2019 DAP New Year Message By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 01.01.2019
As 2018 draws to a close, Malaysians have much to celebrate for making a once in a lifetime change of government for the first time in 61 years. Whilst endemic corruption and abuse of power were amongst the causes for the stunning victory of the opposition PH coalition on 9 May 2018, the real reason is still the economic hardships suffered by the people caused by failed policies, crony capitalism and of course the infamous 1MDB financial scandals.
The new PH government under the firm and reform-minded leadership of the oldest Prime Minister in the world, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has notched up some clear successes. Malaysia liberated itself from being the symbol of global kleptocracy by seeking full accountability for the 1MDB scandal, pursuing the return of stolen monies and prosecuting those responsible. The GST was replaced by the SST, as well as RM19.4 billion in unpaid GST refunds will finally be returned to taxpayers in 2019, after a 2 years delay when the previous government refused to pay back the money.
Despite the funds shortfall resulting from the removal of the GST, and financial damage caused by the 1MDB scandal and its RM1 trillion debt, which included paying RM8.3 billion or 88% of the work value of a pipeline project that is only 10% completed, the PH government still managed to continue its welfare assistance programme to those in need. Petrol prices and highway toll hikes were frozen and not allowed to increase. For the first time, government civil servants got their special year end payments in the same year, and not the following year.
Through clean administration and CAT governance of competency accountability and transparency, the PH government managed to find extra savings of RM1.6 billion at the end of the year, which has been disbursed and shared with civil servants, rubber tappers and small-holders, FELDA settlers and parents earning less than RM3,000/-. More importantly the B40 group will for the first time in history, enjoy free health insurance protection in the form of a one-off payout of RM8,000 spread over a yet to be determined time frame, and yearly 14-day hospitalisation income of RM50 per day or RM700 annually.
Malaysia will require 3 years to restore our fiscal health and take our place as the most promising emerging economy to achieve high-income status. Already Bloomberg has placed Malaysia as No.1 amongst the top 20 emerging economies in the world. Despite having to clean up the financial mess caused by the previous government, all 3 international credit ratings agencies maintained Malaysia’s ratings.
This vote of confidence is evidenced by the resurgent growth in exports in October 2018 to a historic high in a single month of RM96.4 billion and a record trade surplus of RM16.3 billion. Approved Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the manufacturing sector increased from May to September 2018 by RM 27.7 billion or 379%, from RM7.3 billion in 2017 to RM35 billion in 2018.
Economic growth and prosperity enjoyed by all is the best antidote to the poisonous politics of polarisation, exploiting racism and religious extremism, that threatens our Malaysian polity. PH is the only political coalition that is not corrupt as well as competent in managing the economy, able to pay the salaries of civil servants, develop the economy and improve the livelihood of the rakyat at the same time. At present Pakatan Harapan is also the only political coalition that can represent Malaysians by demography or geography, from all races, religions and backgrounds whether they are from Perlis, Johor, Sabah or Sarawak.
2019 will be a better year for Malaysia if we stay together for a brighter future for our children. Being stronger together, our economy can roar again and Malaysians be once more, respected globally.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!
LIM GUAN ENG