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10 APRIL 2024

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Najib should have 'recalibrated' oversized cabinet, says PAS MP

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Budget 2016 revision has been criticised for not including the slashing of an excessive cabinet amidst other cuts being undertaken in the government’s cost cutting.
The number of cabinet members has been left completely untouched in the cuts.
Whereas it had been suggested that it be reduced to 15 to 19 from its current 35 members.
Meanwhile, the private sector has been forced to reduce its staff size at various levels to reduce the burden on operational costs,” lamented PAS Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar.
By right, the government should also reduce half the members of the cabinet members to reduce salary costs and political appointees,” he said in a statement today.
He also slammed the government for not abolishing the posts of special envoys and advisers to the prime minister.
Najib last week revised his Budget 2016 initially tabled last year, as his government struggles amidst economic downturn and the continued slump in world oil prices, coupled with the drastic fall in the value of the ringgit.
Among others, the government moved to slash its expenditure by RM9 billion, and announced a tax break of RM2,000 for individuals earning less than RM8,000 per month last year, and lowered compulsory employees' contributions to the EPF fund from 11 percent to eight percent.
There is also aid in the form of 20 kilograms of rice per month for the hardcore poor.
Despite this, Najib had stated that there would be no job cuts in the civil service.
'Reliefs inadequate'
However, Mahfuz said these reliefs are inadequate for increasing the people's disposable income, and added that the GST standard rate should be halved from the current six percent to three percent.
He pointed out that only 6.72 million active EPF contributors would be affected by the lowering of the compulsory contribution, giving them RM8 billion in spending money.
In addition, there are only two million individual taxpayers who would benefit from the tax break and 200,000 households that would be getting the 20 kilograms of rice each month.
What about those who are not contributing to EPF and what about those who are ineligible to be taxed because they could barely afford to eat? Not all saddled with a high cost of living are among the 200,000 hardcore poor families who would get the 20 kilograms a month rice aid.
The 2016 budget recalibration is meaningless if the people don't get more disposable income, but continue to be victims of the GST.
Therefore, I continue to stress that the government should reduce the GST from six percent to three percent.
Only then can the people feel the burden of cost of living being lifted,” he said. -Mkini

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