Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Government has taken 5.2 million households for a very expensive ride.

BR1M; cutting our own flesh to feed ourselves

BN administration latest flagship gadget to retain power, which is estimated to cost tax payers RM2.6 billion for 2.5 million applicants, will do the country more harm than good for the country.

Instead of worshipping this as a blessing from demi-god, first and foremost, it looks like an one-off election gadget, a customary by-election sweetener ("remember Najib's 'you-help-me-I-help-you' classic in Sibu?); only on a wider scale.

In fact, the PA of Koh Tsu Koon, a minister in the prime minister department, informed one of the local Chinese dailys that only offcials from Barisan Nasional can certify applications of this BR1M forms. Any forms carrying a Pakatan representative signature will be rejected

Title of the report: Pakatan Rakyat elected representative are not empowered to certify (BR1M forms), only certifications by Barisan Nasional people's representatives are accepted as effective

If this is really a governmental initiative using tax payers' money to aid the poor, then civi service is suppose to be apolitical. The above effectively confirms this initiative as political campaigning scheme funded by misallocated public funds and misuse of public service machinery, no more, no less.

Question 1 : is this expenditure included in the 2012 budget which already carrying a bigger deficit than the Pakatan akyat's alternative budget and having a very optimistic gowth forecast when all other news around the world is doom and gloom? The potential collapse of EU monetary unionsoft landing of China'seconomy etc?

Question 2 : who is financing this handout? Tax payers, of course. Whatever that the BN administration spend, be it submarines we do not need, KLIA 2 which has huge cost overrun while KLIA is underutilised, wanton abuse of public funds highlighted by the Auditor General's report, it is our money.

Yet, it is the hallmark of Barisan Nasional to remind Malaysians to be grateful for whatever that they are enjoying now.

Why should we, when our own money is used to finance a public relationship campaign? And is BN administration going to continue with this dish out on an annual basis when there is no anticipated forthcoming election?

Treating voters like beggars is not the mark of a sucessful and responsible government. Democratically elected government should implement policies and administrative structure that help the tax payers and citizens to be financially independent and excel, not rendering them status of beggars and grateful for meagre, 1 time hand out.

Business dynamics and employment opportunities won't grow too much when too many people are kept disempowered and counted on an easy to mine voters deposit. Certainly not the way to create a high income population in our nation.
Is the RM500 a cure all for our cost of living woes, fuelled by corruption, inefficient and stifling public sector? (The drop in our ranking in recent international corruption index says it all).

RM500 would probably lasts a month or two. And to strike the iron while it is still hot, all signs of a GE to be announced within a 2 months window period once the payment mechanism are sorted out and carried out. I heard unconfirmed rumours that February has been considered as the target month for GE.

The wanton expenditure today will come back and haunt us tomorrow.

The Inland Revenue Board will be given higher collection target. Recent tax amendments (section 107C) have given the IRB wide range and undisputable power (even above the judiciary) to hit tax payers with amounts that the IRB thinks fit. Helluvaway to encourage foreign and local investment sentiment.

Come next budget, here would be some more creative measures like imposing service tax on credit cards and hike in service tax on Astro for example, converting temporary teachers' contract of service to contract for service to squeeze basic amenities from them, will be introduced.

And rest assure GST will resurface once GE is over and done with. The amount of tax recovered, while no reduction in income tax rates will make this RM500 handout looks like chicken feed.

The massive handout is a credit to Pakatan Rakyat. Following Penang's measure to eradicate hardcore poverty and Selangor's Mesra Usia Emas, Tawas & Jom Shopping schemess, BN has no choice but to match Pakatan's policies and up the stakes.

Even the forthcoming RM200 book voucher scheme was a 2009 proposal mooted in DAP's alternate 2010 budget.

Anyone remember any BN initiative that provide such open cash handouts? Maybe the road tax rebate as an appeasement in Badawi's administration. That is also a loose change from the petrol rates hike pre-GE12.

The difference between Pakatan schemes and BN schemes is that Pakatan funded their schemes from budget surpluses while BN continue to accumulate massive budget deficits and national debts - drawing out from EPF, banks and insurance companies as well as issuing international bonds.

There is nothing wrong to take back some rebates from taxes paid although the payers and the payees are probably different categories of tax payers but we do not owe any vote buyer any favour. Secrecy of our votes is stated in the election laws and you won't see this handout again until there is another need to ask for favour again.

Joy for 5.2m households

FROM today, millions of people earning less than RM3,000 a month will be able to apply for the one-off RM500 aid to ease their financial burden.

Some RM2.6 billion will be paid out from the middle of next month. It will benefit some 5.2 million households, or 79.5 per cent of households in the country.

Yesterday, people started collecting the application forms from several places here, well ahead of the official release of the forms today by the Finance Ministry.

A 57-year-old single mother here could not hold back her tears of joy when she collected the two-page form from a community service centre in Lembah Pantai.

“I really need the money to take care of my daughter and granddaughter. I cannot bear to see them suffer,” said S. Jayamary.

“Since my husband’s death, life has been difficult for us.” She was babysitting her granddaughter.

Lembah Pantai community service centre special officer Nor Asyikin Jaafar said the response had been overwhelming with more than 1,200 people taking the forms.
Others were also happy.

“All my neighbours were asking each other about this RM500 that we would get. We are so excited,” said 28-year-old unemployed Surita Mohd Isa, whose parents run a nasi lemak stall.

She said her sister was “extra happy because they can start back-to-school shopping for her children”.

Tabling the 2012 Budget, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the unprecedented one-off aid to reduce the impact of the increasing cost of living on the low-income group.

Second Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had said the forms could be collected at various government agencies, including Inland Revenue Board branches.

He said eligible households included heads of family and single parents or individuals with dependants and senior citizens living alone.

In Kedah, about 400,000 families are eligible to receive the RM500 aid.

Kedah Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum said the eligible recipients could obtain the forms for the aid at more than 40 centres, prepared by the state IRB, from today.

“Some 400,000 forms will be available at the board’s offices and several schools.

“There is no need for anyone to rush for the forms as the deadline to submit them is Jan 9 next year,” he said when contacted on the council’s preparations to identify those eligible for the aid.

Johari said the council would soon carry out registrations for those eligible for the financial assistance.

The Finance Ministry has also set up a hotline, 1-800-22-500, which is operational between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.

Kelantan Economic Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed had said two days ago that 1.3 million people, or 85 per cent of the population were eligible for the handout.

He had said the state Federal Development Department would act as the secretariat to distribute the funds.


Teachers I met told me that teaching maths in schools nowadays is their biggest headache. Students simply do not want to understand the basic nor do they bother to use common sense in their answers. I have seen some of the test papers and counted my blessing I am not a teacher.

The media has once again over-played the excitement of people getting RM500. The Government so-called aid to ease the burden of the people. I am of the opinion that at least 50% of the people applying for the money does not understand that the Government is screwing them big time.

Let me give you one example. A widow by the name of Ah Fah told me that she is happy for once the Government is thinking of the people. So I asked her about her electricity bill. Ah Fah told me that for many years her electricity bill was only RM20-RM22 per month. Since she is alone and only uses 1 light for not more than three hours a day, 1 fan for six hours and her only electrical item is her mini fridge. But then since April, three months after her electricity meter was changed she was billed RM120 per month. When she went to Selborn to complain. She was told her meter was tampered. The problem is, how could her meter be tampered when she is never home in the day and only comes home to sleep. And if it is tampered she was never fined. She has repeatedly complain to Selborn who refused to come and check her new meter and her house to determine the usage of electricity. So I pointed to Ah Fah that she now has to cough out extra RM1,200 per year for electricity. So using common sense and logic the RM500 receive from the government minus from RM1,200 there is still that dangling RM700 remaining. Which means that the Government gives out RM500 and takes extra RM700 from her. This month there is an extra 1% levy by the Energy Department added to the electricity bill and next year another 6% GST. So is the Government clever or not? Ah Fah then agreed that the Government is cunning and has taken the citizens of this country for a ride.

Yes a very expensive ride indeed!

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