Anwar’s New Policies Target Wage Growth and Corruption Reduction

Anwar’s New Policies Target Wage Growth and Corruption Reduction

PUTRAJAYA: The Prime Minister emphasized that the country will be blessed if the practice of plundering public funds to enrich oneself and small groups can be stopped immediately.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that the Unity Government inherited the country in a difficult state, including high national debt, which some parties seemed to try to ignore.

Citing tax collection, he stressed that for every ringgit of tax collected, about 16 cents go towards paying interest on the debt. This does not yet include the principal debt inherited from previous governments.

“To solve this within a year is impossible. But if there are clear policies and a clear commitment to stopping the practice of plundering public funds and enriching oneself and small groups, then, God willing, we will be blessed.

“In the economic turmoil, every government action is precious in defending the fate and freedom of the majority of the people. This is what I want to emphasize: the need for the public to understand that we must stop the practice of robbing the nation’s resources for the wealth of a small group,” he said.

The Prime Minister added that while he could easily add new debt, he chose not to because the impact would be on future generations. “Young people need to understand that every irresponsible, wasteful, corrupt government action that spends recklessly will burden the next generation.

“Therefore, accountability in the financial system is essential, including tax reforms that are progressive and do not burden the majority of the people, whether B40 or M40,” he explained.

Addressing Corruption to Strengthen the Economy

Anwar identified systemic corruption as a primary issue, weakening the nation’s economy and eroding public confidence. He stressed the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability, highlighting the cessation of non-transparent direct negotiations in government procurement to prevent waste and corruption.

He emphasized that this is why, from the beginning, he has been adamant about fighting corruption because, before addressing structural problems, the core issue of corruption must be dealt with immediately.

“Weak governance and systemic corruption from the top level, the middle level, down to the grassroots. We face this issue at every level. People are burdened by the behaviors of a few who still want to collect commissions before any approval is granted.

“Therefore, I stress the issue of corruption because it is the main cancer weakening the nation’s economy and lowering people’s morale and confidence,” he said.

He added that in its first year of administration, the Unity Government also emphasized the need to stop the practice of direct negotiations in government procurement.

“For so long, non-transparent direct negotiations have wasted public funds and exposed them to corruption. This has been stopped.

“Some people question why the government has not immediately punished those still involved in corruption if it is true that corruption is rampant. We must all understand that the legal process and court proceedings need to be free and take time. This must be respected by all parties,” he added.

He acknowledged the legal process’s independence and the need for time in resolving corruption cases, assuring the public of the government’s unwavering commitment to combating corruption.

Through these comprehensive measures, the government aims to build a more equitable and prosperous nation, addressing both immediate economic challenges and long-term structural issues.

Combating Corruption for Economic Stability

In his address, Anwar underscored the critical need to end the misappropriation of public funds, which enriches only a small group. He emphasized that the Unity Government inherited significant challenges, including a high national debt. Highlighting tax collection, he noted that 16 cents of every ringgit collected is used to pay interest on debt.

Anwar stressed that responsible governance and financial prudence are essential to avoid burdening future generations. “In the current economic turmoil, every government action is crucial in safeguarding the interests of the majority,” he asserted, adding that financial responsibility and progressive tax reforms are necessary to ensure equity.

Anwar has unveiled the government’s commitment to implementing a progressive wage policy for the private sector, aligning with recent salary and allowance improvements for public servants. This initiative aims to address the concerns of young professionals and graduates regarding their future in the private sector.

Formulating Progressive Wage Policy for Private Sector

Anwar emphasized that the government’s review of the Public Service Remuneration System (SSPA) sends a strong message to the private sector to prioritize employee welfare over profit margins.

“This Progressive Wage Policy is crucial as young people and graduates are questioning their prospects in the private sector,” he stated.

Anwar highlighted that starting this December, public servants will see a salary increase of over 13%, the first such revision in many years. Additionally, various measures are being implemented to support the local economy and enhance skill development among local talent. These include improving the business ecosystem to foster competitive, high-value industries and attract investments, aiming to elevate the national wage level.

Specifically, the New Industrial Master Plan targets an increase in the monthly income of manufacturing industry workers to at least RM4,500 by 2030. To cultivate skilled local talent, the government is restructuring Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in collaboration with major industries. The establishment of the country’s first AI Faculty at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia exemplifies this focus on advanced skills.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is also prioritized through the establishment of the country’s first AI faculty at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and a network with all AI disciplines nationwide, science centers, and universities,” he said.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd is also contributing by fostering new entrepreneurs in high-growth sectors with a RM1 billion fund. The government’s People’s Income Initiative (IPR), aimed at eradicating extreme poverty in collaboration with state governments, has shown promising progress.

 

Targeted Diesel Subsidy Implementation

The government has also agreed to implement targeted diesel subsidies, affecting only users in Peninsular Malaysia. Anwar explained that users in Sabah and Sarawak would be exempt, as diesel is essential for their daily activities. To prevent sudden price hikes, the government will continue to provide subsidies to traders using commercial diesel vehicles, including public transport and goods transport vehicles.

This includes 10 types of public transport vehicles and 23 types of goods transport vehicles under the Subsidized Diesel Control System (SKDS). “Bus operators, taxi drivers, and fishermen will continue to be supported with subsidies and assistance. The government will also continue providing diesel subsidies to eligible small farmers and paddy farmers.

“This means that B40 and M40 groups using diesel in small-scale farming, mining, livestock, and fishing will be assisted. They will not be affected by this targeting. Those who will not benefit from this subsidy targeting are the T20 group, the wealthiest, and 3.8 million foreign nationals,” he explained.

The Prime Minister clarified that the targeted diesel subsidy would save the government an estimated RM4 billion annually. The impact of this targeting is on the ultra-wealthy and foreign nationals. He added that if the general public feels burdened, they can refer to the Ministry of Transport and related ministries to resolve the issue.

“I expect there will be parties who sensationalize this issue. God willing, my fellow ministers and I will respond. I assure you that any targeted subsidy should not burden the majority of the people.

“If asked why targeting subsidies is necessary, it is because we cannot afford to provide subsidies to the wealthy and foreign nationals,” he emphasized.

This targeted subsidy is expected to save the government approximately RM4 billion annually, affecting only the ultra-rich and foreign workers. Anwar assured that any targeted subsidy would not burden the majority of the population and emphasized that subsidies should not benefit the wealthy or foreign workers.

 

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