It is a given that the gap between the haves and have-nots in Malaysia is widening. The recent study by the Khazanah Research Institute, the United Nations Human Development (UNHD) Report 2013 and a recent book by Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid, all gives the latest evidences pointing to this maldevelopment.
According to the UNHD Report, the total wealth of the richest 40 Malaysians is equivalent to 22% of the country’s GDP, an increase from 15.7% in 2006. In relative terms, Malaysia’s 40 richest individuals are in fact much wealthier than the top 40 richest individuals from the United State, Singapore or Thailand. At the households’ level, the top 20% of Malaysia’s population hold more than 51% of the country’s wealth with the top 10% owning more than 35%. Meanwhile, the bottom 20% has less than 5% of the country’s wealth.
The general consensus is that the issue needs to be urgently addressed for reasons of social equity, social stability and economic growth.
The government’s plans to address this issue, however, have one very glaring omission and that is it does not involve the use of taxation.
The country is still reeling from the after-effect of the devastating year-end floods that ravaged at least seven states.
Many are still displaced at temporary shelters and rely on government and well-wishers’ food aid including donations from China and Japan. Besides the initial RM800million allocated for initial flood relief efforts, the government is now staring at a hefty reconstruction bill that may run into billions.
As Malaysia begins to count the costs from the recent disaster, it is imperative that the government conduct a thorough post-mortem on the causes of the massive floods, learn the lessons and prepare for the future.
Given the severity of the recent floods and the resulting tragedy that has befallen several states in the Peninsular Malaysia at a scale that has never been witnessed in living memory, and the increasingly adverse impacts of climate change, SAM strongly calls on all states to immediately halt further forest-to-plantation conversions in Malaysia.
ANAK MALAYSIA ANTI NUKLEAR (AMAN) is a grassroots citizen movement that is convinced that nuclear power is not cheap, clean or safe and that it is not required for the generation of electricity in Malaysia. AMAN therefore rejects the construction of any nuclear power plant (NPP) in Malaysia.