Merdeka Day Over, Malaysia Day Near, So is Budget 2013 and GE13

Merdeka Day is over. Janji Demokrasi made a grand yellow impact at Dataran Merdeka. Malaysia Day (16 Sept) is coming and this will include Sabah and Sarawak. And so is Budget 2013 (28 Sept). As for GE13, we will never know.

We are certain that as long as GE13 does not happen, PM Najib will never focus on doing the right thing for our country. He must continue to do the things that makes voters “feel good” with extraordinary spending for the individuals and little to handle the fiscal side of the economy.

Today, we again have another warning from an international body warning us that our credit rating is in danger of being downgraded because of a lack of fiscal reforms. Najib’s GTP and ABC is not working and statistics appear to tell a different story than what is experienced in reality. Read this to see if we have a reason to worry.

Malaysia’s sovereign credit rating may be cut if the government does not deliver promised reforms to cut spending to reduce its fiscal deficits, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has said in its latest report on the country, joining other global ratings agencies in warnings about the strains on the country’s credit profile (read here).

As long as the GE13 does not take place, we cannot expect any strategic, effective and tough actions on our economy to shape it up as many of these important actions will not be easy for people to accept but is most necessary to improve our situation. We have been going downhill for over a decade and now at a very critical point where our Government muust act. Instead, politics get in the way and Najib cannot afford to lose the 2/3 majority. Hence, everything that the BN Government is doing is for winning the GE13.

Watch out for 28 September when Najib will table the 2013 Budget. We can expect a few key observations.

1.  Expect more out-of-budget spending even after the Budget is approved

As we have seen, Najib started spending out-of-budget within a month after the 2012 Budget was tabled. His Textbooks Vouchers to school children and higher education studennts were not part of the 2012 Budget but he started spending in 2011 anyway. Then came the BR1M and the Tyres for Taxi Owners where every one of these schemes had serious abuse. Chiefly, people traded these vouchers for cash at a lesser value. The original intent was mostly avoided.

Learning from public complaints on how these schemes were acted out of the Budget, Najib will table BR1M version 2 as part of the 2013 Budget. However, we can expect Najib to introduce more of his “make voters feel good” schemes out-of-budget because it will be drreamed up along the way.

2.  The Auditor General’s 2012 Report will not overshadow the Budget

On the same day when Najib is going to table his 2013 Budget, the AG’s 2012 Report will be released. Remember that it was not released as traditionally on the Budget Day, that will not happen again. The AG 2012 Report is ready for release since it has been approved by all parties including the Agung. This report will be released on Budget Day.

Remember the NFC Fiasco that the Opposition picked up from the 2011 AG Report, the one that got Shahrizat’s senatorship not renewed? Well, what do you think will show up in the 2012 AG Report this time?

You can almost be sure that the language used is sugarcoated to avoid the BN Government getting further embarassment by incompetent and unabated abuse of governance. NFC should still be there. Maybe more GLCs will get the limelight. The Public expects the Govenment administration to be accountable, not impeccable. At least make the effort to improve and cutdown corruptible abuse.

The sugarcoated AG Report will not overshadow the 2013 Budget and Najib will make sure of that.

Perhaps this time round, we can see more powers given to the Auditor General beyond mere reporting but skeptics feel that going by the MACC track record, the AG may be no different. But we shall await the progress.

3.  Election Budget expected

The 2013 Budget has been previewed by many people including Tun M as a people’s budget. It will contain lots of goodies for Malaysians to help cushion the immense economic pressures. In short, an Election Budget.

This is not going to improve our fiscal position. Introduction of GST and removal of all the petrol subsidies will not go down well with voters at this time while they are crucial to lift the economy. Critics also feel that leakages must be plugged before burdening the people which amounts to the subsidies. Why should the people suffer while improper financial management persists.

What’s Next?

The coming weeks will be interesting. GE13 will not happen although some believe that Najib will do a Tun M gig by dissolving Parliament after he tables the 2013 Budget. Let’s see how that pans out but odds are no GE13 because something will happen to scare Najib off to delay the polls yet again.


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