Better use of the RM60 billion to help Malaysians, like the closure of KRIMs, economic woes of 100,000 Felda settlers and the 700,000 PTPTN defaulters than the Quixotic objective to “strengthen the American economy”

Recently, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, went to the White House to meet with President Trump to help strengthen the United Sates economy, which is a ridiculous idea when we take into account that the American economy has a GDP close to US$19 trillion while the Malaysian GDP has not even reached US$300 billion!

It is the United States which should help strengthen the Malaysian economy, and not the other way round.

There is better use of the RM60 billion to help Malaysians, like the closure of KRIMS throughout the country, the 100,000 Felda settlers who have an economic crisis in their hands, or the 700,000 PTPTN defaulters instead of being used for the Quixotic objective to “strengthen the American economy”.

It is a sign of the failure of Najib’s economics and his policies that the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) are being closed down all over the country, starting in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Kelantan and Sarawak.

A brainchild of the Prime Minister, the KRIM stores were meant to appeal to urban Malaysians with low-income levels, by selling basic necessities like rice, cooking oil, milk powder and diapers at prices, 30 to 50 percent lower than at other supermarkets.

Mydin Mohamed Holdings, the company that operates the popular chain of Mydin wholesale supermarkets, started operating KR1M stores in partnership with the government in 2011, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.

After six years of operating the stores, Mydin managing director Ameer Ali Mydin admitted in July this year that KR1M was in fact, a “massive loss-making CSR project” and it had only continued operating to benefit Malaysians.

But the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi accused Mydin of selling goods above market prices and thus, profiteering from operating the stores.

As for the economic woes of the 100,000 Felda settlers, I had in June called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to establish why in a matter of five years, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) suffered RM10 billion market capitalisation losses, with its share price at RM4.55 per share when it was listed in June 2012 plunging to RM1.68 per share today.

Why has FGV, which is the world’s largest plantation operator with more than two million acres of oil palms in Malaysia and in other parts of the world, suffered so badly?

There should be a no-holds-barred Royal Commission of Inquiry into the tens of billions of ringgit of FGV and FELDA losses, which should include Najib’s responsibility in allowing such financial losses and scandals in the past five years.

The woes of the 700,000 PTPTN defaulters had been a long-standing one.

Undoubtedly, the needs of ordinary Malaysians facing the closure of KRIM stores selling essential necessities at affordable prices, the 100,000 Felda settlers and 700,000 PTPTN defaulters are more in need of help from Najib than the American economy.

It is time that Najib wake up to the harsh realities and hard truth that neither him nor the Malaysian government and economy could really help the American economy, but his job and responsibility as Prime Minister is to help all Malaysians see through the present economic crisis so that Malaysia, and not America, can be great again!

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah