KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, after a year in power, said that he is fed up of spending too much time dealing with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Lim said the repatriation of some of the 1MDB funds amounting to nearly RM1.5 billion from the United States and Singapore to help pay back the RM51 billion 1MDB loans was clear evidence that the scandal exists and not lie as claimed by the Opposition.
“Frankly speaking, I am sick and tired of having to spend so much of my time to deal with the 1MDB fiasco. Hopefully, from now on we can spend more time to focus on ordinary Malaysians, and not so much on mega projects or past financial scandals,” he said in his Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s first-year anniversary message today.
The finance minister said the principal focus of the PH government would be on creating jobs, helping businesses to drive economic growth towards an entrepreneurial state and to reduce the cost of living.
“While PH succeeded in reducing the inflation rate significantly from three per cent in 2017 to only one per cent in 2018, the cost of living has not gone down in tandem with the inflation rate.
“PH is committed to doing more smaller projects for ordinary Malaysians, unlike the previous government’s obsession with mega projects benefiting their cronies,” he said.
Lim said that from his ministry’s perspective, among the major first-year achievements was transforming Malaysia into a clean nation and sharing the benefits with the people.
He said institutional reforms, open tenders and a strong anti-corruption stance have helped transform the country into a nation that Malaysians can be proud of.
“Savings from fighting corruption are immediately shared with the nation. The reduction of RON 95 from RM2.20 per litre to RM2.08 proves that the PH government kept its promise of reducing petrol prices. Such reduction has caused the PH government to fork out an extra RM2 billion in additional petrol subsidies,” he said.
Lim said the cost rationalisation of hundreds of government projects initiated by the previous Barisan Nasional government has saved RM24.65 billion without significantly affecting the scope of the work and will benefit Malaysians for the next 10 years.
He said this was not including the RM21.5 billion reduction in the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project cost from RM65.5 billion to RM44 billion.
“Just like that, changing the government allowed Malaysians to save a total of RM46.15 billion in construction costs.
“This is apart from the cancellation of shady projects such as the RM9.4 billion multi-product and gas pipeline project, where 88 per cent of the project cost or RM8.3 billion has been paid, even though only 13 per cent of the work was completed. Worse still, the 13 per cent of the work supposedly completed remains unverified and cannot be located,” he added.
Lim said the payment of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and income tax refunds of RM37 billion that was used by the previous government without the permission of nearly 1.65 million income tax and 121,000 GST taxpayers will be fully repaid in October this year.
He said the government was also able to source RM24 billion for Tabung Haji (TH) and Felda and rescue these two institutions that suffered huge losses as a result of financial mismanagement.
“PH will face challenges from racist and religious extremists who want to divide the nation by pitting Malaysians against Malaysians to stay relevant.
“For instance, TH has been racialised not against those who cheated TH, but by blaming DAP, even though DAP helped to source RM17.8 billion in rescue funds for TH.
“Similarly, funding for Chinese and Tamil schools has also been racialised against the DAP with no mention of the increased funding for religious schools,” he added.
Lim also extended DAP’s congratulations to Malaysian for achieving on May 9, 2018 a historic change of government for the first time in 61 years, making possible a New Malaysia.