Barisan Nasionalâ€™s (BN) latest allocation of over RM200 million for its MPs to plough into their constituencies despite Datuk Seri Najib Razakâ€™s pledges to rein in the deficit betrays the prime ministerâ€™s desperation ahead of federal polls, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
With Putrajaya admitting it is unlikely to meet GDP growth projections this year, leading to a larger budget deficit, the opposition leader took aim at the Najib administration, saying the move to hand each BN federal lawmaker RM1.5 million was â€œnot proper.â€
â€œThe PM also said they can spend in cash, giving up to RM5,000 to their constituents. This is not proper,â€ the PKR de facto leader told a press conference.
â€œThey are not concerned about financial regulations, they donâ€™t care about finances,â€ Anwar (picture) said of the move, which comes on the back of Najib revealing a repeat of Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) cash handouts to low-income families, which cost RM2.6 billion, was on the cards.
The Malaysian Insider reported earlier today that the BN MPs were handed the allocation at yesterdayâ€™s BN pre-council meeting for the current parliamentary sitting as the Najib administration looks ahead to polls after Septemberâ€™s budget announcement.
Although Najib was earlier speculated to dissolve Parliament this month for a July election, he announced that he would be tabling next yearâ€™s budget on September 28 and that there was a possibility of another handout to low-income families under BR1M.
The RM500 paid out to nearly five million families at a cost of RM2.6 billion earlier this year saw his approval ratings shoot up to 69 per cent, largely due to a surge among poorer households.
But the aftermath of violence that erupted between police and demonstrators at the April 28 Bersih rally for free and fair elections saw the BN chiefâ€™s popularity slide to 65 per cent last month.
The Umno president said late last month the government will ensure that Malaysiaâ€™s debt will not exceed the statutory ceiling under the Loan (Local) Act and Government Funding Act due to its prudent management of the nationâ€™s finances.
Najib, who is also finance minister, said his administration has also taken steps to rein in the fiscal deficit, which dropped to 4.8 per cent last year from a 22-year high of over seven per cent in 2009.
But Malaysiaâ€™s slowing economy, which recorded a third consecutive quarterly dip in growth to 4.7 per cent in the first three months of the year, off-track from earlier projections of up to six per cent growth for the year, has raised doubts over Putrajayaâ€™s ability to keep spending in check.
Analysts have warned Malaysia to brace for a significant slowdown here due to rising linkages with top trade partners including China, the worldâ€™s second-largest market, which economists say is headed for a sixth consecutive quarterly drop in growth with worse to come.
A Greek exit from the euro zone, which is a growing threat, would cause a second recession in as little as four years in Malaysia as the knock-on damage to Europe poses a threat to the global economy, Bloomberg reported analysts and economists as saying recently