Pakatan’s Putrajaya to spend extra RM24bil on welfare
|7:39PM Jun 9, 2012
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today gave a sneak preview of what a Pakatan Rakyat-led federal government will do should it win power, saying that it will spend an additional RM24 billion on welfare.
While acknowledging the need to reduce the government’s spiralling debt, Anwar argued that this could still be done through cuts to existing wastages, which would save RM37 billion.
Among the cuts are:
- General wastages – RM28 billion
- Slash in Prime Minister Department’s budget – RM4 billion
- Redirect AP (approved permit) income to Treasury – RM1.9 billion
- Savings on IPP (independent power producers) subsidies – RM3.1 billion
“This is not an exaggeration. We can implement serious cuts without affecting the quality of education and public health,” he said in a dialogue attended by close to 1,000 businesspersons and professionals in Petaling Jaya this evening.
He said the savings would enable Pakatan to implement its welfare programmes, which includes the abolition of PLUS toll and cuts to other highway tolls which would amount to RM5 billion.
This also includes an increase of RM5 billion to public healthcare expenditure and a RM1 billion fund for the establishment of a National Women’s Fund.
Anwar added that a Pakatan-led federal government would also spend an additional RM6 billion on education, RM3 billion of which will be set aside to clear outstanding National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) debts, while the other half will be to improve the quality of education.
Another RM7 billion will be used for other welfare programmes, bringing the total to RM24 billion.
‘GLCs to be downsized’
Anwar added that Pakatan will also move to downsize government-linked companies (GLCs), allowing the private sector a more prominent role in the economy.
“The role of GLCs has got to be downsized, we will slowly privatised them and allow the private sector to manage them.
“The business of the government is to focus on its role in the public sector, and monitor and facilitate (the private sector),” he said.
On the ballooning personal debt among Malaysians, particularly loans to purchase costly cars, Anwar said taxpayers should not made to suffer ‘double taxation’ for the sake of protecting the national car industry.
“We take pride of having our own car industry, but at what cost? The issue now is it’s not fair to burden the rakyat for decades by taxing them and causing the car industry to be even less competitive,” he said.
However, Anwar did not elaborate on the specifics, but stressed that cheaper cars would be accompanied with a more efficient public transport system to avoid roads from being flooded with vehicles.
The dialogue today, to allow Anwar to explain Pakatan’s Malaysian Economic Agenda if it captures Putrajaya, was organised by the Selangor Companies of Trade and Industries and was attended by more than 50 business associations and professional groups as well as NGOs.
Meanwhile when approached later, Anwar said the opposition remains committed to providing free education despite the BN government’s recent siege of student loans to two Selangor-owned varsities to ‘test’ the opposition.
However, he slammed the federal government for treating PTPTN as its personal fund, adding that the fiasco should never have happened.
“The freeze was reversed after there was outrage not only in Selangor but throughout the country,” he said