Press Statement by Pakatan Harapan after consultative meeting with Finance Minister, Tengku Zafrul on 1 November 2020
Pakatan Harapan has concluded our first engagement with the Minister of Finance YB Senator Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz to discuss the 2021 Budget.
Pakatan Harapan views the budget as the paramount Parliamentary duty of all MPs, not only to ensure that the civil service has full resources to effectively combat Covid-19 but also as an opportunity to safeguard democracy and move Malaysia towards a more sustainable and equitable economy.
In the current COVID-19 environment, the Malaysian economy is in crisis threatening the existence of small businesses, jobs, livelihood and financial security of Malaysians. It is imperative that both the government and opposition come together to craft a Unity Budget that works for the people to help Malaysians overcome and survive the current COVID-19 recession.
The 2021 Unity Budget must focus on meeting the financial needs of ordinary Malaysians, creating and preserving jobs, ensuring the survivability of corporations and protecting their economic livelihood. In essence, we urged the government to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy with the main objective of easing the cash flow challenges of the people and corporations.
In the meeting, we posed many questions and requested the minister to disclose and share important fiscal data. We also suggested and explained a plethora of our budget ideas and policies.
Of all the ideas proposed, we wish to now highlight the following six key recommendations to the Minister for the Unity Budget 2021;
1. Increase health ministry resources for Covid-19 and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
• Diverse candidate vaccine acquisition and deployment to the mist at risk population,
• Compensating front liners fairly and absorbing current contract officers into permanent posts
• Increase number of temporary healthcare workers including nurses, sanitising staff & contact tracers
• Special allocation to tackle COVID crisis in Sabah
2. Expand social protection, safety net and welfare payments for the vulnerable and unemployed by increasing monthly welfare aid to RM1000 as promised by the Prime Minister until end of COVID crisis
• Increase E-Kasih and Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) registrations
• Increase funds for addressing the problems of domestic abuse, mental health issues, elderly mistreatment and poor child nutrition
3. Loan moratorium extension till 31st March 2021
4. Wage subsidy to be continued till 31st March 2021 and create 600,000 jobs as per Malaysia@Work scheme offering incentives over 2 years for employers and employees costing RM13 billion
• Focus on creating green jobs and green infrastructure (“Build Back Better”)
• Carrot & stick approach for sectors which are doing well e.g. glove and medical devices sectors to increase the number of local workers
5. Increase in education spending to ensure education continuity
• Improving / Increase resources for online delivery of classes
• A curriculum depository system for students to learn from home
• Increasing number of support teachers and classrooms to meet social distancing requirements in school
6. Development expenditure on two (2) key projects, namely, the National Fiberisation Connectivity Plan (NFCP) and upgrading water infrastructure for Selangor, Kelantan and Pahang
We hope that these recommendations will be accepted and incorporated into the Unity Budget 2021. We await the next steps and responses from the government in this consultative process.
This Unity Budget is crucial in upholding the royal decree rejecting an emergency proclamation for the country and avoid snap general elections which will only worsen the current 3rd wave of COVID-19 infections.
On the good advice of the Yang-di Pertuan Agong, we wish to stress that this consultative process is done in the spirit of good faith. PH is committed in working with all parties to combat Covid-19 to save the rakyat and our economy. However, PH reiterates that this consultative process does not imply any PH support or acceptance of the present Federal government but to work together for a Unity Budget that benefits both the nation, our national economy and the rakyat.
YB Haji Mohamad Sabu,
President, Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH)
YB Lim Guan Eng,
Secretary General, Democratic Action Party (DAP)
YB Dato’ Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail,
Secretary General, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (KEADILAN)