Lim: Snap polls unlikely due to weak economy, falling revenue

lim guan engGEORGE TOWN: A weak economy and falling revenue are reasons Barisan Nasional (BN) would not dare hold any snap general election, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng said today.

Lim especially referred to estimates from economists that the country could suffer a RM17 billion loss in revenue, though he did not indicate where he sourced the figures.

The Penang chief minister said coupled with dwindling world oil prices, the situation has turned bleak for Malaysia.

“Even the introduction of GST that caused bad economic conditions, cannot replace the reduced revenue.

“Economists expect a shortfall of RM17 billion in revenue for Malaysia for this year, a huge sum by any standard.

“No wonder the Internal Revenue Department is harassing businessmen with unreasonable investigations to get more money when they should be focusing on Umno politicians who obtain huge donations in their bank accounts,” Lim said in a statement today.

Lim added the powers that be are now using extremist and racial issues to distract the masses from the serious economic problems.

“Malaysians must prove that they are not so gullible to be deceived by BN.

“We should be united against the real economic challenges facing the country… and not the imagined and false threats of non-Muslims against Islam or non-Malays against Malays,” he added.

Meanwhile, political risk news and analysis publisher Global Risk Insights (GRI) said the Malaysian economy would remain resilient, despite a boorish investment climate and the lingering political issues.

GRI reported that since investigations began into debt-ridden 1MDB, there have been signs of declining investor confidence in Malaysia’s usually robust stock market.

In May this year, Bloomberg published a report detailing the end of Malaysia’s eight-month-long bull market run, as investors hurriedly sold their stocks and sought out other Asean markets with better growth prospects.

“Yet against the backdrop of a challenging global economic outlook, and given the historical resilience of the Malaysian economy, it is important not to allow alarmism to cloud our evaluation,” the report said.

Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by four per cent in the second quarter of this year, while the first half-year GDP, from January to June, grew at 4.1 per cent.

Dr Irwan Shah Zainal Abidin, an economics lecturer in Universiti Utara Malaysia said the country’s economy was on track to achieve the GDP target of 4-4.5% this year.

“Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Muhammad Ibrahim reiterated that the Malaysian economy is on track to achieve this target and remains on a steady growth path not just for this year, but also in 2017.

“By any standard, four per cent growth rate is healthy, as it is still an above average growth level, be it globally or regionally,” Irwan had written in a letter to the editor published by The New Straits Times yesterday.