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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pakatan Harapan’s poisoned cup  


Salleh Said Keruak

Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto has been dressed up to appear like they are giving Malaysians milk and honey if they win the upcoming general election. However, in reality, they are giving us a poisoned cup to drink from. This is a case of short-term gain for long-term misery. As they say in America, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone, somewhere, has to pay for it. And Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto means future generations have to pay for the folly of the current generation.

Just look at the promises Pakatan Harapan makes in what they are going to do in the first 100 days if they come to power. They are going to abolish the GST and reintroduce the SST when all over the world countries that do not yet have GST are introducing it. But they do not explain how much they will earn to replace the RM40 billion that will be lost once the GST is abolished. Where is the alternative revenue that will be needed to pay for goods and services and to develop the country going to come from? How much will the SST bring in? Abolishing the GST is not an issue. The issue is there is no explanation on the SST, which used to be higher than the GST.

The second promise on the list is to stabilise the price of petrol and reintroduce subsidies for petrol. Oil prices are subject to global fluctuations and all sorts of external events beyond Malaysia’s control influence this: such as supply and demand, production surpluses or shortages, wars, etc. Commodity prices cannot be controlled and once before when Malaysia tried to control the tin market it ended up in a disaster that is still being felt until today. On the one hand Pakatan Harapan attacks subsidies while on the other hand they want subsidies for petrol. Most economist would disagree that subsidies for petrol is a good thing.

Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto is merely aimed at making the voters feel good. It is just like when they said in 2008 they will abolish highway tolls but after ten years in power they have still not abolished toll charges for highways in Selangor. Abolishing toll charges for highways means the Selangor State Government will need to pay billions in compensation to the concessionaires every year and that is economically not possible.

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