Pakatan states proof of economic success, proper governance, say leaders
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
February 23, 2012
Lim said PR’s policies were not ‘divided by race’ and that their goal was to help all Malaysians. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
PETALING JAYA, Feb 23 — High investment figures, budget surpluses and reduction of debts in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) states are proof that the federal opposition is ready to take a shot at governing the country, its leaders have asserted.
PR leaders told participants at a DAP fund-raising function here last night that while Barisan Nasional (BN) could only resort to giving one-off RM500 aid to Malaysians while still pouring out billions of ringgit worth of taxpayers’ money in projects which are shrouded in secrecy, PR states have managed to save money as well as increase investment and productivity in less than four years.
Leading the fray was Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who gave the 3,500-odd crowd a blow-by-blow list of the state’s achievements and successes since 2008, and stressed that unlike BN, PR’s policies were not “divided by race” and that their goal was to help all Malaysians.
“Malaysia will become bankrupt because of cronyism, corruption. The (current) federal government debt is RM456 billion. If Malaysia goes bankrupt, who pays? Najib? Rosmah? It’s you and me, ordinary people,” exclaimed Lim to loud cheers from the Chinese-majority crowd.
The Bagan MP said the issue of debt should be a concern for all Malaysians, and pointed out how his state administration had managed to reduce Penang’s debt level from RM630 million in 2008 to just RM30 million last year.
“We have also recorded budget surpluses every year, turned around loss-making (state) government companies and local authorities,” added the Penang CM.
Nurul Izzah highlighted the government’s move in borrowing RM1.5 million from the EPF to help unqualified home buyers.
Lim pointed out that three PR states (Penang, Selangor and Kedah) were listed in the top five states which recorded the highest levels of approved manufacturing investment last year.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry released figures this week that showed that the federal opposition-controlled states of Penang and Selangor had recorded the highest levels of approved manufacturing investment in 2011, at RM9.1 billion and RM8.74 billion respectively.
This is the second year in a row that Penang and Selangor have topped the ranks for approved manufacturing investment and a sharp contrast to 2009 when Sarawak attracted the highest levels of manufacturing investment and Penang came in fourth.
Kedah, another PR state, came in fifth in 2011 with RM6.13 billion, behind BN-controlled Sarawak which was in third place at RM8.45 billion and Johor with about RM6.5 billion.
“Who says investors won’t come if Pakatan Rakyat rules Malaysia?” asked Lim.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed had said that Penang had done well since the 1980s due to strong support from the federal government.
He also said that not all federal opposition-controlled states had done well.
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar hit out at Mustapa for his remarks, and asked what the minister has done for Kelantan since he is the Jeli MP.
“What has Tok Pa done to assist the Kelantanese except deny them RM800 million in oil revenue?” she said last night.
“You judge a government, its leader based on his Cabinet,” said Nurul Izzah, who charged that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak took “good care” of his own people in reference to inaction over the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) issue involving Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her family.
She also highlighted the government’s move in borrowing RM1.5 million from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to help unqualified home buyers purchase low-cost homes from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and questioned the 6.5 per cent interest rate to be imposed on home buyers.
“The loan will be managed by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which will be led by Raja Datuk Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin. The SPV gets one per cent in terms of service charge,” she said.
DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said BN and Umno leaders have resorted to publicly attacking PR governments without basis, citing the Bayan Mutiara land sale as an example.
“They keep talking about how it was negotiated... the highest bidder won the open tender. What was negotiated was the payment option for the bidder. Instead of paying over a period of eight years, we wanted payment to be over five years,” said Pua.