(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said on Tuesday after the 1999 pre-budget dialogue that the government will revise its present projected 1998 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 2 to 3 per cent.
This is long overdue as any delay on the governmentís part to come up with more realistic projections of the economic growth will reflect poorly on the nationís economic and financial management, making it more difficult to restore national and international confidence.
When Parliament meets on Monday, the Finance Minister should give an update report on the progress which had been achieved (or the reverse) in the past one year to battle the worst economic crisis facing the country.
Anwar should not only make public the governmentís latest revised estimates for the GDP growth for this year, but also its projections for the GDP growth for the second, third and fourth quarter of this year.
Economists and financial analysts are generally expecting a negative growth and recession in Malaysia for this year, with some pessimistic forecasts projecting a negative growth of 5 per cent!
The GDP for the first quarter of the Malaysian economy registered a -1.8 per cent negative growth. The Asian Wall Street Journal forecast a -3.5 per cent negative growth for the second quarter of April to June this year.
Anwar should release the governmentís figures in Parliament next Monday.
The three main issues in the forthcoming Parliament are the economic crisis, KKN or corruption, cryonism and nepotism and the KLIA.
This is why I have given notice to put the following oral questions:
1. To ask the Prime Minister whether he would table in Parliament a
full and complete list of companies awarded privatised projects, government
contracts, share allocations, approved permits (APs) and licences in the
first week of the current meeting of Parliament and adopt a new policy
that all such awards would be made public on a half-yearly basis.
2. To ask the Prime Minister whether the government would establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Cronyism and Nepotism with special focus on the children and associates of all political leaders, whether government or opposition, to convince Malaysians and the world that the government is serious about charges of KKN - corruption, cronyism and nepotism - in Malaysia.
3. To ask the Prime Minister whether Datuk Soh Chee Wen had lodged a police report against the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik as had been posted on the Internet which, if true, would seriously compromise the integrity of a Cabinet Minister and strengthen public concerns about corruption, cronyism and nepotism in Malaysia and to state what actions he had taken over the matter.
4. To ask the Prime Minister the progress of investigations by the Anti-Corruption Agency into well-known personalities, including Tan Sri Eric Chia, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib and Ling Hee Leong, and what the government is doing to convince Malaysians and the world that with the enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, the ACA has full powers to fight corruption as reflected by the number of investigations, arrests, prosecutions and convictions.
5. To ask the Prime Minister the full membership of the NEAC executive council, whether the worsening economic crisis - with the worst yet to come after a year of economic turmoils - is proof of the failure of the National Economic Action Council (NEAC), and why the NEAC has not been able to present to Parliament a national economic recovery strategy six months after its establishment.
6. To ask the Finance Minister to give details of the funding and operation of the Assets Management Corporation (AMC) and what safeguards or concrete measures the government has taken to dispel widespread reservations that the AMC would be a government bail-out agency despite several verbal assurances to the contrary.
7. To ask the Finance Minister, in view of the refusal of the EPF Executive Chairman, Tan Sri Sallehuddin Mohmamed to even meet DAP Members of Parliament on EPF investment policies, what steps the government has taken to ensure that the EPF management develop a culture of accountability, transparency and responsibility with regard to the RM130 billion funds belonging to the eight million EPF contributors.
8. To ask the Finance Minister whether the government would withdraw the US$1 billion aid each to Indonesia and Thailand as part of the International Monetary Fund bail-out of these two countries as Malaysia cannot afford to bail out other countries when we do not have enough money to bail out Malaysian companies.
9. To ask the Minister for Finance what decisions have been taken with regard to compensation to Ekran Bhd. and Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing with regard to the government take-over and suspension of the Bakun dam project, the total amount of money the government and other public institutions had committed to and expended on the project and the latest thinking of the government on the revival of the project.
10. To ask the Minister of Finance what is the governmentís forecast of GDP growth for the second, third and fourth quarter of this year; for 1999 and 2000; and how long more before there could be economic turnaround and full recovery.