Malaysia more likely to face a budget crisis than to balance the budget by 2022 or 2023

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang and Assistant Political Education Director, on the 9th of January 2018

Malaysia more likely to face a budget crisis than to balance the budget by 2022 or 2023

The recent admission by the Second Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani that the Malaysian government would not be able to achieve a zero budget deficit by 2020 should not come as a surprise among those who have been studying the Malaysian budget.[1] This is despite the many promises announced by Prime Minister Najib that Malaysia would reach this zero budget deficit by 2020.

Malaysia’s debt service charges increased from RM14.2 billion in 2009 to RM30.8 billion in 2018. The share of the budget to pay for debt service charges has increased from 9.1% in 2009 to 13.2% in 2018 (estimated). (See Figures 1 and 2 below)

Figure 1: Federal Government Operating Expenditure by Object including debt service charges (2009 to 2011)

Figure 2: Federal Government Operating Expenditure by Object including debt service charges (2016 to 2018)

This increase in the debt service charges as a % of the budget should not be surprising given that the growth in the federal debt is much higher than the increase in the federal revenue. From 2009 (Najib became Finance Minister in September 2008) to 2017, the federal debt grew by 89.7% or an annual growth rate of 11.2% compared to a 37.5% growth or an annual growth rate of 4.7% for the federal revenue during this period (see Table 1 and Figure 3 below).

Table 1: Growth in the Federal Debt versus Federal Revenue, 2009 to 2017

Figure 3: Growth in the Federal Debt versus Federal Revenue, 2009 to 2017

What should be MORE worrying is the fact that payments for debt service charges incurred by 100% owned Ministry of Finance (MoF) Special Purposes Vehicles are also being paid by the government but are being ‘hidden’ in other parts of the budget. For example, payments for strategic sectors have increased from RM1.286 billion in 2017 to RM3.748 billion in 2018 according to the 2018 budget estimates. Included in this payment is a RM1.1 billion payment to Dana Infra / Govco, which is the SPV in charge of issuing debt to finance the MRT lines and also the Pan Borneo Highway. This was verified in a written parliament to me by the Ministry of Finance II dated 29 November 2017 (Appendix 1).

In addition, other repayments (Lain-Lain Bayaran Balik) have also increased from RM1.528 billion in 2017 to RM4.236 billion in 2018. The biggest portion of this payment is for Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) totalling RM3.971 billion (see Appendix 2).

PFIs are actually expenditure for development projects that are funded by 100% owned MOF SPVs such as Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd which has accumulated debt of approximately RM26 billion[1] and Pembinaan BLT Sdn Bhd which issued RM10 billion worth of bonds that were to be financed by yearly ‘rental’ payments by the government of Malaysia to fund the building of police quarters.[2]

If we add up these off-budget sheet debt service charges (approximately RM5 billion for 2018), the total debt service charge would be RM35 billion or approximately 15% of the total budget which is just at the threshold under the administrative fiscal rules. (See Figure 4 below)

Figure 4: Description of Debt Service Charges in the 2018 Economic Report (pg. 84)

As the amount of debt issued by 100% MOF owned SPVs continue to increase with projects such as the MRT Line 2 and Line 3, the LRT Line 3 and the Pan Borneo Highway, we can expect the total debt service charges (hidden and non-hidden) to continue to grow faster over the next decade. This can be partly seen in the 21% increase in the debt guaranteed by the federal government from RM187.32 billion at the end of 2016 to RM226.88 billion at the end of September 2017.[4]

I am not against development expenditure which brings long term benefits to the rakyat. But by ‘hiding’ the debt servicing obligations of such expenditure behind these SPVs, we are allowing wastage and corruption in other parts of the operating and development expenditure (under the Prime Minister’s Department, for example) to persist. What is worst for the rakyat is when funding to public higher education institutions and public hospitals are cut in order to pay for these ‘hidden’ debt servicing charges.

If this trend continues, I don’t believe that the government would be able to achieve a zero budget deficit even by 2022 or 2023. In fact, it is much more likely that we will have a budget crisis on our hands as our budget position worsens.

Appendix 1: Bayaran untuk Sektor Strategik 2018 (RM3.748 billion)

Appendix 2: Lain-Lain Bayaran Balik (RM4.236 billion)

[1] https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2018/01/05/fiscal-space-needed-to-balance-govt-finances-by-2022-or-2023/

[2] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-confirms-pembinaan-pfi-debt-pile-near-rm27b

[3] https://www.marc.com.my/index.php/marc-rating-announcements/512-marc-affirms-its-aaais-rating-on-aman-sukuk-berhad-s-rm10-0-billion-islamic-mtn-programme-30102015

[4] http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/malaysias-spiralling-debt-burden

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选委会应该归零重划选区,以便增加雪州国席和减少雪州议席之间的选票不均问题

(2017年12月20日)行动党政治教育局副主任兼沙登区国会议员王建民博士的媒体声明

选委会应该归零重划选区,以便增加雪州国席和减少雪州议席之间的选票不均问题

随着上诉庭撤除暂缓执行令,意味着选委会能在雪州举行第一轮的听证会。与其重启听证会,选委会应重新划分选区,以减少雪州议席之间的选票不均问题和增加雪州国席。

按照2017年第二季度选名册,雪州选民多达233万人,为全国之最 。(参阅图表1)

1:西马半岛各州的总选民人数(2017年第二季度)

同时,雪州各个议席的选民,平均多达10万5937人,亦是全国最高。(参阅图表2)

2:西马半岛各州国会议席平均选民人数(2017年第二季度)

在雪州,选民人数超过10万的国会选区,共有12个。(参阅图表3)

3:雪州各国席的选民人数(2017年第二季度)

雪州最大国会选区加埔为例,当地共有16万4177名选民,比起拥有4万164名选民的最小国会选区沙白安南,选民相差4倍之多。

选委会建议的选区重划,根本与减低雪州这些不均等无关。我自身的选区沙登,将会易名为万宜,新选区可能会有超过16万5000选民

以雪州境内而言,这显然违反‘一人一票’原则,也是雪州政府入禀法庭,反对选区重划不公平的主因。

任谁都能看出这次的选区重划有多不公平。与其举行听证会,选委会应一切归零,重新开始划分选区,而这次要增加雪州的国会议席。

(我会在另一篇媒体声明继续探讨州议席的课题)

The Election Commission should redo the entire constituency delimitation exercise to add parliament seats in Selangor to reduce the discrepancy in the number of voters per seat

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang and Deputy Political Education Director for the DAP, on the 20th of December 2017
The Election Commission should redo the entire constituency delimitation exercise to add parliament seats in Selangor to reduce the discrepancy in the number of voters per seat
With the Court of Appeal’s rejection of the stay application by the Selangor government in its case against the Election Commission’s constituency delimitation exercise, this means that the first round of public hearings in Selangor can begin. Rather than starting these public hearings, the Election Commission should redo the entire constituency delimitation exercise and increase the number of parliament seats in Selangor.
According to the electoral roll updated till the 2nd quarter of 2017, the number of voters in Selangor stood at 2.33 million, which is by far the highest in the country (See Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Total number of voters in the states in Peninsular Malaysia (2nd Quarter 2017)

At the same time, the average number of voters per seat in Selangor has increased to 105,937 as of the 2nd quarter of 2017, which is by far the highest in the country (See Figure 2 below).
Figure 2: Number of voters per seat by state in Peninsular Malaysia (2nd Quarter 2017)

Within Selangor, there are now 12 seats with more than 100,000 voters (See Figure 3 below).
Figure 3: Total Voters by Parliament Seat in Selangor (2nd Quarter 2017)

The number of voters in the largest seat – P109 Kapar with 164,177 voters – is 4 times that of the smallest seat – P92 Sabak Bernam with 40,164 voters.
The proposed delimitation plan by the Election Commission will do nothing to decrease these discrepancies in Selangor. In fact, my own parliament seat of Serdang, which will be renamed into Bangi, will likely have more than 165,000 voters using the new boundaries.
This is a clear violation of the one-man-one-vote principle WITHIN the state of Selangor and this is one of the main reasons why the Selangor state government took up the court case against this blatantly unfair delimitation exercise.
Any reasonable person would be able to see how unfair this proposed delimitation plan is. Instead of continuing with the public hearings, the Election Commission should go back to the drawing board and begin the exercise anew but this time, with the addition of parliament seats in the state of Selangor.
(I will deal with the issue of the state seats in a separate media statement.)
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青年及体育部必须率先监管国内的跑步或马拉松赛事

(2017年12月12日)行动党政治教育局副主任兼沙登区国会议员王建民博士的媒体声明

青年及体育部必须率先监管国内的跑步或马拉松赛事

此刻,我抱着沉重的心情来写以下这个声明,因为最近发生一起可怕的事故,导致我的一位朋友洪玉姍Evelyn Ang,参与2017年巴生城市国际马拉松比赛被轿车撞至重伤(在跑步爱好者社群中以@missyblurkit为人所知)。作为她的朋友和跑步爱好者的我,目前最为关心的是她与死神迄今为止进行最艰难的战斗。无论如何,我绝对不希望将这起事故政治化。 同时,由于过去从跑步社群和广大民众收集了许多意见和看法,我认为现在也是最佳时机来讨论一些涉及马拉松的课题,包括未来可以做些什么来确保参与马拉松比赛的选手的安全。

(i) 国内绝大多数跑步或马拉松赛事都未经体育委员会的批准

在涉及洪玉姍和另外两名选手的意外事故发生后不久,马来西亚体育委员会专员再顿奥曼(Dato’Zaiton Othman)在2017年12月11日(星期一)发表声明,指出巴生国际马拉松赛的主办单位并未获得体育委员会办公室的批准。[1] 她引用了1997年大马体育发展法令第36(1)条文,即“主办方除非获得体育委员会的批准,否则根据现有条规不得主办任何跑步或马拉松活动 (参阅下图1)。同时,青年与体育部长凯里也引用了同一个法令,建议报警向主办单位展开调查。[2]

图表1:1997年体育发展法案第36条文

但体育委员会专员和部长没有向公众透露的是,马来西亚大部分马拉松赛事都并没有获得体育委员会办公室的批准。马来西亚的多项赛事,主办单位只是取得地方政府,如吉隆坡或八打灵市议会,场地拥有人和交通警察的批准。我所认识的主办方几乎都不曾取到体育委员会的批准。再来,警方和地方政府也不需要主办方取得体委会批准。

如果巴生国际马拉松比赛若没有取得体委会批准便是非法的话,那么马来西亚几乎所有赛事将被视为非法,包括超级马拉松,山径越野跑,义跑,公益赛跑及脚踏车活动等赛事。

(ii) 冠上“国际”标题的体育赛事必须获得青年及体育部的批准

主办单位往往因将自己的活动称为国际赛事而有可能惹上麻烦。

根据1997年体育发展法令第33条文, “未经事先获得部长的书面批准,任何单位都不得在马来西亚举办任何国际体育竞赛或活动,而部长拥有最终的决定权。”(参阅下图2)此法令的目的是为了确保政府将对国际级体育赛事提供支持和批准,但其意义后来也已经扩大到任何包含“国际”这个词汇的体育赛事。

图表2:1997年体育发展法案第33条文

我们也需进一步地厘清“国际”赛事的定义。若参赛者来自超过一个国家,我们是否就能称这项活动为“国际“赛事呢?若一项赛事的标题没有冠上“国际”的字眼,却成功吸引来自各个不同国籍的参赛者来报名的话,那它又是否落入国际赛事的定义呢?

(iii) 由政府部门,如青年与体育部参与和主办的体育赛事,并不意味主办方有遵循标准作业程序

许多跑步爱好者仍还记得刚于2017年10月1日举行的首届马来西亚马拉松比赛。除了马来西亚参赛者之外,这项赛事原本应该吸引来自中国的5000名参赛者。这项赛事的主办单位还包括旅游部,青年和体育部,吉隆坡市议会和Wisdom Sport,并获得马来西亚田径联合会的批准和许多政府机构和部门的支持(请参阅图3)。尽管获到了政府的大力支持,这场比赛最终还是被取消了,因为主办方(Wisdom Sports)无法兑现承诺,来吸引5000名中国参赛者报名这项赛事。(虽然所有参赛者的报名费都已经完全退还了,但是其他如飞机票或其他旅行费用却无法报销)。

图表3: 最终被取消的2017年马来西亚马拉松赛事的主办方和赞助商名单

即使这项赛事是获得马来西亚田径联合会(MAF) 批准,其实际的马拉松路线(42公里,21公里和10公里)在接受报名登记的时候一直都没有被公布。事实上,由于这条路线从来没有被公布,不禁让人怀疑马来西亚田径联合在不知道跑步路线下,如何采取必要程序来确保参赛者的安全,进而才顺利”批准”这项赛事。

其他获得政府赞助却被取消的赛事,包括2015年人力资源发展基金会(HRDF)半程马拉松赛(参赛者尚未获得退款) [3]和获得马六甲州政府支持却活动5天前临时被取消的2016马六甲国际世纪脚车赛。[4]

(iv) 大马体育委员会并没有专业能力来判断主办方有无能力举办活动

虽然法律规定体育委员会有权批准国内的跑步或马拉松赛事,但事实上,大马体育委员会并没有专业能力来判断主办方有无能力举办安全和高素质活动。体育委员会本身也是向相关体育项目的机构寻求协助。 若是跑步或马拉松赛事,马来西亚田径联合会(MAF)便是相关机构。据我所知,马来西亚田径联合会本身也不是活动主办方。他们只能向主办方提供技术上的建议和支援,包括跑步路线的适宜性,参赛者的安全,饮料补给站,参赛者的时间安排等。当然,最理想的情况是,马来西亚田径联合会可以为主办方提供赛事指引和标准程序,以确保成功举办高质量的赛事。但可惜的是,马来西亚田径联合会连一个官方网站或活跃的脸书专页也没有,因此我们根本无法得知它们是否有提供类似的指引。

若此属实,我们不禁好奇,大马体育委员会又是如何决定是否要遵循马来西亚田径联合会批准特定赛事的建议呢。

(v) 跑步参赛者有权知道若政府部门或体育委员会执行法案规定所将衍生的额外费用

过去曾听闻主办方在举办正规赛事前必须向马来西亚田径联合会支付一笔费用,以确保赛事的高质量(包括活动不允许取消和正当的安全标准)。如果实施这些费用的话,可能会转嫁给参赛者,即跑步爱好者来承担该最终费用。主办方和参赛者,有权知道马来西亚田径联合会如何善用被征收的额外费用,及这些法规如何能确保赛事有序进行。例如,马来西亚田径联合会是否会善用部分费用来为主办方举办培训课程呢?马来西亚田径联合会是否会用这一笔费用来 发展本地的田径体育项目呢?所有这些课题都需要以公开,透明的方式来让大家讨论和公布结果。

(vi) 1997年体育发展法案第36条文的内容过于空泛与笼统

大马青年和体育部所面临的挑战之一便是,上述第36条文所规定任何体育活动都必须获得体育委员会批准的要求过于空泛,笼统,模糊和不切实际。例如,如果我所拥有的一家公司想在我的住宅区范围内举办三对三的篮球比赛(需付参赛费用和设有比赛现金),那我是否需要征求体育委员会的批准?如果每间公司的任何体育赛事都需要获得这个批准,体育委员会的办公室相信每天都会被这些申请表格淹没。再来,这样的条规也会增加双方贪污贿赂的诱因,以获得赛事批准的方便。

针对跑步或马拉松赛事来谈,如果像是马来西亚Pacesetters跑步俱乐部,并非一间公司想要举办本地跑步赛事,是否仍然需要获得体育委员会的批准?若这是一个举办地方慈善义跑的非政府组织呢?如果这是一间与地方政府,州政府或联邦政府部门联合举办的活动呢?目前,政府的法规仍无法清楚地厘清这些疑点。

(vii) 青年及体育部在修正体育发展法案前必须与利益相关者进行深入的磋商

正如上述所显示,涉及马来西亚跑步或马拉松赛事的政府法规是相当复杂和多方面的。不幸的是,我们必须等到所谓的“国际”赛事发生了严重事故才能引起全国体育委员会和青年及体育部的关注。我曾在国会里提出是否有需要成立专门机构来监督本地的跑步或马拉松赛事呢? 我也挑起了青年及体育部和体育委员会在马来西亚马拉松赛事被取消的事件所扮演的角色。[5] 同时,我已经在国会上向青年及体育部副部长沙拉瓦南呈交涉及上述课题的问卷调查的结果。[6]

现在最迫切的是,部长需要与主办方,跑步俱乐部,州政府和国家田径联合会,地方政府,警方,志愿警卫队(RELA)和跑步社群的意见领袖进行会面和磋商,以决定最好的行动方案(包括修正“体育发展法案”),以便提高马来西亚跑步或马拉松赛事的质量。此外,我们也得特别关注骑自行车活动,因为这类动辄吸引上千人参与的活动在过去的5年左右经历了爆炸式增长。

我希望政府要避免采取机械反应,例如冻结所有在未来几周或几个月内举行的跑步或马拉松赛事,再透过体育委员会以随意方式来批准各项赛事。不如就让我们针对如何提高马来西亚跑步或马拉松赛事的质量进行诚恳,开放和有意义的讨论,以避免同样的悲剧事件再次发生。

[1] http://www.jomkitalari.com/kenyataan-media-pesuruhjaya-sukan-tentang-kemalangan-di-klang-city-international-marathon/

[2] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-calls-for-criminal-probe-of-klang-marathon-organisers#GOgUltJ3BskolDSK.97

[3] https://www.facebook.com/pg/HRDF-Half-Marathon-2015-819245831478966/posts/?ref=page_internal

[4] https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/10/183392/cyclists-fume-after-organisers-cancel-melaka-intl-century-ride-last-minute

[5] http://ongkianming.com/2017/09/09/media-statement-did-the-minister-of-youth-and-sports-khairy-jamaluddin-give-approval-for-the-organizing-of-the-recently-cancelled-malaysia-marathon/

[6] http://ongkianming.com/2017/08/01/media-statement-the-ministry-of-youth-and-sports-needs-to-do-more-to-improve-the-quality-of-running-events-in-malaysia/

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