Anwar Says Stimulus Package Does Not Inspire Confidence

12 March 2009

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From The Malaysian Insider
By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 – Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today the RM60 billion stimulus package announced by the government yesterday would not restore the people’s confidence.

“The biggest weakness of this package is the failure of the government to understand that the issue of the confidence of the people, of the domestic and international investors is central,” he told reporters after debating the mini budget at the Dewan Rakyat.

He added that promoting accountability should have been a major component in the package.

“The government needs to change their attitude in order to get the people’s support, if not this stimulus package will only be seen as an exercise to rescue sick cronies and greedy monopolists, to reward the inefficient,” Anwar told the House.

He also painted a more gloomy picture of the economy, predicting that the economy would contract by up to five per cent this year.

He added that even if the package is implemented, the country’s growth would still be in the negative.

“The fiscal injection is only RM15 billion where RM10 billion is for 2009 and RM5 billion for 2010. The rest does not involve development expenditure which will help generate growth,” said Anwar.

“This means that for the year 2009, the fiscal injection is only RM17.1 billion. RM7.1 from the first stimulus package and RM10 billion for the second stimulus package. Theoretically, it will only contribute 3.2 per cent to the economic growth based on the GDP of RM535 billion in 2008,” he added.

“I hope the government will revise the package as the amount may be big but the impact will not be huge to the nation’s economy,” said Anwar.

He also accused the government of attempting to bail out certain companies in the stimulus package.

“My concern is the allocation of RM10 billion for capital investment. Will this be used to bail out certain companies? The government had channeled RM7 billion to Valuecap where RM5 billion was borrowed from EPF? What has happened to the investment made by Valuecap?” asked Anwar.

He also urged the government to reassess concession agreements with toll operators adding that he believed toll charges would go up after the three by-elections next month.

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