Dictator is NOT welcome! Democracy NOW for Thailand!

Joint Statement:

Dictator is NOT welcome!

Democracy NOW for Thailand!

 

1 Dec 2014

We, the undersigned organisations, condemn the Najib-led Malaysian Government for receiving the official visit of military coup leader from Thailand, Prayuth Chan-ocha. The reception for Prayuth is an act that recognises and lends legitimacy to the illegal government in Thailand which grabbed power through a military coup and suppression of democracy since May this year.

Prayuth Chan-ocha came into power last May, when he staged  a military coup against a democratically elected government. Martial law was declared, activists and dissidents were arrested and harassed by coup apparatus, an undemocratic interim constitution was introduced, and Prayuth appointed himself as the Prime Minister of Thailand without popular approval through democratic elections. Freedom of expression has been suppressed by the repressive National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) led by Prayuth.

The current coup has nothing to do with enhancing democracy and social justice in Thailand. Instead it only tightened the grip of dictatorial rule and has attempt to crush any democratic institution that exists. The coup is set to protect the interests of a section of the Thai ruling class who want to reduce the democratic space in order to consolidate their power. The military junta in Thailand has no interest in bringing about free and fair elections to solve the political crisis, and certainly will not protect freedom of expression which it sees as a threat to its rule.

Thai military has been notorious for ruthless crackdowns on democratic movements. The current military-installed government led by Prayuth is desperately seeking recognition and support from the international community to justify its ruthless dictatorship in Thailand. Accepting and receiving the visit of Prayuth means that the government of Malaysia is blindly expressing support for a military dictatorship and rubbing salt into the wounds of the people and democracy in Thailand.

We call upon the Malaysian government to stop recognizing the administration of Prayuth before the following condition is fulfilled:

- Immediate repeal of martial law in Thailand;

- Stop the crackdown and arrest of political dissidents in Thailand and free all the political prisoners;

- Restoration of the election process to let the people of Thailand choose their future government democratically;

Malaysia will be holding the chairmanship of ASEAN next year, and there is a need for the government of Malaysia to take the lead to get other governments of ASEAN together to condemn and assert pressure to bring back democracy in Thailand.

We also extend our solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Thailand to fight against the military dictatorship and for the restoration of democracy in Thailand.

Signed by:

1. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

2. Malaysia Support Group for Democracy in Thailand

3. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

4. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)

5. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

6. Committee for Asian Women (CAW)

7. Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)

8. KOMAS

9. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

10. Selangor and KL Hokkien Association Youth Section

11. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL (PRIHATIN)

12. Jihad for Justice

13. National Interlok Action Team (NIAT)

14. School of Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly, Treading Humbly (SALT)

15. Political Studies for Change (KPRU)

16. Pax Romana ICMICA

17. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters- HRDP in Burma

18. Free Trade Union, Sri Lanka

19.Globalisation Monitor, Hong Kong

Members of Parliament:

1. Chua Tian Chang, MP Batu

2. Charles Santiago, MP Klang

3. Jeyakumar Devaraj, MP Sungai Siput

4. Chang Lih Kang, ADUN Teja

Analisa dan Statistik KPRU bagi Belanjawan Negara 2015

Analisa Pertama

Sebagai Menteri Kewangan, Datuk Seri Najib Razak telah membentang Bajet 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 dan terkini Bajet 2015. Berikut ialah fakta penting mengenai kedudukan kewangan pemerintah, kedudukan makro ekonomi Malaysia dan pola perbelanjaan pemerintah sepanjang Najib menerajui tampuk pentadbiran negara.

Jadual KPRU: Kedudukan Kewangan Kerajaan Persekutuan

Tahun Hasil (RM bilion) Perbelanjaan Mengurus (RM bilion) Perbelanjaan Pembangunan Bersih (RM bilion) Defisit (RM bilion)
2010 159.653 151.633 51.296 -43.275
2011 185.419 182.594 45.334 -42.509
2012 207.913 205.537 44.327 -41.951
2013 213.370 211.270 40.684 -38.584
2014 a 225.094 221.112 41.273 -37.291
2015 ab 235.219 223.440 47.467 -35.688

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Sumber: Laporan-laporan Ekonomi, Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia.

Nota:

‘a’ merujuk kepada anggaran;

‘ab’ merujuk kepada anggaran Bajet..

Jadual KPRU: Defisit sebagai Peratusan KDNK

Tahun KDNK Harga Semasa (RM bilion) Defisit (RM bilion) Kadar Defisit (%)
2010 797.327 -43.275 -5.4
2011 885.339 -42.509 -4.8
2012 941.949 -41.951 -4.5
2013 986.733 -38.584 -3.9
2014 a 1,078.176 -37.291 -3.5
2015 u 1,175.703 -35.688 -3.0

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Sumber: Laporan-laporan Ekonomi, Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia.

Nota:

‘a’ merujuk kepada anggaran;

”u’ merujuk kepada unjuran.

Jadual KPRU: Pola Perbelanjaan Kerajaan Najib

Tahun Jumlah Perbelanjaan (RM bilion) Perbelanjaan Mengurus (RM bilion) Peratus Mengurus (%) Perbelanjaan Pembangunan Bersih (RM bilion) Peratus Pembangunan Bersih (%)
2010 202.929 151.633 74.72 51.296 25.28
2011 227.928 182.594 80.11 45.334 19.89
2012 249.864 205.537 82.26 44.327 17.74
2013 251.954 211.270 83.85 40.684 16.15
2014 a 262.385 221.112 84.27 41.273 15.73
2015 ab 270.907 223.440 82.48 47.467 17.52

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Sumber: Laporan-laporan Ekonomi, Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia.

Nota:

‘a’ merujuk kepada anggaran;

‘ab’ merujuk kepada anggaran Bajet.

Jadual KPRU: Kadar Pertumbuhan Ekonomi

Tahun Kadar Pertumbuhan (%) Kadar Defisit (%)
2010 7.2 -5.4
2011 5.1 -4.8
2012 5.6 -4.5
2013 4.7 -3.9
2014 5.5 – 6.0 -3.5
2015 5.0 – 6.0 -3.0

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Nota:

KDNK mencatatkan 6.3% dalam tempoh separuh pertama 2014.

Jadual KPRU: PNK per kapita

Tahun Pendapatan Negara Kasar (RM juta) Penduduk (juta) PNK per kapita (RM)
2010 770,994 28.589 26,969
2011 863,533 29.062 29,713
2012 905,899 29.518 30,690
2013 952,607 29.916 31,843
2014 a 1,049,538 30.262 34,682
2015 u 1,148,003 30.625 37,486

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Sumber: Buletin Statistik Bank Negara dan Laporan Ekonomi Kementeria Kewangan.

Nota:

‘ea merujuk kepada anggaran;

‘u’ merujuk kepada unjuran.

Jadual KPRU: Hutang Kerajaan Persekutuan (Ikut Tempoh Baki Matang)

Tahun Hutang Kerajaan Persekutuan (RM bilion) KDNK Harga Semasa (RM bilion) Hutang Kerajaan Persekutuan sebagai peratusan   KDNK (%)
2009 362.386 712.857 50.84
2010 407.101 797.327 51.06
2011 456.128 885.339 51.52
2012 501.617 941.949 53.25
2013 539.858 986.733 54.71
2014 aa 568.893 1,078.176 52.76

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Sumber: Buletin Statistik Bank Negara dan Laporan Ekonomi Kementerian Kewangan..

Nota:

‘aa’ merujuk kepada angka awalan pada suku kedua.

Jadual KPRU: Hutang Luar Negeri sebagai Peratusan KDNK (Definisi Terdahulu)

Tahun Hutang Luar Negeri yang Belum Dijelaskan (RM bilion) KDNK Harga Semasa (RM bilion) Hutang sebagai peratusan KDNK (%)
2010 227.072 797.327 28.5
2011 257.364 885.339 29.1
2012 252.752 941.949 26.9
2013 324.088 986.733 32.8
2014 aa 335.572 1,078.176 31.1%

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Sumber: Buletin Statistik Bank Negara dan Laporan Ekonomi Kementerian Kewangan..

Nota:

‘aa’ merujuk kepada angka awalan pada suku kedua.

Jadual KPRU: Hutang Luar Negeri sebagai Peratusan KDNK (Definisi Semula)

Tahun Hutang Luar Negeri yang Belum Dijelaskan (RM bilion) KDNK Harga Semasa (RM bilion) Hutang sebagai Peratusan KDNK (%)
2010 434.278 797.327 54.5
2011 537.456 885.339 60.7
2012 602.060 941.949 63.9
2013 696.610 986.733 70.6
2014 aa 728.847 1,078.176 67.6

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Sumber: Buletin Statistik Bank Negara dan Laporan Ekonomi Kementerian Kewangan..

Nota:

‘aa’ merujuk kepada angka awalan pada suku kedua.

Analisa Kedua

Analisa kedua ini mempamerkan Jadual-jadual KPRU berkenaan dengan pola peruntukan pembangunan kasar kepada semua kementerian.

Angka tahun 2011 hingga tahun 2013 adalah perbelanjaan sebenar sementara angka tahun 2014 dan tahun 2015 adalah anggaran peruntukan.

Berdasarkan Jadual-jadual KPRU di bawah: -

9 kementerian menunjukkan peruntukan pembangunan kasar berkurangan pada tahun 2015 berbanding tahun 2014:

Kementerian Kewangan

Kementerian Luar Negeri

Kementerian Perusahaan Perladangan dan Komuniti

Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan

Kementerian Pengangkutan

Kementerian Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi

Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan

Kementerian Kesihatan

Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia

15 kementerian menunjukkan peruntukan pembangunan kasar meningkat pada tahun 2015 berbanding tahun 2014:

Jabatan Perdana Menteri

Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani

Kementerian Kemajuan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah

Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar

Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Indsutri

Kementerian Kerja Raya

Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air

Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan

Kementerian Kesejahteraan bandar, Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan

Kementerian Belia dan Sukan

Kementerian Sumber Manusia

Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat

Kementerian Pertahanan

Kementerian Dalam Negeri

Kementerian Pendidikan

 

 

Jadual KPRU: Jabatan Perdana Menteri

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 9,952 NIL NIL
2012 7,502 -2,450 -24.61
2013 7,753 +251 +3.35
2014 10,581 +2,828 +36.48
2015 13,035 +2,454 +23.19

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

 

 

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Kewangan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 775 NIL NIL
2012 1,497 +722 +93.16
2013 1,570 +73 +4.88
2014 1,361 -209 -13.31
2015 950 -411 -30.20

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

 

 

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Luar Negeri

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 78 NIL NIL
2012 83 +5 +6.41
2013 77 -6 -7.23
2014 205 +128 +166.23
2015 155 -50 -24.39

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

 

 

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Perusahaan Perladangan dan Komoditi

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 101 NIL NIL
2012 629 +528 +522.77
2013 1,078 +449 +71.38
2014 713 -365 -33.86
2015 421 -292 -40.95

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 816 NIL NIL
2012 1,166 +350 +42.89
2013 1,283 +117 +10.03
2014 1,668 +385 +29.96
2015 1,781 +113 +6.77

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

 

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Kemajuan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 8,198 NIL NIL
2012 7,044 -1,154 -14.08
2013 4,464 -2,580 -36.63
2014 4,108 -356 -7.97
2015 4,525 +417 +10.15

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 1,570 NIL NIL
2012 1,400 -170 -10.83
2013 1,490 +90 +6.43
2014 1,374 -116 -7.79
2015 1,584 +210 +15.28

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 605 NIL NIL
2012 808 +203 +33.55
2013 817 +9 +1.11
2014 689 -128 -15.67
2015 716 +27 +3.92

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 37 NIL NIL
2012 60 +23 +62.16
2013 32 -28 -46.67
2014 41 +9 +28.16
2015 32 -9 -21.95

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Kerja Raya

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 2,777 NIL NIL
2012 3,736 +959 +34.53
2013 3,412 -324 -8.67
2014 3,586 +174 +5.10
2015 3,838 +252 +7.03

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Pengangkutan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 3,962 NIL NIL
2012 4,150 +188 +4.75
2013 3,336 -814 -19.61
2014 3,910 +574 +17.21
2015 3,347 -563 -14.40

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 1,373 NIL NIL
2012 1,851 +478 +34.81
2013 1,617 -234 -12.64
2014 1,966 +349 +21.58
2015 2,586 +620 +31.54

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 482 NIL NIL
2012 497 +15 +3.11
2013 652 +155 +31.19
2014 618 -34 -5.21
2015 611 -7 -1.13

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 138 NIL NIL
2012 230 +92 +66.67
2013 378 +148 +64.35
2014 284 -94 -24.87
2015 318 +34 +11.97

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 184 NIL NIL
2012 1,642 +1,458 +792.39
2013 934 -708 -43.12
2014 1,271 +337 +36.08
2015 710 -561 -44.14

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Kesihatan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 1,958 NIL NIL
2012 1,785 -173 -8.84
2013 1,718 -67 -3.75
2014 1,662 -56 -3.26
2015 1,598 -64 -3.85

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Kesejahteraan Bandar, Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 1,137 NIL NIL
2012 1,557 +420 +36.94
2013 1,199 -358 -22.99
2014 1,543 +344 +28.69
2015 2,015 +472 +30.59

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Belia dan Sukan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 297 NIL NIL
2012 278 -19 -6.40
2013 206 -72 -25.90
2014 174 -32 -15.53
2015 415 +241 +138.51

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Sumber Manusia

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 374 NIL NIL
2012 651 +277 +74.06
2013 764 +113 +17.36
2014 574 -190 -24.87
2015 594 +20 +3.48

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 937 NIL NIL
2012 847 -90 -9.61
2013 421 -426 -50.30
2014 593 +172 +40.86
2015 353 -240 -40.47

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 181 NIL NIL
2012 149 -32 -17.68
2013 33 -116 -77.85
2014 107 +74 +224.24
2015 203 +96 +89.72

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Pertahanan

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 3,280 NIL NIL
2012 2,766 -514 -15.67
2013 3,281 +515 +18.62
2014 2,745 -536 -16.34
2015 3,618 +873 +31.80

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Dalam Negeri

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 856 NIL NIL
2012 751 -105 -12.27
2013 595 -156 -20.77
2014 647 +52 +8.74
2015 783 +136 +21.02

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Pendidikan (Pelajaran)

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 3,929 NIL NIL
2012 3,553 -376 -9.57
2013 1,104 -2,449 -68.93
2014 1,530 +426 +38.59
2015 1,637 +107 +6.99

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Jadual KPRU: Kementerian Pendidikan (Pendidikan Tinggi)

Tahun Perbelanjaan Pembangunan (RM juta)

 

Perubahan (RM juta) Peratus Perubahan (%)
2011 2,392 NIL NIL
2012 2,249 -143 -5.98
2013 2,959 +710 +31.57
2014 2,505 -454 -15.34
2015 2,637 +132 +5.27

Hak cipta © KPRU 2014

Unearthing Najib’s Budget Patterns

The 2015 National Budget is dawning upon us, coincidentally it is also the last budget of the 10th Malaysia Plan. It also signifies the sixth ever budget under the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Last but not least, this is a budget that is 6 years away from our ex-Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad’s grand vision of Wawasan 2020 and it will be remembered as a “GST Budget” – the implementation of the Good and Service Tax (GST) as a new tax regime in Malaysia – to reduce continuous fiscal deficit in the federal budget over past sixteen years.

There is always a huge media coverage whenever the Minister of Finance announces the country’s budget, but perhaps like every other news in Malaysia, attention span given by the rakyat from all classes are at most, minimal. Typically, the parliamentary debate on federal budget both at the policy as well as committee stages will usually last about two months. During the committee stage of the debate, the contents are usually relatively boring, this in turn leads to the rakyat’s focus on the issue dissipated with the passage of time.

Consequently, if some hidden crucial details are not being unearthed within first three weeks after the announcement of the budget, chances are the parliamentarians may not have the exposure it needed to elevate the issue to the rakyat’s eyes; or because of the nature of the budget is esoterically drafted, therefore the media will find difficulties in digesting it over such a short time span, and turn into a news worthy of reporting.

Nevertheless, a closer examination of the budget will still shed light on some of the policy and approach that is exclusive to Najib’s budget. Before delving deeper into the issue, there is a need to bring ourselves back in time in order to discern the pattern which is embedded in his budget all along.

Former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi presented his last national budget on 29th August 2008. 19 days later, on the 17th of September 2008, he passed on his duty as the finance minister to the then, Defence Minister, Najib Razak. Responding to the news of the transfer of power, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange suffered a backlash, the Composite Index fell by 39.70 points, or 3.96 percent, to 963.29 points. As a result, the 2009 National Budget was not presented by Najib although he was the finance minister at that time. Since then, Najib was officialy sworn in as the Prime Minister and concurrently Finance Minister on the subsequent year. Thus, Najib tabled a total of five national budgets which is 2010 till 2014 under his premiership. On 10th October 2014, Najib will talble his sixth national budget, i.e. Budget 2015.

When the global financial crisis happened so suddenly during the third quarter of 2008, which coincidentally occurs just after Najib took over the post, this proves to be a big test on our prime minister’s economic capability. He responded to the challenge by introducing a series of economic stimulus package, including passing a 2009 supplementary budget which increases the government expenditure hoping to stir Malaysia away from the crisis. Since then, although the country has not faced similar economic hardships similar to the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, or the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, Najib’s regime still habitually presenting and passing supplementary budgets in the parliament. In the mean time, the Federal Government continues having fiscal deficit.

Najib’s annual budget has a few similar characteristics, which is reflected on the nation’s fiscal deficit, debt, and the passing of supplementary budget itself. Despite the warning given by the international financial reporting that our national debt has reached 55% of our GDP threshold, but government’s economic report still set out the tone that the Federal Government debt is still well below the 55% threshold and therefore within manageable level. It is undeniable there is no accountability from the government’s side in dealing with the Federal Government debt problem faced by Malaysia right now.

In the latest edition of the Edge Weekly dated October 6th – October 12th, 2014, Mahathir has said in his interview, by referring to 1MDB – or “1Malaysia’s Debt of Billions”, as described by the Opposition Leader Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim – that “when the government stands guarantee, it is equivalent to government borrowings”, and that “the debts are too high. It is not very transparent.”

Similarly, when the national budget was tabled each year, the worrisome data of fiscal deficit will hit the headlines of all if not most of the media outlets. However, the frustrating part is there is hardly any serious debate or discussion in the mainstream media on why with the increase in national income each year, the country is still living beyond their financial depth. Adding on the fact that how the supplementary budget was used as a political tool by a regime trying hard to manage increasing Federal Government debt does not get a fair share of reporting is equally bewildering. Malaysia will continue to worry herself with ever burgeoning debt crisis, but never bother to think of why was she in this precarious juncture at the first place.

It is a norm that under the premiership of Najib, there will always be two supplementary budgets each year followed closely after the national budget, as if the spending of the first was never enough (nevermind the actual national budget).

Supplementary budget was originally a tool to exercise it in time of crisis, when substantial government intervention was needed to kick start the economy. However, it will only serve to push the country to the brink of another financial crisis with the fiscal debt shows no sign of declining. Given that the state has not experienced any economic turmoil, and society is still largely peaceful and safe from natural disaster. The onus should falls on the government to be prudent on its spending to ensure there are sufficient capital to maneuver around if a crisis is ever around the corner, yet we see supplementary budget still preposterously being passed in the parliament.

A crisis as subtle as this could exacerbated by a suddenly unforeseen financial collapse. Malaysia’s irresponsible and non-transparent debt could give rise to the volatility of our financial system, and it is akin to a bubble waiting to burst.

Till this year October, Najib has proposed a total of 6 annual national budgets, as well as 11 supplementary budgets . Although, the 2009 National Budget was proposed by Abdullah Badawi, but, the 2009 controversial supplementary budgets was indeed proposed by Najib. The first was RM10 billion and the second was RM11.4 billion.

Recently, Parliament had passed two supplementary budgets i.e. the Supplementary Supply (2013) Bill 2014 in March 2014 and the Supplementary Supply (2014) Bill 2014 in June 2014. The former is a budget that is meant to supplement the financial year of 2013 and it was tabled in 2014. The latter is a budget that is meant to supplement the financial year of 2014 and it was also tabled in 2014. The first supplementary budget of 2013 is up to RM15 billion, the second is RM3 billion. The first supplementary budget of 2014 is RM4.6 billion. Will the second supplementary budget of 2014 be tabled early next year?

Since Najib is in power, every year there are always two supplementary budget. Therefore, we boldly predict that the treasury will finance the second half of 2014, by presenting the second supplementary budget. This has always been the trait of Najibnomics under Najib’s budget features.

Another feature of Najib’s distinctive budget, is the ever rising operational expenditure, and operational expenditure accounted for a high proportion of the total cost of the budget. Generally, high income advance countries would allocate its total cost of budget more on operational expenditure than development expenditure. The developing countries would spend more on development expenditure given its vastly untapped potential.

Malaysia is ranked among the middle income nations. Theoretically, government in the preparation of the budget, should given more attention on the development expenditure rather than the operational expenditure. Unfortunately, Najib’s budget is inclined on allocating more towards operational expenditure. The first budget he proposed during 2010 has a ratio of 75 : 25 between operational expenditure and net development expenditure. The next budget is even more disproportionate and has a ratio of 80 : 20. The 2012 Budget has an operating expenditure accounted for 82%, and net development expenditure accounted for only 18%. Both the 2013 and 2014 Budget have estimated operating expenses accounted for 84% while estimated net development expenditure accounted for only 16%!

This tells us conclusively that whether is the debt-ridden problem, the fiscal deficit, or the passing of supplementary budget, Najib lacks the discipline of a prudent financial minister to govern the country’s economy. Furthermore, he lacks the political will to initiate a change in our unhealthy allocation between operational and development expenditure. Although at times like this, an ill-advised budget might not have a severe effect towards the country, but this does not mean that there were not any hidden risk that will affect the country and rakyat’s future.

Ineffective Budget Scrutiny

National budget presentation is a premier parliamentary occasion held during the third sitting of parliament each year. Although Malaysia’s state-run television broadcasts half an hour of the morning’s Question Time in the Parliament, it is selective broadcast wherein the live broadcasting would be intercepted whenever the cabinet member is confronted or questioned by an opposition member of Parliament (MP). Nevertheless, during the first Friday of the third meeting of the Parliament each year, state-run television would then broadcast any information and issue related to national budget since afternoon while awaiting the budget presentation by Prime Minister cum Finance Minister, Najib Razak at 4pm on that particular Friday.

For this year, 10th October 2014 will be the “Budget Day” of Malaysian Parliament. People from all walks of life are, more or less, expecting for the announcement of new measures that are beneficial to their own interest.

According to the proceedings set this year, three days before the Budget Day, there will be First reading of the budget in the Parliament. A First reading is the first stage of a Bill’s passage through the Parliament, where only the short title of the Bill is read out and it takes place without debate. The important proceedings kickstart only during the Second reading of the budget. On the first day i.e. during Budget Day, a Second reading is wherein the key principles and main purpose of a bill is introduced, and thereafter the MPs are given their first opportunity to debate the main principles and to flag up any concerns or specific issues.

Parliamentary term for Budget is known as Supply Bill. During the First reading, only the title “2015 Supply Bill” is read out and the budget reports and estimates are not presented yet. Therefore, MPs especially those from the opposition have no access to the detailed report beforehand. For those MPs who are from the ruling party, if any of them got the opportunity to access to the report prior to the actual budget presentation and moreover leak it out, it is in fact a violation of the Official Secrets Act 1972, and such violation is not protected under the parliamentary privilege enjoyed by MPs.

This is the difference between a “Supply Bill” and an ordinary bill. On the first reading of an ordinary bill, all MPs can already access to the bill to prepare for their “participating in the legislation process” on the second reading. As for the “Supply Bill”, MPs can only access to the budget contents on the first day of second reading (which is on the day of Budget Presentation itself, i.e. the Budget Day) and thereafer participating in the legislation process not less than two days as set by the Standing Orders of the Parliament.

On the first day of the Second reading, all MPs will get at least five important official budget documents. The first document is the text of budget content which will be presented and enunciated by the Finance Minister, introducing the government’s plans concerning fiscal, economic and social policy (the budget) for the forthcoming year — this is also commonly known as the “Budget Speech”.

However, the “Budget Speech” does not comprise all the policies and measures that will soon be introduced and implemented for the next fiscal year. For instance, the previous Budget Speech did not even mention about the cutting sugar subsidies but it was “hidden” in another official documents.

The second document is the thickest among all the budget documents, it is the estimates and details of the allocations and projects of every ministry. The third one is regarding the national macroeconomics, which is a report of national economy of the past, current trends and future prospects. The fourth is the details of federal government’s income sources and forecast. Last but not least, the fifth document is the actual financial expenditures of the federal government, containing information on government finances and related matters in the previous year.

Generally, the last two documents will be ignored by the media, as well as the MPs due to time constraint. After the Budget Day, MPs, especially the Leader of the Opposition can only grasp the weekends (Saturday and Sunday) to go through all these five documents quickly, to research, analyze and study the related data and issue, and finally come out with his/her budget speech for the debate session on the very Monday.

The policy debate session will be held from 13th to 30th October, and after that from 3rd to 6th November, every cabinet member will answer the questions and doubts raised by the MPs, as well as to response to their criticisms and suggestions. In short, this is the deliberation sessions of policy stage. The conclusion of policy stage does not lead to the Third reading of “Supply Bill” directly. This is because before the Third reading, the bill has to be deliberated in detail at the committee stage, and this will be carried out from 10th to 25th November.

This article aims to introduce the proceedings of the “Supply Bill”, and whenever a national budget is tabled in the Parliament, the focus is neither merely on the Budget Day itself, nor the Budget Speech, not even the highlights of the media coverage. This article attempts to articulate that the advantages and disadvantages of the entire proceedings within the institutional design will undeniably affect the role of MPs in their participation in the legislation process.

When a national budget that is dominated by the executive power is brought to and tabled in the Parliament, how is it being scrutinized and questioned by the legislative power, or in other words, how MPs participate in the legislation process has become particular significant to highlight how the cabinet system can give weight to the public opinion. Hence, it is necessary for those civil organizations, which always stress on the public opinion, to recognize the operation of the Parliament, and to focus on how the public opinion being delivered and conveyed, as well as on how the legislative power to effectively scrutinize the executive power.

As a starting point, we should question the effectiveness of such a system of institutional design that only give two days to the first batch of MPs, three days to the second batch, four days to the third batch and five days to the forth batch, to get ready to participate in the legislation process, in conveying public opinion and in ensuring that executive power is being scrutinized by the legislative power.

This article further questions the deliberation session of committee stage between Second and Third reading of “Supply Bill”. By following the parliamentary tradition in Malaysia, the deliberation sessions of both policy stage and committee stage are being carried out in the Parliament hall. In other words, the committee stage at the Parliament/ House of Representative is in fact a full-house-style committee, i.e. Committee of the Whole.

Unfortunately, the national budget consists of all details and elements of government’s income and ministries’s fundings, allocations and expenditures, which further involved complicated technicalities and complex details, can hardly be studied and inspected comprehensively and thoroughly within the institutional design of a Committee of the Whole in the Parliament. That is to say, not only that the MPs can hardly play their legislative role to introduce a new law, but even at the level of “participating in the legislation process”, they fail to play their essential role effectively.

Under such circumstances, the limitations of such a system of institutional design have rendered the Parliament a mere rubber stamp of the cabinet, given that the budget approved by the Dewan Rakyat or the House of Representative is actually drafted by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and finalized by the cabinet.

Clearly, when legislative institution fails to make legislation, and does not even able to participate in legislative process effectively, it can merely act as a rubber stamp. This is the institutional drawback. How to transform it in terms of institutional design is thus a crucial part for parliamentary reform.

This article argues that in order to enable the legislative institution to throw off the shackle of being a rubber stamp, the institutional reform should be done from the committee stage. The full-house-style committee is in favor of the executive-led legislative process, but not conducive for the legislative power to play its role in participating in the legislative process.

On the contrary, it is also essential to explore on how to add to existing design a new institutional arrangement that enables cabinet members, together with the civil servants to be held accountable to the Parliament collectively, as to play their role legitimately through demonstrating the credibility of executive power, and through manifesting the public opinion and public participation of legislative mechanisms.

Thus, this article advocates that the budget deliberations session, particularly regarding the detailed estimates for each ministry, should be referred to newly established estimates committees, consisting of appropriate select committees and standing committees for extensive and in-depth consideration. Let the professionals handle it in a professional way, and let it be separated from politics. An absolute separation, nonetheless, will create other problems, and neither will be practical. There must be space remained between professional and politics for interaction, and the tension in between created by the new institutional design will be even more conducive to highlight the importance of legislative power.

Such a proposition goes beyond partisan politics and instead aiming to strengthen the role of legislative power, and adding significance to budget scrutiny. To those civil organizations vigorously talking about public opinion, are you ready to push for such reform agenda?

The provision of the Article 43(3): “The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament” in the Federal Constitution is the basic connotation of the representative system that actually operates in Malaysian Parliament. In doing so, cabinet members, as well as ministries, can be held accountable to the people’s representative or “wakil rakyat“. In order words, in the context where legislative power is overpowered by executive power, executive power can still be held responsible to legislative power, and hence be held accountable to the people or Rakyat.

In the light of such basic connotation, the committee stage is the key. The best description of the characteristics of budget is that “the devil is always hidden in the details”. Hence, Malaysian Parliament needs estimates committees consisting of small committees wherein different groups of small number of specialised professionals appointed to deal with particular areas or issues of different ministries, in order to look at individual aspects of the budget in detail and to have independent analytical capacity at its disposal to scrutinize the budget.

Over the years, the budget had been approved in the Parliament in a rough manner and the financial legislation had then be made. Civil organizations, either of those stress on public opinion or emphasize on reform movement, should not shun away from parliamentary reform. To advocate small scale committee that is of non-full-house-style for the deliberations at the committee stage is the starting point for such parliamentary reform.

From Waste to Energy

Think-tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) expresses its disappointment over the government’s stubborn intention to build nuclear power plants and making nuclear energy an alternative source for energy generation in this country, despite witnessing several crises that hit nuclear power plants, as well as the following spread of radiation and public health hazard– including the explosion at the southern French nuclear facility of Marcoule and the Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster — which are more than enough to address and stress on the major unresolved issues revolving the safety of nuclear facilities.

In early August, the newly appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mah Siew Keong, who is also in charge of overseeing Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC), had announced that a new bill to supervise and regulate nuclear or atomic energy in accordance with the standards and guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is now being drafted and expected to be tabled in the coming Parliament sitting this year. Moreover, he had also made a statement earlier in July that the government will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study on a proposal to build a nuclear power plant in Malaysia in 10 years time, in which would comprise of public acceptance and input from experts and non-governmental organizations, and would be tabled in cabinet once it is readied.

Indeed, the government’s unwillingness to learn a lesson from the experiences of other countries that are far more advanced than Malaysia, either economically or in terms of technological innovation, is discouraging. The connection between public safety and health, and nuclear energy has already been highlighted through the incidents that have been mentioned above and should never be undermined.

It is even unwise to continue with the plan of building nuclear power plants while Germany — which ranked sixth in global energy consumption between 2004 and 2007, and was once Europe’s largest consumer of electricity in 2002 — have already gradually shutting down its nuclear power plant as to eliminate and phase out current use of nuclear power by 2022 and be replaced by renewable .energy.

In India, The newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written in an op-ed for Wall Street Journal. Accepting that the challenges before him are dauting, Modi writes, “When I think of the growth in computing power and storage capacity and its miniaturization that the world has witnessed over the past two decades, I am confident that this can be replicated in renewable energy. With solar and wind power, thousands of Indian villages will be able to get access quickly to reliable, affordable and clean energy, without waiting for large, faraway conventional power plants to be built.”[1]

In this light, KPRU particularly urges the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water to reveal the energy generation mix as transparent as possible, as the related data is not merely essential to drive and veer the future direction of national energy policy in order to ensure sufficient, efficient and safe energy supply, but crucially to justify the need for building nuclear power plants for power supply.

Although KPRU does not deny the urgency to shift the energy generation that based around non-renewable sources, such as fossil fuels, to greener energy production; this does not mean that nuclear power can be an option, before a more strategic green energy solution to energy shortage is being mapped out.

Instead, Malaysia government should now explore the waste-to-energy (WtE) technology and its potential — to generate power from solid waste, given that the palm oil industry produces large amounts of solid waste from empty fruit bunches (EFB), kernels and fibres, and also in view of the increasing solid waste resulted from the failure of 3R (Recycle, Reuse and Reduce) project introduced by the government. Besides leading to a substantial reduction in the overall waste quantities requiring final disposal, this technology is essentially a form of energy recovery, wherein electricity and heat, as well as commodities such as diesel fuel will be produced directly through combustion.

 

[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/I-draw-confidence-from-stories-of-ordinary-Indians-Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-writes-in-Wall-Street-Journal/articleshow/43503470.cms?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=TOI

Please refer to the Malay edition for a complete report, the English edition is merely a summary of the report. Full report: http://kprumalaysia.org/2014/09/27/sebelum-nuklear-bangunkan-teknologi-waste-to-energy/

Sebelum Nuklear, Bangunkan Teknologi Waste-to-Energy

Dewan Rakyat kembali bersidang pada 7 Oktober 2014. Selain Belanjawan Tahunan yang menjadi fokus seluruh negara, beberapa Rang Undang-Undang (RUU) yang mungkin dibentangkan untuk bacaan kali pertama juga bakal menjadi tumpuan.

Pada awal bulan Ogos, Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Mah Siew Keong, yang dipertanggungjawabkan untuk menyelia Perbadanan Tenaga Nuklear Malaysia (MNPC) telah mengeluarkan kenyataan bahawa Rang Undang-undang (RUU) Kawal Selia Tenaga Atom yang kini masih berada di peringkat draf memberi penekanan terhadap aspek keselamatan penggunaan tenaga atom selaras dengan garis panduan yang ditetapkan Agensi Tenaga Atom Antarabangsa (IAEA) dijangka dibentang di Parlimen hujung tahun ini.

Lebih awal lagi pada Julai lalu, beliau juga menyatakan bahawa pemerintah bakal menjalankan kajian kebolehlaksanaan berhubung cadangan membina loji tenaga nuklear dalam tempoh 10 tahun. Kajian komprehensif yang merangkumi aspek penerimaan masyarakat, input daripada pakar dan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan itu akan dibentangkan kepada Kabinet selepas laporan berkenaan siap disediakan.

Kenyataan-kenyataan tersebut begitu jelas menunjukkan niat pemerintah untuk membina loji janakuasa tenaga nuklear dan menjadikan tenaga nuklear sebagai salah satu sumber tenaga alternatif di Negara kecil ini, biarpun menyaksikan krisis yang melanda beberapa loji janakuasa tenaga nuklear, termasuklah insiden letupan di Marcoule di Perancis dan Fukushima Daichii di Jepun pada tahun 2011, yang mana cukup membunyikan penggera terhadap keselamatan kemudahan penjanaan tenaga nuklear.

Sebelum tercetusnya krisis-krisis di loji janakuasa tenaga nuklear seperti yang dinyatakan di atas, pemerintah dilaporkan pada Disember 2010 bahawa ia bercadang untuk membina dua buah loji tenaga nuckear bagi memenuhi permintaan tenaga yang semakin meningkat, dengan sebuah loji dibina menjelang tahun 2021 dan loji kedua setahun kemudian. Di samping itu, pemerintah juga menyatakan bahawa lapan lokasi di Semenanjung Malaysia telah dikenalpasti bagi pembinaan loji tersebut.

Menurut Ketua Pengarah Agensi Nuklear Malaysia pada masa itu, iaitu Datuk Dr Daud Mohamad, lapan lokasi itu bagaimanapun masih lagi dalam kajian untuk dipilih sebagai lokasi sesuai yang memenuhi kriteria sebelum diumumkan oleh pemerintah. Antara kriteria bagi kawasan yang bersesuaian termasuklah berhampiran dengan sumber air, mempunyai struktur tanah yang berbatu keras dan kawasan yang tidak mudah banjir. Sekiranya kawasan terpilih itu berkependudukan, maka mereka akan dipindah manakala kawasan yang sudah dibangunkan turut akan dipindah.[1]

Pengamatan badan pemikir Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU) mendapati, wujud sikap ketidaksanggupan pemerintah untuk mengambil iktibar dan pengajaran daripada pengalaman Negara-negara lain yang jauh lebih maju daripada Malaysia, sama ada dari segi ekonomi mahupun dari segi pencapaian inovasi dan teknologi. Lebih membimbangkan, rakyat Malaysia telahpun banyak kali menyaksikan tragedi akibat kecuaian dan kelalaian dalam projek pembinaan, misalnya runtuhan bumbung Stadium, siling hospital, malahan lebuh raya. Baru-baru ini, kemalangan di tapak projek Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), yang mana runtuhan landasan konkrit MRT telah meragut tiga nyawa pekerja berbangsa Bangladesh.

Adakah negara ini berkemampuan menangani kemalangan yang tidak berbau sedemikian sekiranya berlakunya apa-apa ketidaktentuan di loji reaktor nuklear, yang mana mungkin disebabkan oleh rentakan dinding, mentapan tanah ataupun runtuhan bumbung, seperti mana yang berlaku dalam projek-projek di bawah pengendalian dan pemantauan pemerintah Malaysia?

Kekeliruan fakta punca bekalan tenaga elektrik

Alasan bahawa kebergantungan kepada arang batu, malah arang batu import sebagai sumber dalam penjanaan tenaga elektrik yang semakin meningkat merupakan faktor tenaga nuklear dijadikan pilihan sebagai sumber tenaga yang mampan adalah kurang menyakinkan bagi merasionalisasikan keperluan pembinaan loji janakuasa tenaga nuklear dalam negara ini.

Menurut jawapan bertulis bagi soalan parlimen pada 20 Jun 2012 berhubung pecahan penggunaan bahan api untuk penjanaan elektrik, dimaklumkan oleh Menteri Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air bahawa 44.7% menggunakan arang batu, 42.5% berasaskan gas, 3.7% berasaskan minyak, 3.4% berasaskan distillate, dan 5.7% berasaskan hidro. Menteri turut memaklumkan bahawa menjelang tahun 2020, adalah dianggarkan bahawa sebanyak 60% bekalan elektrik akan dijana daripada sumber arang batu, 23% gas, 15% hidro dan 2% daripada sumber Tenaga Boleh Baharu.[2]

Walau bagaimanapun, kajian dan penelitian KPRU mendapati jawapan Menteri Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air adalah agak berbeza dengan laporan analisis Pentadbiran Informasi Tenaga Amerika Syarikat (U.S. Energy Information Administration, EIA) yang dikemaskini pada September 2013[3] mengenai penjanaan elektrik dan kapasiti di Malaysia. Laporan tersebut menunjukkan bahawa sebahagian besar kapasiti penjanaan tenaga adalah bergantung pada gas asli, biarpun ia turut memberi penekanan bahawa kekurangan gas asli di Semenanjung Malaysia dan permintaan tenaga elektrik semakin meningkat kebelakangan tahun ini telah merangsang penggunaan bahan api lain seperti arang batu, diesel dan hidroelektrik, tetapi gas asli masih merupakan penyumbang terbesar dalam penjanaan tenaga elektrik.

Carta berikut menunjukkan kapasiti penjanaan elektrik di Malaysia pada tahun 2012 yang disediakan oleh pihak EIA, di mana jelas kelihatan arang batu dan gas asli menyumbang hampir 90% daripada jumlah kapasiti tenaga yang dijana di Malaysia. Khususnya, gas asli mencakupi kira-kira 51% daripada jumlah bekalan tenaga pada tahun 2012 (menurut data PFC Energy) dan 43% pada tahun 2011 (menurut data TNB).

2

Sumber: U.S. Energy Information Administration[4]

Dalam hal ini, Menteri Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air perlu memberi penjelasan dan membekalkan data secara transparensi berhubung penggunaan bahan api untuk tujuan penjanaan elektrik. Hal ini bukan sahaja mustahak bagi mengarahkan halatuju dasar dan strategi tenaga negara agar memastikan bekalan tenaga yang mencukupi, efisien lagi selamat, malahan bagi menjustifikasikan keperluan membina loji janakuasa tenaga nuklear sebagai punca bekalan tenaga elektrik baru. Lebih-lebih lagi, memandangkan Jerman yang merupakan antara pengguna tenaga yang terbesar di dunia (menduduki tempat keenam dalam penggunaan tenaga global dari tahun 2004 hingga 2007), juga bertekad menghentikan kesemua penjanaan dan penggunaan tenaga nuklear menjelang tahun 2022 dan digantikan dengan tenaga yang boleh diperbaharui.

Teknologi Waste-to-Energy, alternatif popular

Pada pendapat KPRU, tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa penjanaan tenaga dengan menggunakan sumber yang tidak boleh diperbaharui seperti bahan api fosil seharusnya digantikan secara beransuran, tetapi loji janakuasa tenaga nuklear bukan satu-satunya jalan penyelesaian. Sebaliknya, teknologi dan kaedah yang menggunapakaikan sisa pepejal seperti batang, pelepah dan tandan buah kelapa sawit kosong sebagai sumber penjanaan tenaga, yang mana lebih umum dikenali sebagai waste-to-energy atau energy-from-waste (WtE) patut diberi pertimbangan dan perhatian terlebih dahulu, khususnya memandangkan sisa pepejal yang semakin meningkat akibat kegagalan projek 3R (Recycle, Reuse and Reduce) untuk mendapatkan sahutan hangat dalam kalangan masyarakat.

Menurut kenyataan Menteri Kesejahteraan Bandar, Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan pada April lalu, jumlah sisa pepejal dalam negara ini bertambah pada kadar 3.7% secara purata setiap tahun.[5] Situasi sebegini sekali gus memberi kesempatan kementerian terbabit untuk merasionalisasikan pembinaan insinerator bagi tujuan pelupusan sisa pepejal yang semakin membukit dan dijadikan alasan untuk projek pembinaan di kawasan perumahan.

Untuk makluman semua, teknologi WtE adalah satu bentuk pemulihan tenaga di samping kemudahan pengurusan sisa pepejal dan pembersihan awam yang merawat sisa, di mana tenaga elektrik dan haba, mahupun komoditi bahan api seperti diesel akan dihasilkan. Berbanding dengan menghantar sisa pepejal ke tapak pelupusan atau insinerator untuk dimusnahkan begitu sahaja, teknologi seumpama mampu mengubah dan memanfaatkan bahan buangan itu yang pada asalnya beban kemudian dirawat dan dijadikan aset, dan sekali gus menyumbang kepada pemeliharan dan pemuliharaan alam sekitar serta kesihatan.

KPRU berpendapat bahawa teknologi WtE boleh dipertimbangkan sebagai alternatif dalam penjanaan tenaga dan bukan bagi tujuan pengurusan sisa pepejal dan pembersihan awam sahaja, agar ia berpeluang memainkan peranan yang lebih penting lagi berpengaruh dalam sektor penjanaan tenaga, seperti yang dibuktikan kelebihannya di luar negara termasuk Denmark, Jerman, Singapura dan sebagainya.

Jadual berikutan menunjukkan bilangan loji WtE di luar negara, khususnya di negara Eropah yang boleh dikatakan sebagai perintis dalam bidang tersebut.

Negara Bilangan Loji WtE
Austria 12
Belgium 16
Czech Republik 3
Denmark 29
Finland 6
Perancis 127
Jerman 79
Hungary 1
Ireland 1
Italy 54
Netherlands 13
Norway 15
Slovakia 2
Portugal 3
Sepanyol 11
Switzerland 30
United Kingdom 31
Amerika Syarikat 86
Jepun (Tokyo sahaja) 21
Singapura 5

Sumber: Waste to Energy State of The Art Report; International Solid Waste Association (ISWA); Energy from Waste, Working Group on Thermal Treatment of Waste

Di Negara Denmark yang hanya mempunyai kira-kira 5.6 juta populasi, terdapatnya 29 buah loji sedemikian untuk berkhidmat kepada 98 majlis perbandaran setakat tahun 2010. Di Majlis Perbandaran Horsholm yang terletak di Copenhagen, masyarakat setempat bergantung kepada loji itu untuk membekalkan 80% tenaga haba dan 20% tenaga elektrik.[8] Di negara jiran Singapura, loji WtE yang terbesar, iaitu Loji Tuas Selatan (Tuas South Plant) mampu mengendali lebih kurang 3,000 tan sisa pepejal dan menjana 150 MWh tenaga elektrik setiap hari, di mana 80% daripada kapasiti penjanaannya dijual manakala 20% yang selainnya digunakan bagi memenuhi permintaan loji itu sendiri. Bersama-sama dengan tiga lagi loji WtE yang lain dalam negara Singapura, sejumlah 2,688 MWH elektrik dijana setiap hari dengan memanfaatkan 7,475 tan sisa pepejal.[9]

Selain itu, negara-negara yang menggunapakai teknologi penjanaan tenaga daripada sisa pepejal juga didapati mempunyai kadar kitar semula yang lebih tinggi secara perbandingan dengan negara lain. Misalnya, menurut pengurus jabatan pengurusan sisa pepejal dan sumber di Jabatan Alam Sekitar Kebangsaan Singapura, daripada 19,862 tan sisa pepejal yang dihasilkan setiap hari secara purata, 60% daripadanya ataupun 11,846 tan adalah dikitar semula, 7,455 tan dihantar ke kemudahan loji WtE dan 541 tan yang selebihnya atau 3% sisa pepejal yang tidak dapat dilupuskan dihantar ke tapak pelupusan.[10]

Dalam kalangan negara maju pula, Switzerland merupakan negara yang mencapai kadar kitar semula yang tertinggi, di mana setinggi 52% sisa pepejal dikitar semula. Ini diikuti oleh Austria 49.7%, Jerman 48%, Netherlands 46% dan Norway yang berada di kedudukan kelima dengan kadar kitar semula 40%.[11]

Meninjau kembali situasi di Malaysia, adalah dukacita dimaklumkan bahawa Malaysia pada ketika ini hanya mencatatkan kadar kitar semula 10.5% sahaja sedangkan sisa pepejal yang dijanakan sehari mencecah 33,000 tan — suatu angka yang berlipat ganda dalam tempoh kurang daripada satu dekad (Malaysia menjana 17,000 tan sisa pepejal sehari secara purata pada tahun 2005).[12] Hal ini mengakibatkan sebanyak 95% hingga 97% daripada sisa pepejal yang dikutip di Semenanjung Malaysia terpaksa dibuang ke tapak pelupusan begitu sahaja, manakala sekadar kira-kira 3% hingga 5% diproses di kilang kitar semula.[13]

Kesimpulan

KPRU ingin bertanya, adakah loji janakuasa nuklear diperlukan sebagai sumber tenaga alternatif dalam negara ini sedangkan berpuluh-puluh ribu tan sisa pepejal yang dijanakan sehari tidak dimanfaatkan sepenuhnya sebagai aset punca penjanaan tenaga? Adakah pemerintah begitu berkeyakinan dalam menghadapi ketidaktentuan yang mungkin berlaku pada loji janakuasa nuklear dan seterusnya menangani akibat pencemaran yang tidak terukur keparahannya, yang mana juga gagal ditangani oleh negara besar maju seperti Jerman dan Jepun? Persoalan-persoalan seumpama harus diambil pertimbangan serious dan sewajarnya sebelum keputusan dibuat. Rakyat didahulukan, begitulah berbunyinya slogan yang dilaung-laungkan oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak sebelum ini, dan sesungguhnya ia harus dijadikan pegangan dalam pelaksanaan dasar negara ini.

[1] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/145224

[2] http://www.kettha.gov.my/portal/index.php?r=kandungan/parlimen_view&menu1_id=5&menu2_id=19&parlimen_id=173#.U_WSzrEYA_Z

[3] http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=MY

[4] http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=MY

[5] http://swm-environment.com/swmbulletin/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1427:sisa-pepejal-meningkat-37&catid=16:general-news&Itemid=66

[6] http://wte.kpkt.gov.my/

[7] http://wte.kpkt.gov.my/wte_microsite_pg05.html

[8] http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/stories/europe-uses-household-waste-for-clean-energy

[9] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/05/22/waste-energy-singapore-s-experience.html

[10] http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/05/22/waste-energy-singapore-s-experience.html

[11] http://www.energydigital.com/greentech/1751/Which-Countries-Are-Best-at-Recycling

[12] http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/Dalam_Negeri/20120919/dn_22/Kadar-kitar-semula-masih-rendah

[13] http://www2.nst.com.my/nation/general/boosting-recycling-rates-1.330549

Ineffective Budget Scrutiny: A Proposal for Reform

National budget presentation is a premier parliamentary occasion held during the third sitting of parliament each year. Although Malaysia’s state-run television broadcasts half an hour of the morning’s Question Time in the Parliament, it is selective broadcast wherein the live broadcasting would be intercepted whenever the cabinet member is confronted or questioned by an opposition member of Parliament (MP). Nevertheless, during the first Friday of the third meeting of the Parliament each year, state-run television would then broadcast any information and issue related to national budget since afternoon while awaiting the budget presentation by Prime Minister cum Finance Minister, Najib Razak at 4pm on that particular Friday.

For this year, 10th October 2014 will be the “Budget Day” of Malaysian Parliament. People from all walks of life are, more or less, expecting for the announcement of new measures that are beneficial to their own interest.

According to the proceedings set this year, three days before the Budget Day, there will be First reading of the budget in the Parliament. A First reading is the first stage of a Bill’s passage through the Parliament, where only the short title of the Bill is read out and it takes place without debate. The important proceedings kickstart only during the Second reading of the budget. On the first day i.e. during Budget Day, a Second reading is wherein the key principles and main purpose of a bill is introduced, and thereafter the MPs are given their first opportunity to debate the main principles and to flag up any concerns or specific issues.

Parliamentary term for Budget is known as Supply Bill. During the First reading, only the title “2015 Supply Bill” is read out and the budget reports and estimates are not presented yet. Therefore, MPs especially those from the opposition have no access to the detailed report beforehand. For those MPs who are from the ruling party, if any of them got the opportunity to access to the report prior to the actual budget presentation and moreover leak it out, it is in fact a violation of the Official Secrets Act 1972, and such violation is not protected under the parliamentary privilege enjoyed by MPs.

This is the difference between a “Supply Bill” and an ordinary bill. On the first reading of an ordinary bill, all MPs can already access to the bill to prepare for their “participating in the legislation process” on the second reading. As for the “Supply Bill”, MPs can only access to the budget contents on the first day of second reading (which is on the day of Budget Presentation itself, i.e. the Budget Day) and thereafer participating in the legislation process not less than two days as set by the Standing Orders of the Parliament.

On the first day of the Second reading, all MPs will get at least five important official budget documents. The first document is the text of budget content which will be presented and enunciated by the Finance Minister, introducing the government’s plans concerning fiscal, economic and social policy (the budget) for the forthcoming year — this is also commonly known as the “Budget Speech”.

However, the “Budget Speech” does not comprise all the policies and measures that will soon be introduced and implemented for the next fiscal year. For instance, the previous Budget Speech did not even mention about the cutting sugar subsidies but it was “hidden” in another official documents.

The second document is the thickest among all the budget documents, it is the estimates and details of the allocations and projects of every ministry. The third one is regarding the national macroeconomics, which is a report of national economy of the past, current trends and future prospects. The fourth is the details of federal government’s income sources and forecast. Last but not least, the fifth document is the actual financial expenditures of the federal government, containing information on government finances and related matters in the previous year.

Generally, the last two documents will be ignored by the media, as well as the MPs due to time constraint. After the Budget Day, MPs, especially the Leader of the Opposition can only grasp the weekends (Saturday and Sunday) to go through all these five documents quickly, to research, analyze and study the related data and issue, and finally come out with his/her budget speech for the debate session on the very Monday.

The policy debate session will be held from 13th to 30th October, and after that from 3rd to 6th November, every cabinet member will answer the questions and doubts raised by the MPs, as well as to response to their criticisms and suggestions. In short, this is the deliberation sessions of policy stage. The conclusion of policy stage does not lead to the Third reading of “Supply Bill” directly. This is because before the Third reading, the bill has to be deliberated in detail at the committee stage, and this will be carried out from 10th to 25th November.

This article aims to introduce the proceedings of the “Supply Bill”, and whenever a national budget is tabled in the Parliament, the focus is neither merely on the Budget Day itself, nor the Budget Speech, not even the highlights of the media coverage. This article attempts to articulate that the advantages and disadvantages of the entire proceedings within the institutional design will undeniably affect the role of MPs in their participation in the legislation process.

When a national budget that is dominated by the executive power is brought to and tabled in the Parliament, how is it being scrutinized and questioned by the legislative power, or in other words, how MPs participate in the legislation process has become particular significant to highlight how the cabinet system can give weight to the public opinion. Hence, it is necessary for those civil organizations, which always stress on the public opinion, to recognize the operation of the Parliament, and to focus on how the public opinion being delivered and conveyed, as well as on how the legislative power to effectively scrutinize the executive power.

As a starting point, we should question the effectiveness of such a system of institutional design that only give two days to the first batch of MPs, three days to the second batch, four days to the third batch and five days to the forth batch, to get ready to participate in the legislation process, in conveying public opinion and in ensuring that executive power is being scrutinized by the legislative power.

This article further questions the deliberation session of committee stage between Second and Third reading of “Supply Bill”. By following the parliamentary tradition in Malaysia, the deliberation sessions of both policy stage and committee stage are being carried out in the Parliament hall. In other words, the committee stage at the Parliament/ House of Representative is in fact a full-house-style committee, i.e. Committee of the Whole.

Unfortunately, the national budget consists of all details and elements of government’s income and ministries’s fundings, allocations and expenditures, which further involved complicated technicalities and complex details, can hardly be studied and inspected comprehensively and thoroughly within the institutional design of a Committee of the Whole in the Parliament. That is to say, not only that the MPs can hardly play their legislative role to introduce a new law, but even at the level of “participating in the legislation process”, they fail to play their essential role effectively.

Under such circumstances, the limitations of such a system of institutional design have rendered the Parliament a mere rubber stamp of the cabinet, given that the budget approved by the Dewan Rakyat or the House of Representative is actually drafted by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and finalized by the cabinet.

Clearly, when legislative institution fails to make legislation, and does not even able to participate in legislative process effectively, it can merely act as a rubber stamp. This is the institutional drawback. How to transform it in terms of institutional design is thus a crucial part for parliamentary reform.

This article argues that in order to enable the legislative institution to throw off the shackle of being a rubber stamp, the institutional reform should be done from the committee stage. The full-house-style committee is in favor of the executive-led legislative process, but not conducive for the legislative power to play its role in participating in the legislative process.

On the contrary, it is also essential to explore on how to add to existing design a new institutional arrangement that enables cabinet members, together with the civil servants to be held accountable to the Parliament collectively, as to play their role legitimately through demonstrating the credibility of executive power, and through manifesting the public opinion and public participation of legislative mechanisms.

Thus, this article advocates that the budget deliberations session, particularly regarding the detailed estimates for each ministry, should be referred to newly established estimates committees, consisting of appropriate select committees and standing committees for extensive and in-depth consideration. Let the professionals handle it in a professional way, and let it be separated from politics. An absolute separation, nonetheless, will create other problems, and neither will be practical. There must be space remained between professional and politics for interaction, and the tension in between created by the new institutional design will be even more conducive to highlight the importance of legislative power.

Such a proposition goes beyond partisan politics and instead aiming to strengthen the role of legislative power, and adding significance to budget scrutiny. To those civil organizations vigorously talking about public opinion, are you ready to push for such reform agenda?

The provision of the Article 43(3): “The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament” in the Federal Constitution is the basic connotation of the representative system that actually operates in Malaysian Parliament. In doing so, cabinet members, as well as ministries, can be held accountable to the people’s representative or “wakil rakyat“. In order words, in the context where legislative power is overpowered by executive power, executive power can still be held responsible to legislative power, and hence be held accountable to the people or Rakyat.

In the light of such basic connotation, the committee stage is the key. The best description of the characteristics of budget is that “the devil is always hidden in the details”. Hence, Malaysian Parliament needs estimates committees consisting of small committees wherein different groups of small number of specialised professionals appointed to deal with particular areas or issues of different ministries, in order to look at individual aspects of the budget in detail and to have independent analytical capacity at its disposal to scrutinize the budget.

Over the years, the budget had been approved in the Parliament in a rough manner and the financial legislation had then be made. Civil organizations, either of those stress on public opinion or emphasize on reform movement, should not shun away from parliamentary reform. To advocate small scale committee that is of non-full-house-style for the deliberations at the committee stage is the starting point for such parliamentary reform.