Muhyiddin: Allocate RM300,000 to all MPs in flooded areas

by S BIRRUNTHA

THE government should give an allocation of at least RM300,000 to all MPs, including the Opposition, whose areas are currently affected by floods, Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

The Pagoh MP noted that the allocation was to enable aid to be distributed immediately to flood victims in their respective parliamentary constituencies.

“I also want to thank the Prime Minister (PM) (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) who immediately approved the allocation of RM50 million to Johor, but I suggest it be increased to RM100 million because the flood situation this time is very bad,” he said while debating the Budget 2023 in Dewan Rakyat today.

Apart from that, Muhyiddin also asked the government to detail the position of the Bumiputera policy and agenda in the national development policy.

He added that an impact study related to the status of the achievements of Bumiputera companies in various economic fields that have been assisted and benefited from packages and government initiatives, needs to be presented to show the extent the policies involved benefit the groups concerned.

However, he is of the view that the government is taking a rather hasty approach in replacing the Shared Prosperity Vision (WKB) 2030 policy that was introduced four years ago by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with the new concept of Madani Malaysia.

“It should be noted that WKB 2030 was agreed to be a pillar of the country’s vision until 2030, and it was even enshrined in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) document approved by this House.

“Under WKB 2030, the Joint Prosperity Action Council (MTKB) was established which functions as a monitoring mechanism at the highest level to ensure that all Bumiputera targets can be achieved.

“On the other hand, until now, I have not seen the agenda mentioned clearly in the Malaysia Madani policy nor in any of the government’s commitments today,” he claimed.

Speaking on Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Muhyiddin pointed out that the people did not ask for the injection of RM500 into the EPF account as announced by the PM during the presentation of the Budget 2023. Instead, the people wanted the government to approve targeted withdrawals.

“Actually, the contributors are not asking for an injection of RM1 billion — they are only asking for their EPF to be released in a targeted manner.

“If that is approved, the government can save RM1 billion and it can be given to areas that are facing severe floods today to be used to save the (flood) victims,” he said.

Additionally, Muhyiddin also said the injection of RM500 into contributors’ accounts is only good news from the outside, when in fact it only benefits a handful of contributors aged 40 to 54 who have savings of less than RM10,000.

“There is no need for me to speak at length on this matter since Yang Berhormat (YB) Ayer Hitam, when debating the Budget 2023 speech, has already commented at length about this gift which turns out to be better news than it looks.

“The fact is, the EPF aid announced by YB Tambun (Anwar) is only for a handful of contributors, namely the 40 to 54-year-old age group, while almost 53% of active contributors do not benefit from this grant. Contributors under the age of 40 are denied their right to receive the same assistance,” he noted.

According to Muhyiddin, the average demand of contributors to withdraw savings EPF was also ignored.

“Clearly the government is not listening to the people who are being squeezed by the high cost of living.  

“It’s true that EPF is for old-age savings, but what’s the point talking about old age, if even today people don’t have money for daily needs,” he said.

On that note, Muhyiddin also believed that the government’s move to reduce the amount of subsidies from RM80 billion to RM64 billion through Budget 2023 will cause a sharp increase in the inflation rate this year.

He said although the economic recovery process shows positive momentum, the government needs to take proactive steps so that aid in the form of subsidies can be channelled quickly and effectively to the needy.

“Subsidies are financial assistance, not a form of government incentive.

“Has the government already assessed and identified the impact of this (subsidy) reduction?” he questioned.

Anwar through the Budget 2023 said this year the government will provide up to RM64 billion in the form of subsidies, aid and incentives.   

A large amount of this fund is to minimise the cost of living through price control of goods, financial assistance and providing services to most people.

In the meantime, Muhyiddin stressed that government subsidies should benefit those who are really in need, while the able-bodied can contribute to the welfare of the community and the progress of the country’s economy.

“Subsidies given by the government to the people can apparently ease their burden, but it should be done in a targeted manner.

“The government’s commitment today is to take a progressive approach in the context of targeted subsidies, but I see that there is still no strong mechanism in terms of its implementation,” he concluded.