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Nobody left out in M'sian budget

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin posing for a photograph after presenting the budget in teh parliament.

Publication Date : 29-09-2012


Nobody is left out. The budget for the 2013 fiscal year addresses virtually the full spectrum of stakeholders in Malaysia.

The poor will receive the financial assistance and services they deserve, while the middle class are offered some much-needed relief in the form of lower taxes and affordable housing.

There are proposals that will benefit government employees, servicemen and policemen. Several sectors of big business get investment incentives and tax breaks, and so do the Small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Chunks of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s budget speech, which he delivered in the parliament yesterday as finance minister, were on women and the young and the old.

Others who stand to directly gain from the Budget measures include paddy farmers, individual investors, owners of pre-school and childcare centres, hawkers, Indian students in estates, athletes, entertainers, and school bus operators.

Why, even angels – angel investors, that is – are among recipients of the goodies.

The inclusiveness is an acknowledgement by the government that everybody has a role to play in securing Malaysia’s prosperity.

“It is proven beyond doubt that the Malaysian economy is centred on the rakyat. It is the outcome of the vision and aspiration of the rakyat. It is a testimony of the hard work of the rakyat,” said Najib in his speech.

“The economy is the contribution of the rakyat in urban and rural areas, professionals as well as blue-collar workers, farmers, labourers, farmers, smallholders, fishermen, teachers, lecturers and artistes. The economy is supported by civil servants and entrepreneurs.”

Therefore, the Budget’s theme is “Prospering the Nation, Enhancing the Well-being of the Rakyat: A Promise Fulfilled”.

Najib said the Budget was designed to improve the rakyat’s quality of life, ensure sustainable economic growth, spend prudently and reduce the fiscal deficit. The overall objective, he added, was to prioritise the well-being of the rakyat.

“The government will ensure that the rakyat enjoy excellent services and get maximum benefits from the implementation of development projects and programmes,” he said.

The focus is on five areas: boosting investment activity; strengthening education and training; inculcating innovation and increasing productivity; fiscal consolidation and enhancing the public service delivery; and enhancing the well-being of the rakyat.

Many of the Budget’s highlights came under the fifth area of focus. It was also the most anticipated part of the speech.

The Dewan Rakyat livened up, with the lawmakers thumping their tables, as soon as Najib began speaking about measures to improve the rakyat’s well-being.

A notable proposal is the lowering of the individual income tax rates by one percentage point for the chargeable income brackets of up to 50,000 ringgit (US$ 16,358). As a result, 170,000 people will no longer have to pay tax, while the rest of the taxpayers will enjoy some savings.

Another tax measure is a proposed hike in the real property gains tax to curb speculation in real estate, particularly in urban areas.

Najib also announced a 1.9 billion ringgit allocation to build 123,000 affordable homes in strategic locations next year.

The gvernment intends to spend 591 million ringgit in 2013 on several measures to reduce the crime rate, such as setting up a police unit for motorcycle patrols to watch over housing areas, and installing about 500 CCTV cameras in 25 urban areas to deter street crimes.

To boost investment activity, the first focus of Budget 2013, key initiatives include promoting domestic investment, intensifying SMEs, turning Malaysia into a global integrated trading hub for oil and gas, enhancing agricultural activity, stimulating the capital and financial markets, and developing bumiputra entrepreneurs.

A major element of the government’s plans for fiscal consolidation and to upgrade public service delivery is proposed improvements in the Malaysian Armed Forces service scheme.

On Malaysia’s economic performance and prospects, Najib said growth this year was expected to be between 4.5 per cent and 5 per cent.

“In 2013, based on the prospects of an improved global economy, the Malaysian economy is forecast to expand strongly between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent,” he added.

The budget will allocate 252 billion ringgit for development projects, programmes and measures. Of this, 202 billion ringgit is operating expenditure, while the rest is development expenditure.

The federal government’s revenue collection next year is estimated at 209 billion ringgit. Given these estimates, the fiscal deficit is expected to fall to 4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2013 from 4.5 per cent in 2012.

*US$1=3.06 ringgit


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