YB Wong Chen
Money Makes the World Go Round?
In this posting, I want to talk about money. Specifically, the UMNO BN government seems to be desperately running out of money. In what can be described as an unusual Parliament sitting with UMNO BN and PAS working together on 355, the real story, at least to me, is the passing of three laws that have financial implications to the country. The Strategic Trade bill, the Self Employed bill and the Tourism Tax bill are actually connected by one overriding pattern, the government avid need to raise more taxes and revenue.
The tourism tax is pretty straightforward, the UMNO BN government in the very near future (2 months time) wants to tax about RM700 million to RM900 million from visitors. This tax may go up from time to time.
The Self Employed bill is much more sneaky. It purports to “help” taxi, uber and grab drivers by proposing a mandatory EPF type scheme. The only difference is only the self employed person pays to EPF, the government will not contribute a sen. EPF only works because employers have to contribute to the benefit of employees. Self employed are left to fend for themselves and as such this bill is in fact a tax on the poor who are self employed. This Trojan Horse bill will eventually be expanded to all self employed sole proprietors. Piano teachers, nasi lemak sellers to insurance salesmen will all have to “save” with EPF. The UMNO BN governnment will then tap into these forced contributions and use these money to buy government bonds so that Najib can continue to spend our money. The government provided no figures how much will be raised but it could amount to billions when fully implemented.
The Strategic Trade bill is even more sneaky and downright bizarre. The government now has the ability to compound (slapping a fine instead of jail term) culprits who are involved in illegal arms trade instead of prosecuting them through a court process. The government lamented that they know the illegal trade happens, but have not been able to penalise culprits through court actions, fast enough. Apparently the government believes that slapping compounds on these illegal arms trade will be more efficient at raising government revenue. The fundamental problem is trading in weapons of mass destruction is not in the same minor league of speeding offences! Compounding this trade is as good as giving consent to illegal arms trade. Just how desperate is UMNO BN to raise revenue? It makes you wonder just how bad the UMNO BN government’s fiscal position truly is.