PKR Perth Lecture Tour

I am at KLIA 2 on the way to Perth for 5 days. Parliament is closed from tomorrow for 10 days. I will be attending a PKR event to meet Malaysians studying and residing there. I am also taking the opportunity to have some rest, catch up with relatives and friends living in Perth.

If you have friends in Perth do let them know that we will be having a forum on Monday night 7pm at Collins Street Centre, South Perth.

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Lastly, I will not likely be posting much the next 5 to 6 days. So here is an advance Happy Deepavali and Happy Awal Muharram to all!

 

Bar Council Anti-Sedition March

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Bersih and lawyers will carried out their anti-sedition march to Parliament from Padang Merbok. Pakatan Rakyat MPs were on standby to receive them at the Parliament gate to sign in the leaders of the march.

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Supporters with YB Sim, YB Gooi, YB Darell Leiking, Akmal and myself

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The Bar Council representatives officially handed over the memorandum to Minister Mah, the minister without portfolio in the PM Department. Nice words were exchanged and Minister spoke for a minute and then said he will not join the press conference. Group photos taken.

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Selangor Select Committee on Deceptive Land Transfers and Re-zoning

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The Sun, 16 October 2014

 

Good news this morning for my constituents especially those living near the PKNS field. My friend Esham, a vocal resident and critic on the matter, should be pleased.

The Sun newspaper this morning reports that a powerful select committee on local councils will grill and expose deceptive land transfer and rezoning activities. The PKNS field fraudulent rezoning matter is widely reported and known, but the previous MB failed to take any actions on the matter in 6 years.

I congratulate the new MB Azmin Ali for standing up for truth and justice and I want the culprits involved in this fraud to be punished severely.

To safeguard the overall reputation of the civil service, it is time that we discipline the errant and corrupt civil servants at the very top.

In my one and a half years as MP, I find most lower ranking civil servants to be honest but I get a lot of complaints from them of funny dealings at the top. But back then the “best ever” MB Khalid had decided to support the civil servants and not allow politicians to “interfere”. As a result, the civil servants only report to him and if you demand action, they just laughed and ignored you.

In particular, I am extremely sore over the lift repairs in low cost flats in Desa Mentari which repair costs are RM120,000 to RM150,000 each lift! And it took them 4 months to approve the repairs. Last year, a simple cement walking track was also built in a common field and I was told it cost RM200,000. When I met local contractors they tell me they could do it for RM80,000.

The next thing MB Azmin Ali needs to do is to roll out a robust procurement policy for Selangor.

The Sun, 16 October 2014

The Sun, 16 October 2014

In the same Sun newspaper today, it is reported that the MACC is now investigating MB Azmin over his position in PKNS. Tit for tat? I think the federal government must be sweating bullets on how MB Azmin Ali has taken on his new job with vigour, Jokowi style.

Press Conference: Bad Governance Causes Capital Flight, Not CGT

YB Rafizi and I gave a press conference at 11 am this morning in Parliament. We took on the PM’s allegations that we will cause capital flight and crash the stock market.

Here is a video of Rafizi and my press conference today in Parliament.

And here is the writeup.

Below is our press statement:

Bad Governance causes Capital Flight Not CGT

Yesterday, PM and Finance Minister Najib alleged that our tax policy on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on shares if implemented will cause capital flight and send the stock market crashing.

1. I want to thank the PM for paying attention to the Pakatan Rakyat Budget. It is important that he reads our Budget because we have a lot of suggestions to him on how to improve governance, in particular cutting our corruption and implementing greater transparency and accountability.

2. While it is important that the PM reads the Pakatan Rakyat Budget, my advice is that he reads it carefully and fully. We are against GST. So in our Pakatan Rakyat Budget we proposed CGT in lieu or GST. In other words, the CGT we proposed is not an additional tax, but as an alternative to the GST.

3. CGT is a tax on profits that people make when they buy and sell shares. If you lose money there is not tax. It is a tax on the few who can afford to buy shares and only when they make profits. In comparison, GST is a tax on everyone not just people who buy shares. As such GST is a regressive tax and CGT is a progressive tax.

4. “CGT is levied on profits on financial assets such shares and bonds. According to the latest statistics by Muhammad Abdul Khalid in his book “The Colour of Inequality: Ethnicity, Class, Income and Wealth in Malaysia”, the breakdown of financial assets’ ownership in Malaysia in 2014 is as follows:

  • More than 54% of Malaysians do not have any financial assets The top 10% richest Malaysians control more than 77% of financial assets
  • We estimate that going by this statistics, only 15% of Malaysians will be subjected to CGT and they are the richest of Malaysians.

It is morally right to tax these 15% rich Malaysians first compared to taxing every Malaysian (most of them poor) through GST”

5. On the allegation that capital flight will happen when CGT is applied, this is an unfounded and silly view. CGT is recognised globally and is implemented in many countries. The United States, Germany Japan, UK and Australia have CGT, we don’t see capital flights in these countries. Malaysia has no CGT but we have massive capital flights. I would like to remind the PM that the main causes of capital flights are bad governance, corruption, poor democracy and political extremism, all of which, unfortunately in Malaysia we have in abundance.

6. Introducing CGT in fact will be good for the stock market as it will curb unbridled speculation. The less volatile the stock market, the better the governance and accountability of our Bursa listed companies. We can also tweak the CGT tax structure with CGT discounts to encourage people to own shares and hold it for longer periods of more than one year.

7. Lastly, I repeat the call of PM to relinquish his post as Finance Minister. He is obviously over worked with so much budget to handle in both the PM Department (RM22 billion) and Finance Ministry (RM40 billion) and in this case regarding CGT he should listen to the Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan who on Tuesday 7th October has said in Parliament that he will give good consideration to CGT.

13th October 2014 Wong Chen, MP Kelana Jaya and Rafizi Ramli, MP Pandan

Pakatan Rakyat Budget Forum

I am going to HQ now to help finalise Anwar’s budget reply speech. This is my fifth year helping out and every year we learn a thing or two from the boss at such meetings. After all, he was finance minister in the 1990s. What we have in policy ideas, he leads and guides us with experience and practicality.

This is to inform all that on Tuesday, 14th Oct 8.30pm at Empire Hotel Subang Jaya, Rafizi, Dr Dzul, Dr Ong Kian Ming and I will be conducting a budget forum. It is open to the public on a first come first served basis. See you there!

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Najib Tables 2015 Budget

My first thoughts on the Najib administration’s 2015 Budget:

1. Prime Minister Najib has done it again. For his office operating expenses he has given himself RM9 billion and for development expenditure RM13 billion, totalling a whopping RM22 billion. As a comparison the army that has jets and ships and tanks has a mere RM17 billion budget. The Health department with doctors, nurses and hospitals has RM24 billion. The home office has RM13 billion.

This year’s budget is RM274 billion. That means the PM controls about 8% of the national budget and his office does not do anything in particular. It does not run hospitals or schools. It does not run the police or army. So why the massive budget?

 

2. The PM gave us a “magic” calculation on GST. He said GST next year will collect RM23.3 billion next year. So we have to deduct the cancellation of SST by RM 13.8 billion. So far ok. Logical.

Then he said there is a savings of RM3.8 billion of exempted GST goods. So he says we have to deduct that too. Eerrr…….can do math like that one meh? Then he says he will give back to the rakyat through BR1M in the sum of RM4.9 billion. So he says must also deduct RM4.9 billion too. That’s just plain wrong because he paid out RM4 billion last year, so the actual deduction should be 0.9 billion only.

Therefore based on his magic calculations, GST will only costs the people RM700 million in extra tax burden on the rakyat. That is just misleading.

According to my math GST next year will cost all of us RM8.5 billion of extra taxes. That means every single Malaysian will pay a net extra tax of RM283 to the government next year.

 

And two other minor observations:

1. Najib is wearing Pakatan Rakyat orange colour.

2. He has a high tech teleprompter.

 

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Pakatan Budget Launch

The budget launch was a success. It is good to see Pakatan Rakyat MPs united again after the last few months of disagreements. My office staff and interns worked hard up to 2.30pm, tidying up texts and photocopying some 80 copies of the Budget for the media and MPs. Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim was in good form as he explained the budget to the press and then Raf, Kian Ming, Dr Dzul and I took over to answer details of the Budget.

You can read more about the launch here.

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With Dr Dzul, Ong Kian Ming and Rafizi

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With Pakatan Rakyat leaders launching the Shadow Budget 2015

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Taking questions from the media