Vote wisely for a better Malaysia, says M’sian Investors Association
JOHOR BAHARU — Malaysia is fiscally and economically healthy with very good sovereign rating of A- accorded by Standard Poor’s while many countries’ sovereign ratings went down recently, says Malaysian
Investors Association (MIA) Founder and President Datuk Dr P.H.S. Lim.
“We are the world’s top 15th largest economies as rated by the World Bank, achieving an average of 6.4 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for the 1970-2011 period. This year, we may see a 5.1 per cent GDP growth in spite of global economic weakness in Europe and other regions.
“We have an international foreign reserves of RM432 billion comprising 9.9 months of retained imports and is 4.6 times the short-term external debt, he told Bernama in an exclusive interview.
According to him, the Malaysian government intends to maintain a budget deficit of four per cent of GDP against 4.5 per cent in 2012.
In 2009, the budget deficit was 6.9 per cent due mostly to RM800 million for several stimulus plans simultaneously moved with the United States (US) to lift the depressive global economy.
The US financial crisis was due to over-financing of houses which sparked the global crisis.
With the 13th General Election (GE) confirmed for voting on 5 May, both parties, the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the PR (Pakatan Rakyat) had launched their respective manifesto recently.
To win the hearts of the voters, manifesto tends to contain many sweeteners.
Lim said the upcoming elected government to carry out the intents of the manifesto has to spend lots of money to help the lower and middle income citizens.
He said the government spends as much as RM50 billion a year in various subsidies for petrol prices to food including sugar and cooking oil besides medical subsidies.
“The next elected government may opt to give more direct cash aids to the lower income people and reduce subsidies,” he said.
With such moves, Malaysia is headed towards a socialistic government to look after the welfare of its citizens.
To reduce the national budget deficit on the one hand, and to spend more money for welfare expenditures on the other, the next government might have to resort to increasing taxes via the Goods and Services Tax (GST), within the next two years.
Such taxes initially may increase inflation but it is more broad based.
According to Lim, the government has moved towards ‘The People First’ policy.
He said it is the right move as a result of the 2008 election tsunami where the BN won only 50.3 per cent of the popular votes.
In terms of Parliament, the BN won 66 per cent (140 of the total parliamentary seats) and the opposition had 82 seats in the 2008 GE, against 90.4 per cent in the 11th GE in 2004.
BN has actually declined in popular votes and parliamentary power over these years.
The 13th GE has 13.1 million voters with 2.9 million new voters and this election is a very crucial one with many independent candidates contesting.
With cyber wars and hatred mails moving, it may turn out to be a closed result for the 222 parliamentary seats or a bigger swing for BN.
Unlike the US elections, parties fight on economic and social policies.
Although some Malaysian voters are rather emotional, many are today more affluent and better educated.
However, Lim stressed that the PR is not solidly united due to differences in ideologies, policies, power sharing and religious matters.
He said the Chinese voters may not be too happy with the Hudud law as strongly advocated by PAS.
“BN has been working very hard with the Economic Transformation Programme and People First policies.
“Malaysia has really changed and BN should be able to move “forward” as the country is blessed with rich resources.
“With good management of national wealth and income, less economic waste, less perception of corruptions, coupled with economic prosperity, peace and national harmony, Malaysia can be a model nation to the world.
“Vote wisely for a better Malaysia -– peace, stability and progress in a competitive world.
“It is a citizen’s duty to vote though voting is not compulsory in Malaysia. Love Malaysia,” he added. -BERNAMA-