasing productivity through increased education. Under our programmes, we will train more skilled labour, increasing the proportion of workers with a tertiary education in our labour force.
- I do hope Tun stops insinuating that we do not sponsor training for people so they can get higher-paying jobs. We spend huge sums on such training and education.
- While education is key to productivity, I believe we also need to provide a social security net. BR1M is a form of targeted subsidy and an economic measure. This economic measure will continue until we are able to develop a better form of targeted subsidy.
21. Claim: “So what is wrong with asking the current PM to step down. He has obviously made a bigger mess of the country than the previous PM.”
- This is Tun’s personal opinion. It is unfortunate the Tun chooses to ignore all that this government has achieved under the various transformation programmes and the economic growth trajectory that Insha-Allah, will help us become a high income nation by 2020.
- The ‘mess’ that Tun refers to, is largely of his own making as a result of his attacks and his echoing of Opposition lies and slander. These allegations have been amplified through the internet. This was something that Tun did not have to face when he was PM. Any controversy that arose over his or his government’s actions would take days if not weeks to develop. Tun did not have to face endless allegations that are recycled over and over and shared at lightning speed. The word “viral” was almost non-existent during his administration.
- Tun has clearly been taken in by the democratisation of information on social media, where all information no matter how untrue is treated as the truth. Today, online media with hidden agendas spin headlines and upload bold-faced lies that get shared and spread by the minute, and which perpetuates the perception that they must be true. Just because a lie is spread a thousand times does not make it true. With such an onslaught online, its not surprising that Tun thinks there is a bigger ‘mess’ today.
- It is true that this administration, just like any other, is not without challenges. But the government’s track record in the last six years shows that we are making things better for all Malaysians and we will continue to deliver on our promises to transform the economy, government and the country as we reach Vision 2020. We must keep the faith and work towards this rather than fight among ourselves. Let us work together to make Malaysia the best that it can be!
22. Claim: “An elected leader is not impervious to removal before his term is out. The previous PM was also elected, in fact with a bigger majority. But he was persuaded to step down by the current PM.”
- Even if I step down, Tun will continue to intervene in the country’s administration. He can say he is simply exercising his democratic rights as a citizen, but this is Tun Mahathir. People tend to believe whatever he says, even if it is not entirely accurate. It has a significant effect on public perception, as he is not just any ordinary citizen.
- There are reasons why most former heads of state across the world do not intervene in the work of current administrations, because whatever they say can easily affect the system. Tun did many noble and great things as PM but he is no longer running the administration.
- Tun is a veteran politician and a master of public perception. He understand that political statements are not entirely about the truth but about what the people will believe in the court of public opinion. This is why he continues to make insinuations, speaking half-truths, cracking misleading jokes and twisting statements to make his views exciting and palatable.
- He stated in his articles that 1MDB had a debt of RM42 billion. Then out of the blue, he claimed that the RM42 billion had disappeared, in his article “Supporting Najib”, where he stated: “I would like to ask the supporters whether their support means the disappearance of 42 billion Ringgit is okay…” clearly suggesting that the money was missing. If Tun makes such an allegation, people will believe it. So, many on social media began asking “where is the missing RM42 billion?” Was there a debt of RM42 billion? Yes. Was the money missing? No. But the Spin had begun!
- I urge UMNO and BN members along with all Malaysians not to be taken in every time Tun attacks. Take a step back and analyse the facts. We have done so much in the last six years (see10(c) and (d)) but Tun ignores these and only highlights allegations and problems as he knows that is how to influence the people’s mind against the current government and me.