KUALA LUMPUR: DAP lawmaker Tony Pua has stressed that the 2017 Budget must be reflective of the actual economic situation in the country.
Speaking during the #bajetkaya forum at Invoke space, Pua explained that the previous national budgets didn’t fully reflect the actual financial position the country was in.
“Every year, (Prime Minister) Najib Razak says that the national deficit has been consistently reduced.
“But, it’s utter nonsense because the budget presented does not include at least 30 per cent of the government expenditure.”
As an example, Pua claimed that the actual construction cost of the ongoing Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project was not included in the national budget from a financial perspective.
“Also, the MRT project isn’t fully paid yet. And then recently, there were two more contracts which were awarded. These are not small projects.
“The new MRT project is expected to cost anything from RM22-RM30 billion, which is set to be completed over the next few years.”
He alleged that the reason why the MRT construction cost was not included in the budget was so that the government could achieve its target of a lower deficit.
“Its very simple. If I were to put the MRT in the budget, I will never achieve the three per cent deficit.
“In fact I believe that it will be closer to a seven per cent deficit if it is included in the budget.”
Pua claimed that this was to give a perspective to the people that the government’s economic situation was still healthy and prudent and, therefore, the people would have more confidence in the economy.
“You cannot solve the country’s economic problems when you don’t have the right data in front of you.
“I would really like to see the 2017 Budget reflect the true financial position of the government rather than a manipulated one to give a false perception to the people.”