Anwar 'invites' Najib to his parliament rebuttal...

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has "invited" Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to be present in Parliament on Monday to listen to his address on the latest budget.

"Because I have heard Najib's (budget) speech, and I have requested him to listen to my speech on Monday 11.30 am commenting on the budget.

S Pakatan dinner Anwar"As the finance minister, I hope he will accept my invitation. If he doesn't want to debate it, doesn't matter," said Anwar (left) at the Pakatan Rakyat dinner at the Stadium Melawati Shah Alam last night.

"Let's wait and see if he dares to come or not," he said.

Anwar added that he is prepared to allow Najib, who is Pekan MP, to comment and intervene in his parliamentary speech.

The prime minister may not attend all parliamentary sessions. Anwar, who is Permatang Pauh MP, however said he, as former finance minister, has never missed attending an opposition leader's rebuttal speech.

"When I was finance minister, I had never absented myself from a rebuttal speech by the opposition leader. I feel that by listening to his/her speech, we are showing for the democratic system," he said.

"I advise Najib to be present on Monday, and I will give him room to comment and rebut fully during that time," he added.

Turning back to world

Commenting on the PM's budget speech yesterday, Anwar said this was the first time that a budget presentation has failed to touch on the international economic scenario, that is an essentially tied to the country's economy.

NONE"Najib's budget is the first time it has been presented without giving the international economic scenario. This is relevant because Malaysia is a trading nation and it cannot run away from external issues.

"(Yesterday's) budget did not make any reference. We will address this on Monday," he said.

Instead, he said, the budget speech was spent attacking Pakatan from the outset.

"From start to finish, the budget speech attacked Pakatan Rakyat and myself. I was thinking to myself, when would we swap places?" he said, to thunderous applause from the participants of the fundraising event that drew about 2,500.

Najib's Budget 2013 speech has been roundly criticised not just for delivering what is said to be a vote-canvassing exercise lacking in real structural solutions for the country's economy, but for being more of a campaign speech.

The PM's presentation was peppered with attacks on the opposition coalition, firing salvo after salvo in his closing remarks and making repeated pleas for the BN to be returned in the polls so it may deliver "six more budgets".- malaysiakini

 2013 Budget: A quick look at reactions...

Prime minister Najib Razak yesterday tabled his last budget before the next general election. Other than comments from Barisan Nasional leaders and MPs, here is a quick compilation of reactions from PR and civil society leaders.
A budget is not mere numbers and figures amounting to billions for projects. More importantly is the fact that its implementation and results have never reached the masses. Mega projects are used to generate profits for UMNO cronies... The people must realise that billions of ringgit has vanished into thin air due to leakages. - Abdul Hadi Awang, PAS president

The announcements of handouts to general Malaysians is just a small dosage for the elections… but the basic structural problem of the country, where the rich cronies and their family members amass millions of dollars of profits through improper means ? that is left intact. - Anwar Ibrahim

Najib made history turning his 2013 Budget into a blatant unashamed desperate electioneering speech - debasing the budget and Prime Minister's office! -
Lim Kit Siang, DAP advisor

I can't tell whether the budget tabled by Najib is a good and responsible budget in the interest of the country and future generation, because even (former prime minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called it a vote-buying budget. But even if Najib did manage to prepare a good budget, it is of no use if the Auditor-General has revealed that RM28 billion is lost every year due to administration weaknesses. - Mohamad Sabu, PAS deputy president

This is a farewell budget from Najib as prime minister and Finance minister. Even if BN wins with all these tricks, it could be much smaller than its 2008 performance. As a result, Najib will be thrown out just like Pak Lah was thrown out by UMNO.- Mahfuz Omar

I am taken aback by the allocation for women... this is what happens when a man leads the Women [Family and Community Development] ministry. He cannot relate to women's development. - Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, PAS Muslimat leader

This surely is an 'election budget' not just because of 'sweet goodies' to the entire segments of voters but because Najib is not focussed on solving structural economic problems like monopolistic and rentier-system... but also because (he provides) 'panadol-like' economic solutions.- Dr.Dzulkefly Ahmad, PAS Research Centre
The one-off payments for those above 21 such as rebate for smartphone purchase, RM100 for school students, RM250 book vouchers for tertiary students, these are all the government's election target. They don't solve the problem of financial burden. There is nothing new in this budget. - Dr.Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Parit Buntar MP

The people wonder what are the government's policies on eradicating poverty and to defend the people. Rising living costs were not touched, as well as high toll charges and car prices.-
Kamaruddin Jaffar, Tumpat MP

We have to really monitor the budget to make sure that it hits the estimates, or else we have to be prepared for a mini budget after the election to adjust for shortages. -
Ramon Navaratnam, economist

It is the first time since Independence in 1957 that the BN government is giving out one-time and various forms of cash handouts in its Budget. This is clearly an election Budget to buy your votes in the next general election so that they remain in power for another five years to plunder ...Take it and say goodbye to BN. - Chua Jui Meng, Johor PKR chairman

The marked decline in revenue growth will have a very significant impact on the government's ability to impact growth in the Malaysian economy through fiscal means. The fact that we have not been able to reduce our budget deficit below four percent over the past few years reflects the years of wasted opportunities, where we have failed to curb our expenditure through reduced wastage, abuses and corruption. - Tony Pua, Petaling Jaya Selatan MP

The issue of subsidies has not been carefully handled... the truth is that livings costs remain high in such matters as health, education and transport. We are also disappointed that there was no hikes in taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. The government has dismissed real issues on rising medical, socialm cultural and environmental costs thanks to lobbying by the alcohol and tobacco industries. - Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, TERAS

The government did address key issues such as transportation in major cities. But it's surprising that Johor Baru was not mentioned for this, given its size. Maybe the BN feels it's a safe area - or it is a strategy to make people vote for them.  - Ibrahim Suffian, Merdeka Centre

Sabah and Sarawak continued to be sidelined. There is nothing mentioned other than to open paddy fields in Kota Belud and Batang Lupar. Despite the known fact that Sabah is a 'fixed deposit' for Barisan Nasional, there is no project specifically for Sabahans - Lajim Ukin, Beaufort MP

The BN government is scraping the bottom of the barrel. It tries to use cash handouts to influence the voters, but I feel it might backfire as people will realise that it was given purely for the elections and this may even make people more anti-establishment. - Lim Teck Ghee, Centre for Policy Initiatives

A ‘too sweet’ election budget, irresistible to the rakyat and fiscally-strained to the treasury as reflected in its 8.1% increase of overall allocation for the year 2013. Applaud the commitment to narrow the fiscal deficit towards 4.0% of GDP, though 3.5% deficit is still attainable upon more prudent government spending with no leakages...A budget with so much promises, but shall not be compensated with a vote. After all, it is our money. - Syahir Sulaiman, head of Policy Study, PAS Youth - harakahdaily

Malaysia Budget 2013 Infographic by iMoney gif