KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 10 – Donations to “Tabung Harapan Malaysia” will be solely be utilised to settle government debts, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. “We won’t use it for any other purpose. It is not allowed,” he said.
If it is not enough, obviously the government will top up, “For instance, if we want to pay an instalment of about RM200 million, and as of now (Friday) the Tabung Harapan has RM50 million. So, the government will come up with the remaining sum,” he told Bernama in an interview.
On criticism by PAS that it did not resort to such measures despite the debts it had in Kelantan, Lim said:”I don’t know whether PAS has the right to talk about economic management.
“From the aspect of economic management, PAS has no good track record. In fact, Kelantan is among the states that are always in deficit and has to resort to borrowing from the Federal government.
“If they did not borrow from the Federal government, they will not be able to even pay the salaries of state government employees. So, I think PAS should put its house in order first. (You need to ) Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself truthfully.”
It is important to note that “Tabung Harapan Malaysia” was launched upon the rakyat’s initiative to lend support to the government after knowing that nation’s debt had reached RM1 trillion and not vice-versa.
The government established the fund to ensure that there was a systematic and transparent platform to safeguard all contributions and donations and that they were properly managed and organised.
The fund, which was launched on May 30, stood at RM54.89 million, as of June 9, 2018. The Finance Minister said the government will appoint an external audit firm to ensure transparency.
“Some quarters have suggested that we look for an external audit firm which will provide the service for free. I like this and I totally support (the idea). We have to look for an audit firm which will offer their services for free. We will be humbled by their gesture and thank them profusely,” he quipped.
Malaysians abroad have also urged the government to help foreign missions facilitate Tabung Harapan Malaysia donations. It was reported that Penang-born K. Gurunathan, who was elected as mayor of Kapiti Coast in Wellington, New Zealand, will chip in NZ$1,000 (about RM2,802) to the Tabung Harapan Malaysia.
“As a Malaysian, who left the racial politics, discrimination and corruption to seek a future in New Zealand, I appeal to the Malaysian diaspora in New Zealand and around the world to also support the campaign,” he was quoted as saying in several Malaysian media. There are between 700,000 and one million Malaysians living around the globe, with 18,000 in New Zealand alone, Gurunathan said. — Bernama