KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan government was being criticized by Subang MP Wong Chen for increasing the minimum wage by merely RM100 to RM1,200 per month next year.

“This is far too little… to eliminate the economic desperation of our very poorest Malaysians. If our ministers can survive on RM1,200, then do it. If you cannot, then increase it, ” he said in his budget speech in Parliament yesterday.

The minimum wage must be raised to RM1,500 a month from next year, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member suggested.

He noted that the government’s move to increase the income tax rate for those earning RM2mil annually from 28% to 30% as a taxation policy was not substantive enough.

 “Overall, the increase of funds to the government is only RM40mil a year, which is very little, ” he said.

However, in terms of expenditure, Wong praised the government for cutting from RM316bil in 2019 to RM299bil in 2020.

 “When we remove the one-off RM37bil factor, which is the GST rebate payments and special income tax rebates last year for corporates and the rich, Budget 2020 increased 7% as a whole.

“This is an expansionary budget and is good because the global economy is very likely to face a serious recession next year, ” he said. Subsequently, he raised his concerns over the government’s increased allocation for procurement of supplies and services in 2020 compared to 2017.

Under the former Barisan Nasional administration, there were 1.6 million civil servants with a supplies and services spending of RM34.7bil, which translated to about RM21,700 per civil servant, Wong said.

It has 1.4 million civil servants with a spending of RM38.5bil, which means an average spending of RM27,500 per civil servant, he said.

 “This is higher than the Barisan administration. I demand a detailed explanation regarding this matter. Otherwise, I’m afraid the PAC will be in session for more than 100 days next year for corruption and leakages proceedings, ” he added.

However, Wong acknowledged that Budget 2020 was a better budget than 2019’s. Last Friday, Budget 2020, where RM297bil was allocated, was tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

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