KUALA LUMPUR: A clear winner in the 15th General Election (GE15) is needed to move the country forward and enable the incoming government to overcome challenges faced by the people and nation.
Former second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said people cannot take for granted the need for a good and competent government post GE15.
“This is something everyone must realise and it is a part of political maturity that we need to achieve,” he said, adding that there was also a need for a strong opposition that backs sound policies instead of populist ones.
“We need a balance of old and new faces… we need competent leaders with a good team to sail through,” he said at the Concorde Club’s talk on the fight for Klang Valley in GE15 here today.
The Concorde Club is a forum on current topics by selected speakers initiated by veteran journalists including Star Media Group’s group editorial and corporate affairs adviser Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai. Also present was New Straits Times’ group editor Farrah Naz Karim.
Johari, who is Kuala Lumpur Umno liaison chief, said GE15 was expected to be different from the two previous general elections where a tsunami-type swing in urban voter sentiment caused by issues like 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) had impacted the results.
He said the challenge in GE15 would be for parties to court the youth, especially those aged 18-20, who were automatically registered as voters.
“At the end of the day, whoever forms the government must do so with a competent cabinet.
“Without this, you can see how the economy has fared over the past few years. You must introduce policies which are not popular if you have to do it. It may not please everyone but the future generation will reap the benefits.”
Johari drew on the scrapping of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government even though it was globally recognised as a good tax system.
He said convincing people to buy in to the GST again would be difficult as some may say it would be scrapped come GE16.
On the economy, he said the government’s revenue had stagnated but its debt had increased.
However, he pointed out that the spike in government revenue seen in 2019 and 2022 was due to the special dividend given by Petronas.
“This is not sustainable because when you ask a company like Petronas to give a special dividend based on their reserves, it will impact them.
“We could see that in 2016 and the following year their rating was A+… then it started dropping to A- when the dividend was paid out.
“Petronas is now rated as triple B plus,” he said, adding that a review of the economic plan was needed to prevent Malaysia falling into the same debt trap in which countries like Sri Lanka had found themselves in.
Source : NST