Political leaders and some businessmen make light of the incoming economic crisis. In
Perhaps we have been conditioned into thinking that this is a thing that will come to pass without much pain. Accordingly , we have given ourselves discretionary powers. Such as announcing the RM7 billion stimulus package. Which will be spent in 2009. why in 2009? Why not now? I am sure our finance and treasury people, know there are such things like conception and implementation lags. Unless of course, the people think we are only going to be hit in the 2nd quarter of 2009.
I thought our system of government depends on sunlight, transparency, and public awareness. Or we wish these to happen. We came out with all those sugar coated words saying this and that. The fact it, our system of government depends on parliament exercising its constitutional duty to make laws and the government executing them. An economic crisis is no excuse for turning our back on democracy.
Are we considered old-fashioned then to believe in the democratic process? Isn’t it part of the legislative process and provided for by the laws here, that parliament is in charge of appropriating taxpayer money?. That’s why we have parliamentary budget sessions at the close of the calendar year. Its not a forum where chatterboxes and windbags come to the podium to speak, is it? If parliament explicitly decides not to appropriate it for a certain purpose, where does the government get the right to do so? By pulling the money out of another bag or the Finance minister’s pocket?
I hope the finance minister will not come out with some bunnies under his magic hat. We have already got one particular hat, that seems not to be controlled by anyone. That particular hat is called the Employee Provident Fund( EPF). We know what it does. It takes our money and invest and guarantees us a minimum return. No big deal. Pak Man Telo says can give us higher return. Well, some RM5 billion has already been committed to save one ValueCap sdn bhd. But please be aware the money in the EPF, and in places God knows where, are not slush funds. Consolidated funds belong to Parliament but slush funds are not. Therefore when we are bulldozed into accepting the application of the RM5bn of EPF money as a fait accompli and the RM7bn stimulus package without it being debated and tabled in parliament, don’t they sound more like slush funds to you?
If the money the government gets is not from parliament, then it must come from a slush fund. Then everything becomes arbitrary. The effects? We are no longer a nation of laws. We are a nation of MOF and Bank Negara and officials with billions of Ringgit of taxpayer money to dispense as they see fit. Why rescue undervalued counters and not the real economy instead? Better yet, why not give state and local governments more money, the lack of which have resulted in deteriorating public services and so forth. Or give out as helicopter money to citizens and small businesses?
The danger of not bringing the rescue plan before parliament or even committing EPF money to some businesses, is that it makes the whole affair shrouded in secrecy. No one knows exactly how or by what criteria. Did Khazanah or the government demand for example asked Valuecap to submit a business plan as did the American Congress from the big automakers in