'I'm sick of being bogged down by 1MDB'

Lim Guan Eng

Modified 9 May 2019, 6:29 am

MP SPEAKS | DAP congratulates the people of Malaysia for making May 9, 2018,  a historic change of government for the first time in 61 years, making possible a New Malaysia. 

From a Finance Ministry perspective, the major first anniversary achievements include:

  • Transforming kleptocratic Malaysia into a clean nation and sharing the benefits with the people
  • Paying RM37 billion in goods and services tax (GST) and income tax refunds
  • Reducing RON 95 from RM2.20 to RM2.08 per litre
  • RM24.65 billion savings from cost reductions in hundreds of government projects, including LRT3 and MRT2
  • RM24 billion rescue of Felda and Tabung Haji

Institutional reforms, open tender and a strong anti-corruption stance have helped to transform a “global kleptocracy at its worst" into a clean nation that Malaysians can be proud of. 

Savings from fighting corruption are immediately shared with the nation. 

The reduction of RON 95 from RM2.20 per litre to RM2.08 per litre proves that the Pakatan Harapan government keeps its promise of reducing petrol prices. 

Such a reduction has caused the Harapan government to fork out an extra RM2 billion in additional petrol subsidies.

The cost rationalisation of hundreds of government projects, entered into by the previous government, saved RM24.65 billion without significantly affecting the scope of the works and quality of work done, and will benefit Malaysians over 10 years. 

This does not include the RM 21.5 billion savings from the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project from RM65.5 billion to RM44 billion. 

Just like that, changing the government allowed Malaysians to save a total of RM46.15 billion in construction costs.

This is apart from the cancellation of shady projects such as the RM9.4 billion multi-product and gas pipeline project, where 88 percent of the project cost or RM8.3 billion has been paid, even though only 13 percent of the work was completed. 

Worse still, 13 percent of the work supposedly completed remains unverified and cannot be located.

The payment of GST and income tax refunds of RM37 billion that was held back and used by the previous government without the permission of nearly 1.65 million income tax and 121,000 GST taxpayers, is continuing and will be fully paid up by October this year. 

Challenges from racist and religious extremists

Similarly, the government was able to source funding of RM24 billion for Tabung Haji and Felda, to rescue these two institutions that suffered huge losses as a result of gross cheating and financial mismanagement.

Harapan will face challenges from racist and religious extremists who want to divide the nation and disrupt religious harmony by pitting Malaysians against Malaysians to stay relevant. 

For instance, Tabung Haji has been racialised not against those who cheated Tabung Haji, but by blaming DAP, even though DAP helped to source RM17.8 billion in rescue funds for Tabung Haji.

Similarly, funding for Chinese and Tamil schools is racialised against the DAP with no mention of the increased funding for religious schools.

The repatriation of some of the 1MDB funds amounting to nearly RM1.5 billion from both the United States and Singapore, to help pay back the RM51 billion in 1MDB loans, is clear evidence that the 1MDB scandal exists, and is not a lie as claimed by opposition parties. 

Frankly speaking, I am sick and tired of having to spend so much of my time to deal with the 1MDB fiasco. 

Hopefully, from now on, we can spend more time to focus on ordinary Malaysians, and not so much on mega projects or past financial scandals.

The principal focus would be on job creation, helping businesses to drive economic growth towards an entrepreneurial state and reducing the cost of living. 

Even though Harapan has succeeded in reducing the inflation rate significantly from three percent in 2017 to only one percent in 2018, the cost of living has not gone down in tandem with the inflation rate.

Harapan is committed to doing more smaller projects for ordinary Malaysians, unlike the previous government’s obsession with mega projects benefiting their cronies.

Happy first anniversary, New Malaysia!

LIM GUAN ENG is the finance minister.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini. 

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