Budget 2017 which was unveiled on Friday October 21, 2016 is Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s eighth budget since he became the country 6th Prime Minister in 2009.
Budget 2017 is a deficit budget as the country is going to spend RM41.1 billion more than its projected revenue of RM219.7 billion.
A deficit budget is not good for any country, organisation, or individual, as it means that we spend more than we earn.
But the government is not always about the business of having lots of money in the bank. A budget surplus should always be the target, but the country needs to be developed and the people’s needs have to be addressed. To do this, the country may have to allocate a higher expenditure than its total revenue, and this is exactly what we have in budget 2017.
The government cannot neglect and ignore the social-wellbeing of the people. The BN people called this budget as the people-friendly budget, the compassionate budget that has ‘something for everyone’.
In line with his 1Malaysia concept and its slogan of putting the people first, the Prime Minister is not only continuing with the People’s Aid (BR1M) initiative for the poorest members of the community, the so-called ‘the Bottom 40’, but he is also giving them larger BR1M handout.
The BR1M for the e-kasih group, that is those that have a family income of less than RM1000 per month is increased from RM1,050 to RM1,200. The same amount is received by those families that have RM3,000 or less per month. Those families that fall under the RM3,000-RM4,000 category will be given RM900 instead of RM800 for 2016. The elderly will get RM1,000, while single individuals are given RM450, up from RM400 previously.
A total of 7.4 million families and single individuals are qualified for the people’s Aid, and this figure represents about a quarter of the population of the country. This number does not include the elderly recipients of BR1M, and the members of the households involved.
The total amount of BR1M handout for 2017 is RM5.9 billion. In comparison, it was only RM2.6 billion in 2012, the year BR1M was first initiated.
This money which was initially given to help the B40 with their daily necessities can now be used to pay the down payment for a Proton Iriz car.
Does this now mean that we have a new definition for daily necessities?
The government is also continuing with programme of providing affordable housing for the people. For example, the government is to spend RM350 million to build and refurbish 17,000 units of dilapidated houses. Each unit is to be given between RM1,000 and RM15,000.
Under the People’s Housing Programme (PPR), 9,850 houses are to be built with a total cost of RM134 million.
Under the MyBeautiful New Home programme for the B40 group a total of RM200 million will be used to build 5,000 units with a price range of between RM40,000 to RM50,000 per unit. Of this amount, RM20,000 will be financed by the government.
The government also has earmarked RM200 million for FELDA, and RM100 million each for RISDA and FELCRA for the development of the second generation house in their respective areas.
The welfare of the urban residents is also not forgotten. Under the 1Malaysia Maintenance Fund, RM300 million have been allocated for use in repairing the facilities at the residential flats as well in the 113 People’s Housing Programmes (PPT) homes within the urban areas.
True to its name, the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry is also going to build house under its PPR. A total of 9,850 units will be built next year at a total cost of RM14.34 million.
On top of this, another 11,250 PPR homes are being built with an allocation of RM576 million. Each unit is priced between RM35,000 and RM42,000.
For the rural folks, there are several other items in the budget that may also please them. One of the items, for example, is the RM200 monthly rainy season assistance to rubber smallholders for the months of November to January. This will benefit 440,000 rubber tappers.
The country’s 57000 fishermen will also continue to receive their monthly allowance of RM200 and RM300.
Another example of the budget item that may please the rural folks is the attempt by the government to light up the villages at night. For this purpose, 97,000 street lights and 3,000 LED lights will be installed in 7,500 villages in the country including in Sabah and Sarawak.
Another interesting item in the budget is the RM5,000 individual grant to be given to the 12,000 qualified taxi drivers who wish to purchase new vehicles. The total amount involved is RM60 million.
For the B40, the budget is certainly beautiful on the outside. Is this the budget that will help PM Najib and his friends in the BN to win the 14th General Election? – Sarawakvoice