BALIK PULAU, Aug 26 – The government could not have implemented many development projects for the benefit of the people if it continued with its dependence on oil and gas resources at 41% each year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak. He said the move to diversify resources including the Goods and Services Tax had saved the national economy from a critical situation.
“When I took over the government, we depended on oil and gas resources by 41%. But today, our dependence is only 14% after we diversified our resources. Just imagine if we depended on 41% from oil resources like before and the price of oil crashed, what would happen to the national economy … the answer is, it would have been critical,” he said when opening the Balik Pulau Division UMNO delegates conference here today.
He said GST collections provided the government with RM41 billion and if it is stopped, it would lead to problems in the government administration. He said each year, the national budget is RM220 billion and the national development budget is estimated at RM45 billion anuually. He said if take away the GST collection, the nation almost has no allocation each year for development.
The Prime Minister said all the development efforts that have been implemented reflected the ability of the Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership in transforming the nation for the wellbeing of the people. Najib said the situation was different with the opposition which only made promises but did not keep them like the Penang DAP government which had previously promised that there would be no increase in water tariffs but had now raised the surcharge for water four times.
“You cannot hold on to what the opposition says, because they are not based on reality, but only to make people happy and for populist reasons to achieve their objective of gaining power,” he said. Najib, who is UMNO president, also blasted the opposition for exaggerating the issue of the Lynas factory in Pahang when they themselves were faced with the issue of illegal factories in Penang.
Najib said the issue of illegal factories in Sungai Lembu which allegedly polluted the environment and caused health problems was brought up by the PKR representative while the Lynas issue was never reported to have affected the health of the surrounding community as claimed by the opposition.
“The Lynas factory (issue) was exaggerated and made into an issue before the general election, as it allegedly caused the radiation problems, could cause the people to get cancer and die, but until today, nobody has died in Kuantan because of the Lynas,” he said.
Najib challenged the opposition to show evidence of any death or cancer cases which had been caused by the Lynas factory. “Please provide the evidence, dear opposition, of anyone who died or has cancer because of Lynas. Do not keep silent … people can fool you once but not twice,” he said.