For the 2000 Budget to be presented on Feb. 25 would not only be the same as one presented four months earlier, word for word and paragraph for paragraph, it would have failed to take into account the many economic developments in the intervening four months in the country, the region and the world as well as highlighting the inability of the Barisan Nasional Government to respond positively to the political and economic demands of 44 per cent of the electorate in the recent general election for more equity, justice, accountability and less corruption in Malaysia.
I call on the Cabinet next week to take a policy decision that the 2000 Budget to be presented to Parliament on Feb. 25 should be an updated and revised 2000 Budget from that presented on October 29, 1999 - or the speeches which had been made during the budget debate in November before Parliament was dissolved for general election to be held could also be read out in Parliament next month word for word, proposal for proposal.
Daim also said yesterday that the 10 per cent salary hike and 50 per cent increase in the fixed housing allowance for government servants would only be implemented after the budget had been debated and approved by both houses of Parliament.
However, when asked whether the arrears would be paid in one lump sum or in instalments, he said the government's financial position would have to be studied first.
The Barisan Nasional government is being most unfair to the 850,000 civil servants, for the 10 per cent salary increase for all government employees should have been implemented from 1.1.2000 and not await the passage of the 2000 Budget and its becoming law sometime in May or even June this year.
A budget contains two types of proposals - those which can come into effect only after the necessary legislative enactments, whether by way of amendments to existing laws or the passage of new laws, had been effected by Parliament, like the proposed changes to income tax laws.
Another batch of budgetary proposals are implemented immediately because they do not require legislative follow-up action but mere administrative action like the abolition of television licences and the reduction or abolition of import duties on food and other products.
The 10 per cent salary increase and 50 per cent increase in housing allowance announced by Daim in Parliament on Oct. 29 last year also belong to this latter category of budgetary proposals which do not require legislative follow-up action by Parliament - and in fact, previous increases of civil service salaries and housing allowances had been made by the government when Parliament was not in session.
Daim therefore should not now give the excuse that the government could only implement the 10 per cent salary increase and 50 per cent increase in housing allowance when the 2000 budget is passed by both Houses of Parliament - which will take the matter to May or even June.
This is because the Dewan Rakyat is meeting from February 14 to April 13 while the Dewan Negara will meet from April 17 to May 11. After the 2000 Budget had been passed by both Houses of Parliament, it still has to get the Royal Assent and be gazetted before it could become law.
This means that the 2000 Budget would not become law until sometime in May or even June - and the implementation of the salary and housing allowance increases could be dragged on until the third quarter of the year.
This is most unfair and does not bespeak an efficient, competent and caring government.
DAP and the Barisan Alternative therefore calls on the government to
immediately implement the 10 per cent salary increase and 50 per cent increase
of housing allowance for the 850,000 civil servants and not to wait until
the 2000 Budget becomes law in May or June this year.