Malaysiakini

Surpluses on Anwar's watch, record debts on Najib's

YOURSAY 'Anwar's years as finance minister saw continuous budget surpluses. Now, however, the country faces its highest deficits ever and record domestic borrowings.'

Najib boasts of fiscal feats, says Anwar can't match

your sayWira: PM Najib Abdul Razak, you don't even know that fiscal responsibility is the most important task of a finance minister, on top of good growth.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's years as finance minister was the only time the country had continuous annual budget surpluses since the formation of Malaysia on top of high growth, up to the time he was unceremoniously kicked out.

Your tenure as finance minister sees the country having its highest deficits ever on top of record domestic borrowings.

Maplesyrup: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has gone up because of government spending.

It is like a man boasting of the big mansion and  the sports cars he owns, but neglecting to mention that all were bought on loans.

Thanks to the big increase in deficits and national debt, we have a 30 percent increase in GDP (from US$6,700 to US$9,700).

What happens after government has exhausted its spending? If private investment does not kick in, the GDP will plunge 30 percent or more?

Mr PM, if you are so confident, why not have a presidential debate with Anwar. Let the nation judge, not just your Umno members.

Linjunlin: It took 50 years for the Malayan/Malaysian government to borrow RM250 billion (1957-2007). It took five years - one year under former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and four years of Najib Abdul Razak to borrow the next RM250 billion.

Swipenter: Since taking office, Najib has taken the country to the edge of bankruptcy with all his handouts and mega-projects. He borrows and spends like there is no tomorrow.

Najib, just take a look at our skyrocketing budget deficits under your administration. You are hocking our children's future to make yourself look good.

The international rating agencies are already ringing alarm bells at the rate we are borrowing and our widening budget deficits and warning us of a possible downgrade if our financial situation deteriorates any further.

Ferdtan: As a voter, we are not sure who is a better economic manager for the country - you, the present finance minister or Anwar, the former finance minister?

You accused him of wrongly advocating and implementing International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies.

He, Anwar, in his many ceramahs accused you of ruining the country by having colossal debts that can bankrupt the country.

The best thing for us to judge is for both of you to have a public debate. Anwar has on numerous occasions thrown down the gauntlet to have a debate.

Self-praise is no praise, so show us the type of leader you are. If not, your words sound hollow.

Gerard Lourdesamy: Najib must be daydreaming. Under his watch, the federal government debt has exceeded the 55% threshold to GDP if you include government guarantees given to GLCs (government-linked companies).

Income growth has stagnated compared with our neighbours' and certainly compared to countries like South Korea which was on par with us in the 1970s.

In this year's budget, operating expenditure outpaced development expenditure by two to one.

There must be a proper basis to make a comparison as Anwar has been out of power since 1998. If the PM is so confident about his record, why not debate Anwar on economic policies?

Boonpou: Oh, now I remember, Najib has an undergraduate degree in economics. No?

If Najib is right about GDP growth (and I have my reservations), the GDP itself is not an indicator of the distribution of wealth. Clearly, you should know this.

Since the NEP was implemented in the beginning of the 1970s, Najib's dad, former prime minister Abdul Razak, and a bunch of Umnoputeras have enjoyed spurious economic handouts but that did not translate into generating a higher standard of living for most Malays.

Clearly most Malays, let alone Malaysians, cannot afford the kind of handbags Najib's dear wife can.

Louis: Najib, in the early 90s, 1kg of ikan kembung was RM3 and today it is anything between RM6 to RM9.

My bus fare to town was RM1.50 and today it is RM3. By my layman's measurement of inflation, it has gone up by 100 percent.

In short, RM100 today is only worth RM50 in the 90s. So your boast of boosting the GDP by 30 percent is a joke.

Based on my simple calculation, our GDP should be US$14,000 now.

And even you achieve this figure, there is nothing to boast about. Everywhere you go, you give away money as if it fell from heaven, not realising that we have to pay for the bigger budget deficit later.

Take away all those handouts, you will not be able to achieve the GDP of US$9,700.

JMC: It's useless to compare what you are doing now with what Anwar did 15 years ago as the situation has changed.

Remember Anwar was not the PM, who had the final say in all he did. He was only the finance minister under the control of the PM.

Don't boast of your achievements in front of your own partisan crowd but in front of the public in the form of a televised debate with Anwar.

Let the people be the judge, only then your claims will be credit to you and BN.

Onyourtoes: Finance minister, in economics, what you did was boost short-term aggregate demand irresponsibly at the expense of preserving long-term sustainability. If you are not careful, soon everything will come crashing down.

Pemerhati: Whatever correct or cooked-up figures Najib gives, the important fact is that those figures could be much better if he and his BN cohorts were not stealing the people's money, which currently is estimated to be about RM50 billion per year.

Tiger: Malaysia and Singapore started together. Now Singapore is world class, with a GDP per capita of US$61,000, Malaysia is at US$9,700. Why are we so far behind?

It's because for last 50 years, we only had Umno-BN governing us. Time to change.

Righteous: I know there are police officers who are voicing their anger of late at the way they are being used and how so many of them are doing the government's bidding instead of their job.

They are now even complaining how they never saw their ballot papers but are scared to speak up because they need their monthly salary, which barely pay their bills and feed their families.

There is big trouble brewing in Malaysia when police officers talk like this. The only fiscal feats that BN and Umno are capable of is enriching themselves and repressing the rakyat through barely livable wages.

Qattara: It looks like Najib has forgotten about our ballooning debt, which is hovering dangerously close to 55 percent, and is at its highest ever level.

I guess he can make such statements in the presence of those who probably don't even know what he is talking about.


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