Open letter to finance minister — Jeyakumar Joseph

NOVEMBER 27 — I refer to your reply in the Dewan Rakyat recently whereby you had replied to an Opposition lawmaker that the government does not intend to impose windfall tax on financial institutions in the country.

At a time when you frequently complain that your government is struggling to cope with the huge debts left by the previous regime, it is indeed surprising (and to some even utterly disappointing) that you should spare the very industry that has hardly done anything to ease the burden of the rakyat especially of those in the B40 group.

You also highlighted that the previous government did not impose any such tax on the banks. So does that mean the Pakatan Harapan government is no better than the old Barisan Nasional government?

Apparently you did mention that you have informed Bank Negara to ask the banks to ease the lending criteria for housing loan applicants.

Oh really?

Now with the powers that you have, shouldn't you be firmly instructing Bank Negara and the banks to buck up and play their part in ensuring fair wealth distribution and in nation building and not be forever obsessed with reporting multi billion ringgit profit year in year out?

You tax the poor with the Sales and Services Tax (SST) and you force the younger generation to pay PRPTN even though many of them are hardly earning RM2,500 a month (barely enough to pay for their rental, food and transport!). Yet you have the cheek to spare the "corporate ah-longs"?

In fact your new government has been breaking many promises (from your election manifesto) always quoting lack of funds in the government coffers and always blaming the previous government for this and that.

In fact, it would seem that Bank Negara Malaysia (which happens to be under your ministry) is forever preoccupied with "strengthening" the banks but is it fair that this should be at the expense of the ordinary rakyat?

This has been going on for years and it would seem that the banks (which just like the telcos seem to enjoy some form of monopoly) have been emboldened by the support they receive from their “big brother” at BNM which may be one of the reasons why they seem to have become insensitive to the plight of their customers.

Bank Negara Malaysia holds the key to solving many problems faced by the increasingly hard pressed and frustrated B40 and M40 groups. But where is their political will and why aren't they doing more?

As the finance minister, isn't it high time you paid more attention to BNM and get them to “turun padang” to rein in the excesses of the banks.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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