Instead of focusing on a particular race, budget 2015 should focus on the poor and needy.

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan when defending the Bumiputera agenda during budget 2015 said that the government has no intention of being racist and argued that Malaysia can only advance when 70 percent of its population advances.

Why should the budget focus only on one particular race when it should be the poor and needy that need to be taken care o f?

The poor and needy does not comprise of only one particular race but cut across all races. There are poor Malays staying in kampungs, poor Chinese staying in new villages, poor Indians staying in estates and poor Kadazans staying in villages. By setting the agenda to help one particular race, some of the poor and needy are bound to left behind.

Instead of formulating race based policies, Putrajaya should implement policies on a need basis. Why focus only on the 70 percent when we could actually focus on the 100 percent?

Malaysia can only move forward when no Malaysian are left behind. Malaysia can only advance when 100 percent of its population advances.

I urge the government to start formulating a more inclusive policy so that all deserving Malaysians will benefit from it.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 23 Oct 2014

Did Gerakan take only half the sachet of “Tongkat Ali” hence having only half the effect – taking action against own party member but disregard the racist and unMalaysian remark by Zainuddin Maidin.

Last week, Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong said the 1Malaysia campaign, which appears to have run out of steam since the last general election, needed a lift similar to the aphrodisiac root tongkat ali, so that the campaign could be “long lasting”.

It has been three days since former UMNO minister Zainuddin Maidin put up his blog post – “Memang benar Melayu pun pendatang” but there have been thunderous silence from Gerakan leaders on his blog posting.

Why did Gerakan only take action against their own party member that make the “pendatang” remark but totally disregard when an UMNO former minister made even more racist and unMalaysian remark?

Did Gerakan take only half the sachet of “Tongkat Ali” recommended by its President Mah Siew Keong hence having only half the effect?

Mah Siew Keong is no where to be seen during the press conference announcing the suspension of Gerakan member Tan Lai Soon. Gerakan Vice President Dominic Lau boasted that Gerakan is the first party that dare to suspend its member for making the “pendatang” remark. As the party leader, why is Mah Siew Keong absent when announcing such a “historic” decision by Gerakan?

This proves that Mah Siew Keong is even a weaker and indecisive leader compare to his predecessor Koh Tsu Koon. Maybe the phobia of UMNO branch members tearing up Koh Tsu Koon’s poster into pieces is still haunting Mah Siew Keong. Hence Mah choose not to speak up against UMNO’s racist and unMalaysian remark.

Gerakan’s stand that “We are all Malaysians and no Malaysian is a “pendatang” or an immigrant” will be discarded like rubbish if Gerakan continues to stay silent on Zainuddin’s racist remark.

If the traditional herb doesn’t work for Gerakan, Gerakan might want to consider viagra which was prescribe by Najib for MCA during the MCA Annual General Assembly last December.

With this double boost, will Gerakan finally stand up against UMNO, telling UMNO to censure and take action against Zainuddin?

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 22 Oct 2014

Call to postpone the implementation of GST indefinitely – not only Malaysians are not ready, even Barisan Nasional is not ready!

The Royal Malaysian Customs Department revealed the number of companies that have registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) stood at 94,943 as at October 17. Reports estimated that there were some 300,000 businesses in Malaysia with turnovers above half a million ringgit that must register for the GST by 31 Dec 2014.

Astonishingly, the government only set a target of 140,000 registered companies by year end which is not even half of the number of companies required to register for GST. Even by setting such a low target, Deputy Finance Minister Chua Tee Yong has confessed last month that the Government’s target of 140,000 registered companies by year end was still way off.

This proves that Malaysians are not ready for the implementation of the GST. The government has failed to provide enough information and assistance to help Malaysian companies with the transition phase from SST to GST.

It is not only Malaysians are not ready, even Barisan Nasional is not ready for the GST implementation!

Prime Minister Najib Razak in his 2015 budget speech mentioned that RON95 and diesel will be exempted from GST (dikecualikan cukai). His announcement was interpreted as RON95 and diesel will be zero-rated. However RON95 petrol and diesel do not appear in the recently released list of GST exempt or zero-rated items.

Wong Poh Geng, a tax director at the accounting and professional services firm, said in a Deloitte Seminar yesterday that legislation on GST exemption for RON95 petrol and diesel is incomplete.

I urge Najib to immediately clarify if RON95 and diesel will be a GST exempt or zero-rated product.

It is completely unthinkable that such huge uncertainty had not been dealt with in the Budget announcement. Putrajaya must immediately finalise the GST exempt list and zero rated item list. With five months into the implementation of GST, not only Malaysians are not ready, it is evident that even Barisan Nasional is not ready for GST.

I call on Najib to postpone the implementation of GST indefinitely and give Malaysians for time to prepare for this transition period.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 21 Oct 2014

Gerakan must be consistent and press for action against all “pendatang” remarks.

Following the “pendatang” remark, Gerakan has suspended the membership of Tan Lai Soon and issued him a show-cause letter.

The first question that comes to everyone mind is, “Why did Gerakan take more than 24 hours to realise Tan Lai Soon had made a racist remark?” If Tan Lai Soon had made a racist remark, he should have been reprimanded by the speaker or refuted by party leaders on the spot when making that remark.

Gerakan deputy president Cheah Soon Hai denied that the party gave in to external pressure to suspend Tan Lai Soon. Given the circumstances and timeline of the suspension decision, one would find it hard to believe that Gerakan did not bow to UMNO’s pressure.

Former UMNO Minister Zainuddin Maidin had also said in a blog post that it is true that Malays are also “pendatang”. Will Gerakan dare to stand up against UMNO and press for action against Zainuddin’s unMalaysian remark? Failure in which would expose Gerakan’s hypocrisy and double standards against all “pendatang” remarks.

This is a critical litmus test for Gerakan to prove that they can uphold their party’s stand – “We are all Malaysians and no Malaysian is a “pendatang” or an immigrant.”

Gerakan must be consistent and demand UMNO to suspend Zainuddin’s membership and issue him a show-cause letter.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 20 Oct 2014

Malaysians now pay higher than market price for RON 95, how will the RM 35.6 billion fuel subsidy savings be spent?

In my media statement yesterday, I have argued that the 11.71% drop in oil prices is more than the 10.85% of RON95 subsidy. Therefore it is safe to assume that the current market price for RON95 is lower than the RM2.30 per litre Malaysians are now paying.

AmResearch has released a report on fuel subsidy confirming my suspicion that Malaysians are indeed paying a higher than market price for RON95. The report estimated the breakeven of the global crude oil price is at an average of USD84.80 per barrel if RON95 remains at RM2.30 per litre without government subsidy.

With Brent closing at USD84.47 yesterday, Malaysians are now effectively paying fuel tax for RON95.

The AmResearch report also estimated a 10% reduction in global crude oil could potentially reduce overall fuel subsidies to about RM35.6 billion. With global oil plummeted more than 11%, Putrajaya must be transparent on how will the RM35.6 billion fuel subsidy savings be spent?

In Budget 2015 Putrajaya has estimated to collect a total of RM17.3 billion of transport related taxes in the form of excise duty(RM8 billion), car sales tax(RM4.5 billion), import duty(RM1.1 billion) and vehicle licenses(RM2.4 billion).

With car owners already paying such a huge sum of transport related taxes, Putrajaya must immediately pass on the fuel subsidy savings to the people.

I urge Putrajaya to reduce the price of RON95 and diesel with immediate effect.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 17 Oct 2014

Global oil prices plunged more than 11% since 1 October, are we now “subsidising” the government for RON95?

Global oil prices continue to plunge with Brent hitting a low of USD83.13 today. This is an 11.71% drop compare to the Brent price on 1 October at USD94.16 when the government announce the fuel hike in Malaysia.

Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism ministry had earlier issued a statement on 1 October confirming that the market price for RON95 was RM2.58 and the government is subsidising RM0.28 per liter of RON95.

The RM0.28 subsidy represents 10.85% of the RON95 market price on 1 Oct. It should be noted that the 11.71% drop in Brent price since 1 October is even higher than the 10.85% fuel subsidy government is providing.

With Brent plummeting 11.71%, it is safe to assume that the market price for RON95 is now lower than the RM2.30 per litre Malaysians are now paying.

Ron95 is now cheaper than RM2.30 without fuel subsidy. Are Malaysians now “subsidising” the government for RON95?

Putrajaya claimed that the government will still need to bear RM 21billion of subsidy after the petrol hike. With the drop in oil prices, Putrajaya must now answer where is the RM21 billion and how will the money be spent?

Putrajaya must not delay further and immediately reduce the price of RON95 to avoid Malaysians paying a higher than market price for petrol.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 16 Oct 2014

Call for education contributions to be granted tax rebate

The 2015 Budget tabled by Prime Minister Najib last Friday allocated 450 million to national schools and 50 million each to Chinese and Tamil primary school. This is a glaringly unfair education budget allocation.

Over the years, the Chinese community and Indian community have personally donated to Chinese and Tamil primary schools due to insufficient funding from the government. This has potentially resulted in “double taxation” as the communities are forced to pay an additional “education tax” after paying “income tax”.

Putrajaya must be fair in allocating education budget after collecting taxes from the people. If Putrajaya cannot allocate a fair education budget, they should allow tax rebates for all types of “education contributions” to avoid “double taxing” the people.

I suggest the “education contributions” granted for tax rebates to include donations to all types of primary and secondary schools including National schools, Chinese Primary schools, Indian Primary schools, National secondary schools and Chinese Independent schools.

Under Malaysia Income tax Act 1967 Section 6A (3), Muslims can get a tax rebate from paying zakat. IRB chief executive officer Dr Mohd Shukor Mahfar in 2011 explained that this is to avoid double taxing the Muslims as zakat is a compulsory donation for Muslims.

Going by the same argument, due to the unfair education funding resulting in “double taxing” the Chinese and Indian communities, all “education contributions” should also get tax rebates.

I call on parliament to amend the Income Tax Act 1967 in order to include “education contributions” into the tax rebate. Let us solve the controversy of unfair education funding once and for all.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 15 Oct 2014

Global oil prices hit four-year low – call for the government to pass on the subsidy savings to the people and reduce RON95 and diesel price

As reported by Bloomberg, global oil prices fell to a four-year low on Monday, hitting an intraday low of USD87.74 per barrel for Brent. This is the lowest level seen by Brent since Dec 2010.

When Putrajaya announced the fuel hike for RON95 and diesel on 1 Oct, Brent oil was at a price of USD94.16. The Brent has slid even further since then and the intraday low of USD87.74 represents a 6.8% drop of price since 1 Oct.

I urge the government to pass on the subsidy savings to the people and immediately announce a reduction in RON95 and diesel price to reduce the burden of the people.

It should be further noted that the 6.8% drop of global oil price is even higher than the 6% GST rate to be implemented starting next year.

Prime Minister Najib can boast about not imposing GST on RON95 and diesel. However, if he fail to reduce the prices of RON95 and diesel in line with the fall in global oil price, Putrajaya is effectively imposing a higher than GST rate on RON95 and diesel based on the latest global oil price.

I have previously quoted a Reuters report on 3 October that energy analyst all agreed that global oil price will continue to fall in 2015. This has forced energy analyst to make the largest downward revision to their oil price forecast in almost two years.
In anticipation of the falling oil prices persisting into 2015, I urge Najib to review the price of RON95 and diesel every fortnight in line with the falling global oil prices.

Malaysians deserve to enjoy cheaper fuel price especially at a time when global oil prices are tumbling and Malaysians are now having a tough time to put bread on the table due to the rising cost of living.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 14 Oct 2014

Is Liow Tiong Lai suffering from compulsive lying disorder when he denied that the Prime Minister had said the Chinese community should not make demands and then support Pakatan Rakyat?

MCA President Liow Tiong Lai was caught pants down for the second time when he blatantly lied in a press conference. The first time in 2011, when he claimed that the police did not shoot tear gas and water cannon into the Tung Shin Hospital compound during the Bersih 2.0 rally. This was despite the fact that numerous photos evidence and witnesses prove otherwise.

Yesterday, Liow Tiong Lai was caught lying for the second time when he denied the Prime Minister Najib Razak had said the Chinese community should not make demands and then support Pakatan Rakyat.

Let me quote what Liow Tiong Lai said in the press conference yesterday,

“The online report was twisted, they like giving a negative image (of the government). We were all there at the assembly, we heard clearly the prime minister’s positive response to MCA’s proposals.

“He clearly said that MCA fights to raise the Chinese community and that he hoped (the Chinese) would continue to support BN, and not the opposition.”

This could not be further from the truth as videos on Najib’s speech which has been widely circulated online since yesterday has shown otherwise. Najib was heard saying the below in his speech,

“You can’t demand and then support DAP. You can’t demand and then support PR. You demand, you support BN, we will be fair to the Chinese.”

It is indisputable that Najib had said the above word for word in the video recording.

Is Liow Tiong Lai suffering from compulsive lying disorder that he could now lie with ease and find comfort in it?

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 13 Oct 2014

Najib must stop manipulating Bumiputera equity figure to justify pro umno cronies policies

Yesterday, Najib announced in his budget speech that the Bumiputera corporate equity ownership is around 10%. This announcement by Najib contradicted earlier statement by Minister in Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar on 12 June 2014, that Bumiputera equity ownership stood at 24%. How could the figure change so drastically in less than 4 months time? Is Najib manipulating Bumiputera equity figure to justify his pro UMNO cronies policies?

Najib must explain how did he ended up with the 10% Bumiputera equity ownership. Is Najib trying to imply that non-Bumiputera owns the rest of the 90% equity? This could not be further from the truth as the government shareholding and foreign equity has not been accounted for.

Putrajaya has in the past conveniently left out the government equity and foreign equity when making announcement on the Bumiputera equity figure. This has spurred unwarranted calls from quarters to increase the Bumiputera equity target to 70% which is wishful thinking. Unless the government reduces its equity holdings and restricts foreign equity ownership, the 70% Bumiputera equity target is unrealistic and unachievable.

I urge Najib to come clean on the Bumiputera equity figure and reveal the methodology to calculate the figure. Putrajaya has in the past used par value instead of market value when calculating the Bumiputera equity figure. This is misleading and has incorrectly understated the true Bumiputera equity figure.

In accounting and finance, par value refers to the value stated in the memorandum of association where the company is prohibited to sell the shares below this value during initial offering. Par value has absolutely no relationship to the market value of the shares.

Let us use Apple Inc as an example to show how absurd it is to use par value to calculate the Bumiputera equity figure. Apple Inc has a total outstanding 5.988 billion shares, and the market price per share is USD100.73, making it the largest company in the world in terms of market capitalisation at USD603.17 billion. However, Apple Inc only has a par value of USD0.00001 per share.

If Apple Inc were to be wholly owned by Malaysian Bumiputera, based on Putrajaya’s methodology of using par value, the total equity owned will be a mere USD 59,880 (RM 191,616). In which a handphone shop selling iPhone might be even worth more than it.

I urge Najib to stop using Bumiputera equity figure as a smokescreen to continue dishing out more shares to UMNO cronies. Malaysians are now suffering due to the rising living cost and it will not help the poor by giving out more shares to the already wealthy UMNO cronies.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 11 Oct 2014