Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Rafizi: Easy to be BN analyst, just yell 'bankrupt!'
"It is very easy to be an economic adviser to the BN now. Even a Year Five child can do it... there is only one analysis.
"The diagnosis and answer to any economic policy is ‘bankrupt!' It is to the point that even before we open our mouths, the BN will shout ‘bankrupt'!" Rafizi told a Pakatan Rakyat budget forum organised by Roketkini in Kuala Lumpur last night.
Rebuking the bankruptcy claims, Rafizi said the amount of revenue or spending should not be seen as the main focus of Pakatan's shadow budget, but rather spending efficiency should take centre stage.
An example of this concept, Rafizi said, was found in the Auditor-General's Report 2011 that showed Pakatan states earning less revenue than some BN states could still spend efficiently and accumulate a large reserve.
"Look at Selangor for example. For 2011, its revenue was only RM1.6 billion for a state of five million people but the accumulative surplus was already RM1.9 billion.
"Comparing Terengganu, which has a much higher revenue than Selangor, at RM2.3 billion because of oil and a population of just one million, its accumulative debt is RM233 million.
"For one million people Terengganu spends RM2 billion every year. In Selangor, for five million people, we only spend RM1.4 billion," he said.
'Petronas will not be drained dry'
Rafizi gave his assurance that if Pakatan took Putrajaya, it would not be use Petronas as a cash cow for its policies. The coalition will put in law a cap on the amount of money the government could take from Petronas if it came into power.
"Or else the prime minister can, any day, call up the president of Petronas and complain that the country has no money, and then winks at him.
"Then Petronas' president will be scratching his head as the government is hinting that it wants money," he said.
Rafizi, a former Petronas officer, said the company must remain cash rich in order to compete with other global oil and gas giants.
"I was with Petronas since I was 17 years old and was with it for almost 15 years, if there is anyone who will defend Petronas from abuse, not only from BN but also from Pakatan Rakyat, it will be me," he said.
Other than bankruptcy charges, Rafizi said, the BN had not challenged Pakatan's budget on specifics.
One example was the plan to slash the excise on cars, which cost RM2 billion a year, by 20 percent.
Contrary to BN's accusations that the move would cause bankruptcy, it would see households stimulating the economy by spending their extra disposable income gained from the move.
'Subtle taxing of smokers'
He also shot down claims that cheaper cars would mean increased petrol consumption and therefore a higher petrol subsidy cost, pointing out that many cars on the road were old and fuel inefficient as people could not afford an upgrade to better, fuel efficient vehicles.
"The fuel subsidy for older cars is more expensive because they are less fuel efficient and guzzle more fuel," he said.
Rafizi also joked that many people have asked him to spearhead a "reduce cigarette price" campaign like he did with cars but added: "We are not going to do this."
However, weighing in the mandated cigarette price hike by British American Tobacco Malaysia, Rafizi said this was a strategy for the income-desperate government to increase its revenue without incurring the wrath of smokers.
"If they announced a duty increase (in the budget), people will be angry, smokers of Malaysia will gang up. So they forced the company to increase the cigarette price, when prices go up, the duty also goes up," he said.
Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud and Klang MP Charles Santiago also spoke at the forum, titled "How Pakatan will spend the rakyat's money", which was moderated by DAP election strategist Ong Kian Ming.