Saturday, October 16, 2010

Harakah: "2011 Budget -- bringing the country to which direction?"

Dato' Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang, President of PAS, gave his reaction to the 2011 Budget in the October 18-21, 2010 issue of Harakah. Excerpts of his article are translated below:

"The 2011 Budget that was tabled by the Prime Minister, who is also First Finance Minister, on October 15, 2010 has shown that his agenda and transformation programmes are old notches given a re-branding. It is scattered with statistics that are cosmetic in nature, with disregard for human development that should be the engine in implementing economic changes. In the end, as a result of deviations, wastage, corruption and unfair administration, the people's well-being will certainly be at the old notches.

At the same time, the focus of the Government has continued to sidetrack for absurd reasons. For instance, the allocation for the Pusat Anak Permata Negara (PERMATA) programme that is enjoyed by a small group and still in its trial phase received RM111 million as compared to RM100 million for raising the standard of living of Orang Asli and Peribumi, and even worse is the RM95 million allocated as per capita assistance for primary and secondary religious schools.

What is important is not hearing good figures. For instance, it was tabled that per capita income grew by 6.1 percent to RM28,000; presumably, unemployment rate is at 3.5 percent. However, in reality, people in rural areas do not enjoy any direct benefit from the increase in the figures, and they are furthest away from enjoying life's well-being from changes in these figures.

These are the facts. We have said that the UMNO-BN Government is "a dream merchant trading in legends" by confusing the citizens with such figures. The Government has not learned from past mistakes, with a dream for the Warisan Merdeka tower boasting 100 floors and other facilities. That project will cost RM5 billion, whereas corridor projects giving more benefit to the people only received a scrap of allocation.

For example, the allocation for East Coast Economic Region is only RM178 million, who is just 3.6 percent of the Warisan Merdeka project. This does not include the possibility of cost overruns exceeding RM5 billion, which always happens under the UMNO-BN Government. Agencies that are entrusted to develop the economy for the poor people, are now giving attention to a mega project like this, because the UMNO-BN leadership is actually a dreamer swapping its responsibility in economy-building with a mega project.

PAS wishes to stress that raising the standard of living of poor people is through them becoming a part of the economy's engine so that they can become players in national development."


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