Daim should give a detailed breakdown as to how Malaysia earned over RM500 million from staging Formula One race last October

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, said when retabling the 2000 Budget in Parliament on Friday that the Formula One race held in Malaysia last October earned the country more than RM500 million besides enhancing its image as an international centre for sports and tourism.

He said the Formula One event was beamed by 750 television stations in 260 countries to about 600 million viewers.  According to a survey, a total of 65,000 foreign visitors and competitors were in Malaysia during the event, contributing more than RM500 million in foreign exchange earnings.  More than 50% of the foreign visitors flew in by Malaysia Airlines and over 70% of them stayed more than a week in international-class hotels.  The  Formula One Circuit in Sepang was built at a cost of over RM350 million.

I do not think it will be an exaggeration to say that Daimís claim that the Formula One earned over RM500 million for the country was met with widespread skepticism.

Daim should give a detailed breakdown as to how the Formula One race last October earned the country over RM500 million.

There has been a lot of hype and exaggerated claims in the retabled 2000 budget as in other budgets.

For instance, Daim claimed that the major change of the retabled 2000 Budget was the extension of the 10% pay rise for civil servants to the 400,000 pensioners.  This is untrue as under the law, pensioners and those receiving pensioners would have their pensions revised as a matter of course from the 10% salary increase for civil servants.

The  extension of 10% pay rise increase for civil servants would still not give the majority of pensioners  a "living pension"  above the poverty level - as at present, the  majority of the pensioners received between RM250 and RM400 a month.

In fact, I have been informed that there are Telekom pensioners before privatisation  from the former IMG (industrial and manual group)  who are getting the meagre sum of as low as RM110 a month  - which is clearly a total mockery of the governmentís claim of a caring society in Malaysia.

The government should set up a special committee to  provide for a minimum pension of RM500 for all the 400,000 pensioners.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman