Media Comment by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 24th October 2009:
MCA leaders as great a focus as Najib in the 2010 Budget presentation in Parliament
MCA leaders were as great a focus as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in yesterday’s 2010 Budget presentation in Parliament – the visibly uncomfortable MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and the forlorn MCA Deputy President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
This was a departure from the Budget Day in Parliament in previous years when the budget for the new year had no competitors for attention and would be the cynosure of all eyes and ears.
This distraction is highly pertinent to the relevance of theme of Najib’s first Budget, viz: “ 2010 Budget - 1Malaysia, Together We Prosper”.
The question that immediately comes to mind is how there can be a 1Malaysia Budget when it is founded on such shaky foundations like “1MCA”, with all top MCA leaders totally discredited after treating the MCA Central Committee members, over 2,300 MCA delegates, the Chinese community and the Malaysian people as “suckers”.
Does Najib’s 2010 Budget qualify to be described as a 1Malaysia budget? Using the term 1Malaysia for various programmes and proposals do not ipso facto make them “1Malaysia” –when there is even now a “1Malaysia Toilet”!
Najib has proposed a new maximum income tax rate of 15% for Iskandar Malaysia compared with 26 per cent for the rest of the country. The rationale is to attract local and foreign talent as well as intensify the development of Iskandar Malaysia, with the tax treatment eligible for those engaged in qualifying activities such as green technology, biotechnology, education services, healthcare, creative industry, financial advisory and consultancy services as well as logistic services and tourism.
How can this new tax incentive qualify to be 1Malaysia, when it discriminates against the other four development corridors and the rest of the country?
If Najib’s 2010 Budget is to be a 1Malaysia budget, then such a special tax rate to promote high-level knowledge workers should not be discriminatory in its application at all.
Malaysia is already divided into too many “Malaysias” without the creation of new dichotomies, which can only take the nation further away from the goal and objective of “1Malaysia”.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor