By Arnaz M Khairul
SUBANG JAYA: PKR’s parliamentary candidate for Subang has slammed the government’s financial handling as being “unsustainable”, claiming that positive reviews by ratings agencies do not give the real picture of the situation in Malaysia.
Wong Chen, seeking re-election to a second term as MP, said the economy was now being propped up by the country’s oil reserves and palm oil.
He claimed that Prime Minister Najib Razak was aware of this and “sweating blood” over the matter.
Speaking at a ceramah in Perdana Subang here last night, he said there was a need for MPs who understood such issues, as well as “scandals” related to 1MDB and Felda.
“The only reason why rating agencies like Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch do not downgrade us from A- to B+, which is a big difference of two percentage points, is because we have oil,” he claimed.
“We have Petronas which pumps out RM70-80 billion a year in revenue. And the other one is palm oil, which gives us RM80 billion in exports a year.
He said palm oil exports were under threat from environmental issues, while the price of crude oil which was US$120 per barrel in the pre-2008 period was now just above US$50.
Wong said it was clear to all, including the government, that the fiscal budget was a cause for alarm. “The financial system, the fiscal budget are unsustainable. They know it, we know it. Even the ratings agencies know it.
“I see them every time they come to KL. They meet the ministers, they meet the opposition and we sit down for a few hours to talk about the economy,” he said.
He also criticised the implementation of the 6% goods and services tax (GST) in April 2015, saying that poor people who were not previously taxed had been been forced to pay GST.
“The government collects RM42 billion in GST a year. There are roughly 30 million Malaysians. It’s roughly RM1,200 per person, no matter if you are a baby, a grandmother or a 40-year old worker,” he said.
He said Barisan Nasional’s promise to increase the BR1M aid payments would do little to cushion the hardships faced by the lower income group.