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Saturday, June 05, 2004


The Cupboard is Bare

So soon after the 11th election and at the first meeting of the new Parliament, we are told the government coffers is quite bare. The alternative parties must be having a sigh of relief that they have not won the 11th and inherited a bare government coffers. In Parliament which is presently in session, we are told that 90% of the RM160 billions meant for the Rancangan Malaysia Kelapan[RM8] has been spent and only RM17 billions are left till 2005! Parliamentary secretary to the Finance Ministry Datuk Hilmi Yahaya has also said that as the Government wanted to reduce its deficit, targeted at RM18bil for 2003 to 2004, there will be no further allocation. All ministries have been told to take cost-cutting measures to reduce unnecessary expenditure.
What has happened to cause this mismatched spending? We are told in Parliament that it is due to "too fast" spending by the various ministries, or should it be "over-spending"?
The MINIstry of Health has been in the news lately, regarding the issue of cost-cutting and it has been reported that the MINIstry is facing problems even in paying staff salaries in hospitals across the country if it does not reduce other expenditures. Malaysiakini has also reported on measures the Health MINIstry is taking to do this :: buying of cheaper drugs, cutting down on overtime, with holding filling up non-critical positions and so on. This was initially denied by the apparently misinformed Deputy Health MINIster in Parliament. There is also a report that plans to build 11 new hospitals have been held back. This unhealthy surgery on the health budget would only mean greater misery and a heavier financial burden for the poor who are the main users of government health facilities. For the rich there is always the private health sector to cater for them.
What is remarkable is that the PM-cum-Finance MINIster-cum-Internal Security MINIster is unaware of all these "too fast" expenditure by the various ministries! When asked about what the Finance Parliamentary Sec had to say, the PM is reported to have replied: "90 percent? I have to check first what he (Hilmi) is talking about." He should come clean and be transparent and tell us the truth as to how the government coffer has been emptied so fast and whether there has been any mis-adventure(s) in spending by the ministries. With still almost one and a half years to go before the RM8 runs its course and only 10% of the budget left, the people/taxpayers have reason to worry. Will the "golden geese" namely Petronas and the EPF be once again called to do yeoman national service? Will our hard earned retirement funds go up in smoke? Certainly worrying.
The promised RM30 billion foreign funds waiting to come into this country are just that, waiting to come in. These were according to the PM just dying to come in if the BN won big in the 11th election, what happened. Realising the state of the 'cupboard', the PM has been praising the private sector skyhigh and expects it to be the engine-of-growth. He mentioned this when speaking at the opening the AGM of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia recently. Like foreign investors, local investors are waiting for the execution of the promised reforms made by the PM, before they come up with their investments.
In early March, prior to the 11th election, the then caretaker PM at the launch of a state election machinery had these words to say ::
"Strong support gives strength and confidence to a government. With a big mandate, I will be able to do all that I promised. I will know then that the people are with me." In his first four months in office, Abdullah outlined his initiatives to tackle corruption, improve the delivery of public services, make the award of government contracts more transparent and turn agriculture into a new area of economic growth.

Big and strong mandate he did receive from the 'enamored' voters but has he, in return, delivered?


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LONE's rantings for all interested, COMMENTS/KOPI-0s welcomed. Comments are solely the views of their makers
MALAYSIA, a great place to be in, BUT we can, will and must make HER better.
You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one
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