PETALING JAYA: By increasing BR1M to RM1,200 for those in the e-Kasih RM3,000 and below category, the prime minister has signalled the possibility of an early general election, a longtime Borneo rights advocate said.
Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also Bingkor Assemblyman and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) President, also cited various other goodies in Budget 2017 as proof of early elections.
“This is nothing more than an election budged designed to buy voters at the expense of their future,” he said. “It’s also at the expense of other sectors of the economy and Sabah and Sarawak.”
Among election sweeteners, Jeffrey cited higher allowances and bonuses for civil servants and higher limits for housing, motorcycle, smartphone and other loans promised under Budget 2017.
He said the money spent on BR1M for 2017 could have been reduced, or the programme stopped, and the money spent on education instead.
“The Federal Government is forgetting that providing education is a social responsibility for every government in the world,” he said in a statement. “In Germany, the government provides free education up to university-level. “
He said there was almost nothing for Sabah and Sarawak in Budget 2017.
The youths, civil servants and others needed to be aware that goodies such as increased motorcycle and smartphone loans were actually debt-causing and required repayments, the Sabah lawmaker noted.
“They are not like the RM2.6 billion and other donations,” he said alluding to the money Prime Minister Najib Razak is said to have received from Saudi royals.
Even the higher BR1M payments and bonuses were debt-causing for the country and were not paid out from any excess income of the nation, he said.
They increased the debt of the nation and, in the end, said Jeffrey, it is the people who would have to pay the national debt.
He warned that when the country was unable to service the national debt, the Goods and Services Tax would be increased from the current 6 per cent.
“What the prime minister gives through the increased BR1M payments will eventually be collected back from the people through higher GST,” he argued. “There are also leakages in the economy as a result of corruption.”
“This would have to be covered by the people.”