Often, when the Budget is discussed, we as a nation tend to focus on the projects and handouts. That is not unexpected, especially as the federal government frequently announces various ambitious projects towards which it would be allocating millions or billions of Ringgit.
While some do criticise these projects and pick them apart, questioning their long-run relevance and effectiveness, what we do often overlook, is one basic but crucial question:
i) Is there enough revenue for all these expenditures?
Let’s take a step back and reexamine the national budget though the glasses UMNO-Nomics has so kindly provided.
Most, if not all of us are familiar with the phrase ‘spend within your means’; it is a simple, but invaluable piece of advice passed down from generation to generation. However, it seems that the government has forgotten this particular nugget of wisdom – with the exception of 1998, our government has blown its own budget every single year, resulting in a national debt that, inclusive of ‘contingent liabilities’, currently stands at a staggering RM573 billion. That’s almost RM 20,000 of debt for each and every single one of us Malaysians!
If that isn’t enough debt to go around, our household debt (housing loans, credit cards, etc.) is also a growing concern. Worse still, unlike the national debt, the repayment of this debt – which is now equivalent to 140% of household income – comes out of our own wallets.
How has the government been incurring so much debt? What exactly are ‘contingent liabilities’? Why is our household debt so high? The hard truth behind the Budget and much more are broken down into digestible factoids in REFSA’s ‘UMNO-Nomics: The Dark Side of the Budget’.
Written simply by Teh Chi-Chang, illustrated creatively by Johnny Ong and endorsed by personalities from Nurul Izzah Anwar to Kee Thuan Chye and Zunar, this book is a steal at just RM35 for delivery to your (Malaysian) door-step. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://shop.refsa.org/ to order your copy now!