Saturday, October 22, 2016

Budget 2017: when the opposition missed the forest for the trees

Salleh Said Keruak

Instead of trying to give excuses as to why the walkout and demonstration yesterday was justified, the opposition should instead focus on details of the budget to debate. Actually, even if you want to oppose parts of Budget 2017 just for the sake of opposing, which is what the opposition always seems to do, there are many good parts in that budget and we must commend Najib for his work and effort at achieving a fair and balance budget.

For example, the fiscal deficit target of 3% of GDP is better than that of the US, UK and Japan. Yet the opposition says the budget is not realistic and that Malaysia does not have the money to make Budget 2017 happen. 

Malaysia’s targeted GDP growth of 4%-5% is better than UK, US, Germany and Japan. And this is going to be achieved against the backdrop of a drop of about RM30 billion in oil revenue. And the opposition is making it appear like the drop in oil revenue is the fault of the Prime Minister.

The opposition walkout was planned to make Budget 2017 look bad. But have you noticed that they avoid talking about the details of the budget? They just generalise and talk as if the budget is absolutely hopeless and does not even need discussing. The opposition is doing a great disservice to the voters who sent them to Parliament. And the protest was planned and not spontaneous like the opposition claims because they came prepared with placards.

Why must everything be turned into a circus?

Salleh Said Keruak

The presentation of the annual budget in Parliament is serious business. This is the opportunity for the opposition MPs to participate in the Budget and present their ideas to Parliament if they feel they have any.

It is bad enough that the opposition does not have a shadow cabinet and shadow Finance Minister. Now the opposition wants to treat Parliament like a circus.

Instead of seeing how they can contribute some ideas, the opposition walked out of Parliament and held a demonstration.

The level of maturity of the opposition MPs has sunk to an all-time low. Must everything be turned into a protest demonstration?

Instead of walking out halfway through the budget presentation they should at least wait till it is over and debate the budget first.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The opposition needs to get its act together first

Salleh Said Keruak

Today, Muhyiddin Yassin said the opposition would be able to take over Johor if it wins just 10 more seats in the next general election. Johor has 56 state seats in total out of which Barisan Nasional currently controls 37 and the opposition 19. Ten more seats will give the opposition a two-seat majority in the Johor State Assembly.

This is called counting your chickens before they hatch. First of all Muhyiddin needs to convince the voters that it has something better to offer them compared to the current government. At the moment it appears like PPBM is merely a party set up to oust Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak just like PKR is a party to free Anwar Ibrahim from jail.

Pakatan Harapan has not even decided yet whether to admit PPBM into the opposition coalition or whether PPBM is merely going to enter into an electoral pact on seat distribution. This must first be established because if they cannot agree even before the elections how are they going to agree after the election in the event they do win Johor?

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said they do not need to reveal the opposition’s candidate for Prime Minister just yet and neither do they need to set up a Shadow Cabinet. Pakatan Harapan wants Anwar as the Prime Minister. Does this mean Mahathir does not want Anwar? In that case whom does Mahathir want?

Mahathir said in London recently that he wants Muhyiddin as the opposition candidate for Prime Minister and today he says no need to decide yet. Is this because PPBM and Pakatan Harapan do not disagree on the candidate? And we know that PAS cannot agree to both Anwar and Muhyiddin. So who will PAS choose as Prime Minister?

To the voters, these are more important issues to resolve instead of counting the number of seats you are going to win while not knowing what you will do if you do win. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

People remember what you say

Salleh Said Keruak

The trouble with the Internet age or the era of the social media is that people remember what you said even decades ago -- and even if they cannot remember they can always research and find out. So you must not only be careful with what you say but you must also remember what you have said in the past. US Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has found this out the hard way and has now had to apologise for what he said in the past and which is now hurting his campaign.

Muhyiddin Yassin is going to find out that what he said in the past and what he says now is going to be picked up and the contradictions between ‘then and now’ are going to be very glaring. If Muhyiddin thinks people are going to forget what he said before and the contradictions to what he says now then he is grossly mistaken.

Of course, people will understand that what Muhyiddin said before was as an Umno leader while what he says now is as an enemy of Umno. For example, in just a few months, Mukhriz Mahathir has changed his tune from saying that whatever he is trying to do is for the love or Umno and today he says whatever he is trying to do is to make sure that Umno is buried for good.

No doubt Mukhriz is trying to justify his actions like what the Malays would say: menegakkan benang basah. But then if Mukhriz had not been sacked from Umno would he have changed his tune? So this means it has nothing to do with party loyalty but just about personal interests.

Muhyiddin, too, is more concerned with his own political needs than about the country. In the past he said he is Malay first and everything else second. Now he says that PAS should work with DAP to help destroy Umno. Muhyiddin also says that without the help of DAP, PAS would not win many seats.

How can Muhyiddin expect PAS and DAP to sleep in the same bed again when the issue that caused the divorce in the first place is still outstanding? Is Muhyiddin saying that PAS should drop the Syariah Courts Act amendment bill or is he saying that DAP should accept the Bill? It has to be one or the other for PAS and DAP to get back together