I had a tough few days where I wasn’t in good health condition, and have to take some rest. Alhamdulillah, I have recuperated well, and among the very first thing is to have a good look on both budgets presented by BN and PR.
I believe, by now, many have done their own analysis and given their thoughts. As GE getting nearer and nearer, both BN and PR have ridiculed what other sides’ budget have presented. This is expected, as both sides are too much committed to show how good the coalition they supported, and how bad the side is.
After going through both budgets, I have to say that, to be fair, both are GE budgets, be it BN or PR. Even though BN has been improving such budgets presented in recent years, the sentiments of GE13 cannot be ignored. PR’s? It is a clear GE budget. Why?
Let me bring through some of the key points from what can be read PR’s budget doc, obtained from Rafizi Ramli, a PKR strategist, who have blocked my twitter after series of questions on Turun Harga Kereta campaign.
First, in the presentation, the key of PR presentation is to have extra ringgit in Malaysians pocket. Catchy highlight, but the basis of such highlight is made on poor generalization. Why? Let’s take a look what is stated, shall we:
|The full implementation of the proposals contained in Belanjawan Pakatan Rakyat 2013 and other proposals announced in Buku Jingga and other documents shall increase the monthly disposable income of a typical Malaysian household* as follows: Ringgit Malaysia (RM)|
|Saving from lower car prices||70|
|Saving from abolishment of toll (total spread out over one year)||50|
|Waiver of PTPTN loan for qualified borrower||200|
|Special Teaching Allowance as promised in Buku Jingga||500|
|Government’s contribution to Caruman Wanita Nasional for wife||50|
|Saving from lower food and goods prices due to lower fuel and transportation charges, estimated at 5%||60|
|TOTAL INCREASE IN MONTHLY DISPOSABLE INCOME||930|
A total of RM930 can only be obtained IF you are:-
- A teacher (as I don’t think special teaching allowance is entitled to ALL Malaysians)
- PTPTN qualified borrower (other borrowers can dream on)
- A woman (as I don’t think Caruman Wanita Nasional workable for men)
So, if you are not in the in the above 3 categories, you are not entitled to a savings worth of RM750. Taking the calculation as good and workable budget made, you are able to save only RM180 only IF you are living in Klang Valley and goes back four times a year to the kampung in Alor Setar. I’m not sure if majority Malaysians travels 4 times a year to Alor Setar. I thought each long holiday, traffic to East Coast Peninsular Malaysia is pretty much heavy.. even heavier than those going up North.
The PR budget made of 3 main thrusts.
- THRUST 1: INCREASING DISPOSABLE INCOME, ALLEVIATING ECONOMIC HARDSHIP
- THRUST 2: BUILDING ENTERPRENEURIAL CLASS, PROMOTING CONSTRUCTIVE COMPETITION
- THRUST 3: A JUST SOCIETY WITH DIGNITY AND PRIDE
3 interesting thrust. Let’s go deep into each of it.
The establishment of National Housing Board with expanded responsibilities and scope with 100,000 affordable homes within the price range of RM130,000 to RM300,000 to be built (50,000 of such homes will be built in the inner cities of Klang Valley) do look very much catch the interest of young Malaysians. Even though PR acknowledged that Many are priced out of the market particularly in the major cities of Malaysia, i.e., Kuala Lumpur-Klang Valley, Pulau Pinang, Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, half of that 100,000 affordable houses will be in Klang Valley. Therefore, I wonder how many of the other 50,000 houses to be build in Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Will it be 12,500 in each 4 major cities mentioned?
It is also mentioned that PR will do stronger intervention than tightening credit regulations as currently adopted by Barisan Nasional. How will the real estate developers react to this? How will the suppliers to housing construction react to this? And I verily believe that this strong intervention is not on the intended 100,000 affordable house to be built by National Housing Board.
Implications of strong intervention are different from tightening credit regulations. Intervention is a force made on the market, regardless of how the market is performing. Yes, it may bring good effects rather than bad.. and it depends on how PR intend to intervene if they are the government.
They also aim to raise Income through Structural Changes in Policies, Restructuring the Labour Market. They propose to reduce the cost of living and the share of earnings captured by monopolistic and well connected corporations; and, allowing wages to rise through a combination of labour market reforms (including the implementation of the RM1,100 universal minimum wage).
However, if one read properly, PR mentioned that “the increase in household income is to be earned rather than given. Rising incomes will also lead to increased tax revenue in later years”. If one misread it, it will look like It means that for you to increase your household income, you still HAVE TO EARN it, not GIVEN and PR Government is looking forward to tax you and leads to increase in tax revenue.
PR also will address this skills mismatch by promoting re-training in relevant vocational institutions for existing graduates. It means, after long years of study and graduated, these grads will under-go another set of training to meet the market demands. This is an interesting idea, but the question remains, will the cost be absorbed by government OR the business entity who are interested to employ these re-trained grads?
I am also interested to know how it will be to paddy market price once PR abolish the BERNAS set price.
On the abolishment of PTPTN loan, nothing new in the pledge, except for it is said that “Pakatan Rakyat is confident that it can wipe out the loans for a substantial number of borrowers who meet a certain set of criteria (a combination of economic means testing based on current income, academic results and prior track records) (page 34)”. So, does it means that, as practiced by current PTPTN, those who met a set of criteria, their PTPTN loan will be waived? So.. what is the difference? What is the tolerable academic results?
Part 2 of this series will continue on the other 2 thrust, before we go for BN budget presentation.