(The Daily Express) - DAP on Saturday proposed a RM50 billion economic stimulus plan to counter the recession.
Its Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng claimed the proposal was more practical instead of the "Barisan Nasional's (BN) puny RM7 billion plan that Malaysians cannot see, cannot touch and cannot feel".
"No one knows how this BN's RM7 billion expansionary economic plan is going to help 27 million ordinary Malaysians. What we know is that the few BN cronies will benefit from a failed system that permits financial malpractices and abuses of power," he said.
Lim, who is Penang Chief Minister and MP for Bagan, was speaking at the DAP Sabah State Convention here.
He said the BN Government must wake up from its denial mode that Malaysia would not slip into recession following the global financial crisis.
He said the possibility of this happening cannot be denied since the country's third quarter economic growth this year showed that the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.7 per cent is the lowest quarterly growth in three years.
The second and first quarter growth was 6.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent, respectively, he said.
Lim said Malaysia must follow China's aggressive fiscal and monetary measures of fighting the oncoming economic recession and looking beyond towards economic recovery.
China had announced the largest economic stimulus plan of US$586 billion over two years. However, its 30 local governments had announced a larger US$3.5 billion spending over five years.
"With total US$4 trillion spent by China, this is almost double its international reserves of US$2 trillion," he said.
Comparatively, he said Malaysia's fiscal stimulus spending is only US$2 billion or RM7 billion, which is 2 per cent of the country's international reserves of RM343.8 billion (US$100 billion).
"What is RM7 billion in a budget of RM207 billion, so insignificant that the people cannot see, cannot touch and cannot feel any difference?" he asked.
According to him, the country's resources must be mobilised to fight the recession and prepare for a more prosperous future through good governance and an expansionary budget that is pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-poor.
He said DAP proposed a larger RM50 billion or US$14 billion expansionary budget, which is about 14 per cent of the nation's international reserves, so that Malaysians can see, touch and feel its effect.
It comprises a RM6,000 annual oil bonus to all families earning less than RM6,000 a month or RM3,000 annual bonus to bachelors earning less than RM3,000 a month, which would cost RM35 billion or a mere one-third of Petronas gross profits of RM107 billion last year.
It also includes a progressive reduction of corporate tax rate from the present 25 per cent to 17 per cent, which would cost RM13 billion, as well as a daily revision of petrol prices to take into account changes in the international price of oil.
DAP also proposed an immediate reduction in gas prices as well as electricity tariffs, which was increased by 26 per cent for businesses when the price of oil was US$124 per barrel to reflect the drop to around US$50 per barrel.
Lim said it would include an additional RM2 billion wireless project to make all major towns and cities in Malaysia wireless so that as many Malaysians as possible can be connected to the Internet.
"The expansionary budget must not only fight the recession but also invest in infrastructure projects such as extending transport, communications, and broadband coverage that allows us to look beyond the recession.
"With the infrastructure in place when the economy recovers, Malaysia can take full advantage. A free wireless for all Malaysians, much like the free wireless initiative by Penang to become the first wifi state in Malaysia, will help to attract both foreign investors and tourists," he said.
Lim said the time has come for ordinary Sabahans to benefit fully from the fruits of Malaysia and Sabah's economic growth.
He claimed Sabah was the worst State to live in Malaysia, the worst managed, has the second lowest water supply coverage, the highest population growth, the largest number of illegal immigrants, the highest poverty incidence, the poorest electricity/energy efficiency and supply besides being the least developed state in Malaysia.
He said Sabah also has the highest population growth rate in the country at 3.1 per cent compared to the national average of 2.3 per cent with former senator, Dr Chong Eng Leong alleging that there are around 1.75 million foreigners in Sabah today.
"The time has come for a people-centric government and people-oriented development strategy that allows Malaysians and Sabahans to directly benefit that they can see, touch and feel the difference," he said.