Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Pakatan's report card misleading, says BN

Two BN leaders have rebutted the report card released by four Pakatan states on Monday - they described it as manipulating the data to hoodwink voters.

According to them, the welfare policies introduced by Pakatan state governments do not serve the purpose of eradicating poverty and assisting the needy.

In the report card released in conjunction with the second anniversary of the March 8 general election, Pakatan leaders had claimed a more impressive performance in their states, compared to those ruled by BN.

The highlights:
  • Selangor attracted total investments of RM6.76 billion last year and created 20,753 job opportunities. It also emerged as the state with the biggest number of approved industrial projects at 278. The crime rate of 5.3 percent showed a drop of 3,365 cases compared to 2008.

  • Penang had recorded a surplus budget of RM88 million last year, against the deficit budget of RM35 million the year before. It also eradicated hardcore poverty for the first time in the state.

  • Kedah obtained foreign direct investments of RM559.8 million and local investments amounting to RM279.4 million. The state generated RM16.7 million without imposing additional taxes, compared the Umno government's RM3-4 million previously.

  • Kelantan built a satellite commercial hub in Bandar Baru Tanjung, and implemented welfare projects such as the Kifalah project for the poor, and for single mothers and the disabled.

BN perspective

However, former Penang executive councillor Dr Teng Hock Nam said the Penang government's data "only hoodwinks people who don't understand (how the system works)".

He explained that government is not a corporation with the ultimate objective of turning in a profit.

penang gerakan pc 141008 teng hock nam"If the government suffers a loss and there is a deficit budget, it is not necessarily a bad thing. This is because it is not a corporation," he said when contacted yesterday.

The Penang Gerakan chief pointed out that a surplus budget may be due to the government's inability to spend the money on development projects, or because it had not done a good job in estimating the budget at the planning stage.

"This has nothing to do with (better performance of) the Penang economy. In fact, during an economic recession, the government usually needs to spend more money because the private sector has limited funds,” he said.

Former Selangor executive councillor Chng Toh Eng viewed the report card as self-praise “which is no praise at all”.

chng toh eng"(The Pakatan governments have) only shown the surface (of the data)," he said in a phone interview.

He claimed that there has been lack of coordination among the Selangor government and the Pakatan elected representatives and local councillors in the state.

"From what I understand, investors are reluctant to come in due to this problem," he said.

Without going into details, Chng alleged that Pakatan parliamentarian and local councillors are not in agreement with some decisions of the state exco.

'Fiddling with figures'

On the welfare policies introduced by the Pakatan state governments, Teng commented these are nothing more than a populist approach to garner political support.

He said the Penang government's RM100 aid to all senior citizens in the state, irrespective of economic background, will not assist the needy.

"I'm not against distributing money to the poor but, when you give to all, people who don't need the money may use it to buy lottery or cigarettes.

"If the government is sincere in helping needy senior citizens, they should use the money to implement (relevant) programmes.”

internet media and print mediaTeng cited such examples as building old folks' homes and teaching senior citizens to communicate via the Internet with their children who reside outside Penang.

He further questioned the Penang government's claim that it has eradicated hardcore poor, alleging that it gives financial aid to poor families in order to boost their monthly income to RM500.

(Those who earn less than RM500 a month are defined as hardcore poor, based on the national means test.)

"So if a family earns RM200 a month, the state government will top this up with RM300 to bring the total to RM500. How can the chief minister do such things (and claim to have) eradicated hardcore poverty?"

Chng agreed with Teng's views. He noted that, while the Selangor government has increased its welfare allocation significantly, it means that funds for other sectors have been reduced.

water paips"For example, take the 'free water' policy for the first 20 cubic metres used.

"Whether you earn RM500 or RM100,000 a month, all households enjoy the benefit.

“However, the state government has to fork out RM300 million annually to pay for the 'free' water (on behalf of consumers)," he added.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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