KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan’s Budget 2020 is a capitalist budget because it serves the rich and ignores the poor, says Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“Most importantly, we can summarise that Budget 2020 is a capitalist budget that leaves behind rural areas of Malaysia.
“The rich are prioritised, while the poor and needy aren’t cared for, ” he said during his speech on Budget 2020 in Parliament on Monday (Oct 14).
Ismail Sabri argued that several initiatives introduced in Budget 2020 were aimed at safeguarding the interests of capitalists, such as income tax exemption for new investments in international theme parks.
Under Budget 2020, new investments in international theme parks are given a 100% income tax exemption from statutory income, or the Investment Tax Allowance of 100% to be set off against 70% for five years, said Ismail.
He pointed out that a policy to lower the threshold for foreigners to buy properties in Malaysia will benefit profit-oriented developers.
The government also planned to allocate up to RM1bil annually for customised packaged investment incentives over a period of five years to attract Fortune 500 companies and global unicorns to strengthen the manufacturing and service ecosystems, said Ismail Sabri.
“The saddest part is that there are no new policies or special initiatives on a big scale to improve the quality of life for people in the rural areas and the needy, ” he said.
Ismail, who’s the former Agriculture and Agro-based Industry minister, said under Budget 2020, the fishermen allowances was a mere RM250, compared with RM300 under the former Barisan Nasional administration.
“During challenging times, this allowances should have been increased, not slashed!
“We need specific policies and plans to improve the livelihood and income of these people.”
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said that PAS-ruled states of Kelantan and Terengganu were neglected under Budget 2020, as there were no allocations for high-impact projects in those two states.
The Bera MP said Kelantan and Terengganu should have received allocations for high-impact projects because the income-per-capita of its residents was low.
He also said the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysian Plan (2016-2020) called for the continuation of high-impact projects in order to close the development gap between states.
Under the 11th Malaysian Plan, it stresses the importance of narrowing the developmental gap between states by focussing on under-developed states such as Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis.
In noting that Budget 2020 provided allocations for development in Sabah, Sarawak, Perlis, and Kedah, he pointed out that there were no such allocations for such projects in Kelantan and Terengganu.
Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Bharu) subsequently interjected, saying that the two PAS-ruled states would only receive two new schools in Tumpat, Kelantan and another in Marang, Terengganu.
Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PAS-Rantau Panjang), who spoke subsequently, said that Kelantan was being humiliated as being the poorest state and yet it receives less allocation compared to other states.
“Many projects were postponed, such as the flood mitigation project and now we are facing the flood season.”
Ismail Sabri subsequently questioned if Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was punishing the two states for voting for PAS in the 14th general election.
“Is this the punishment for the people of Kelantan and Terengganu because they voted for PAS? Is that why these states are being neglected?”
“Since Budget 2020 discriminates Kelantan and Terengganu, I’m demanding that this is the time to give a 20% oil royalty to those two states.”
RM297bil or 18.4% of the gross domestic product (GDP) was allocated for Budget 2020, which was tabled in Parliament last Friday.