Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 5th October 2010:
Will Muhyiddin return to Treasury his salaries and allowances as Federal Minister for past 15 years so as not to be associated with forbidden money?
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Umno Ministers should decide at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow whether they will return their salaries and allowances to Treasury as they do not want to be associated with gambling money.
Ten days ago on September 25, Bernama carried the following report:
MUAR, Saturday 25 September 2010 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has called on Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to answer allegations made by Umno Youth on the state government's financial source to fund its poverty eradication programmes.
Muhyiddin said Muslims would not want to be associated should gambling money were used for the programmes.
"We want an answer from Lim. If the money is from a forbidden source, Muslims will have no part in it," he told reporters after launching a Pagoh education excellence programme at the Dewan Sri Pekembar, here.
Muhyiddin was asked on a news report today quoting Umno Youth as claiming that funds from gambling activities were used to finance poverty eradication programmes in Penang.
In line with Muhyiddin’s declaration that Muslims do not want to be associated with money from “a forbidden source”, the Deputy Prime Minister should set an example and declare that he will not only return his salary and allowances to Treasury, but will return all his salaries and allowances as Federal Minister for the past 15 years since 1995.
Muhyiddin’s past Cabinet portfolios were Minister of Youth and Sports (1995–1999), Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (1999–2004), Minister of Agriculture (2004–2008) and Minister of International Trade and Industry (2008–2009) before becoming deputy prime minister and education minister in April 2009.
Can Muhyiddin compute and declare how much salaries and allowances he would have to return to the Treasury as Federal Minister in the past 15 years because they come from the Federal Government Consolidated Fund which includes gambling tax.
In the recent June meeting of Parliament, DAP MP for Rasah Anthony Loke had asked the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak whether revenue from gambling was separated from the Consolidated Fund; the mechanism to manage the gambling revenue; its uses and what percentage was channelled to deal with social woes resulting from gambling activities.
This was Najib’s reply:
“At this time, revenue from gambling activities are categorized as government revenue. Based on Article 97 of the Federal Constitution and Financial Procedure Act 1957 (revised in 1972) all taxation or revenue received by the federal government will be credited into the Consolidated Fund.
“The Consolidated Fund comprises three main accounts, the Consolidated Account, the Consolidated Trust Account and the Consolidated Loans Account.
“All revenue from payment of taxes are put into the Consolidated Account like all other government revenue and is used for purposes of management spending and national development.”
In reply to another question from Loke, the Deputy Finance Minister Senator Awang Adek disclosed that the gambling tax collected by the Barisan Nasional federal government last year amounted to RM2.3 billion, and that the figure included taxes from the casino in Genting Highlands and from revenue of numbers forecasting such as Magnum and Sports Toto.
As Muhyiddin said that Muslims do not want to be associated with money from “a forbidden source”, and part of the expenditure for national management and development including paying the salaries and allowances of Cabinet Ministers is sourced from gambling revenue, the Deputy Prime Minister must be consistent and return all his salaries and allowances as Cabinet Minister going back to 15 years to the Treasury.
It is most unfortunate that instead of advising Penang Umno not to resort to irresponsible politicking, as falsely accusing the Penang government of using gambling money to pay RM100 annually to senior citizens in the state aged above 60 years, Muhyiddin acted in a most irresponsible manner in aiding and abetting Penang UMNO’s “political desperado” tactics.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor