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Najib unveils ‘feel good’ Budget

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak brings good news to the
country when he tabled Budget 2012 in Parliament.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today unveiled Budget 2012 in the Dewan Rakyat, which offered incentives and goodies for the lower and middle-income groups.

However, observers were left disappointed, saying they expected much more.

Apart from certain minor tweaks, announcing increments and bonuses for the civil service and government pensioners as well as the abolishment of fees in government schools, observers said the Budget, which was Najib’s second since taking over the reins in 2009, had failed to make a significant impact.

The premier also promised a windfall for Felda settlers, who are considered an important vote bank for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, once Felda was listed on the KLSE.

In his two-hour televised speech, Najib said the total revenue for 2012 is forecast to increase 1.9% to RM186.9 billion and the deficit to decrease to 4.7% of GDP from 5.4%.

Last year, Najib said the FDI (foreign direct investment) growth was the strongest in Asia and in the first six months of this year, it had already reached RM21.2 billion.

Below are some of the salient points from the budget, themed: “National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Well-Being of the Nation.”

  • Senior citizens aged 60 years and above will be exempted from outpatient registration fees at government hospitals and health clinics.
  • RM15 million will be allocated to build 150 futsal courts to achieve the “One Court for One Mukim” target.
  • RM200 million will be allocated to train youths who have left school through the SAY 1Malaysia programme.
  • The government will establish MyCreative Venture Capital with an initial fund of RM200 million.
  • To prevent cervical cancer, the government will provide free Human Papilloma Virus immunisation nationwide.
  • A training allocation of RM10 million will be provided for women to develop leadership and managerial skills.
  • To assist the homeless, the government established a social assistance centre known as Anjung Singgah.
  • The National Legal Aid Foundation will ensure that every individual who is charged in court will be given free legal aid.
  • To assist taxi owners facing increased operating costs, measures will be introduced including tax exemptions on taxis.
  • TERAJU will coordinate and drive the transformation and strengthen Bumiputera’s participation in business.
  • Hospital Kuala Lumpur – the oldest in Malaysia – will be upgraded to be the country’s premier hospital.
  • Hospitals will be upgraded and constructed as well as 81 rural health clinics upgraded and 50 new 1Malaysia clinics will be launched.
  • Healthcare will be allocated RM15 billion operating expenditure and RM1.8 billion development expenditure.
  • The government will establish the Special Housing Fund for fishermen to build and refurbish houses.
  • The Rumah Mesra Rakyat (SPNB) programme will be continued. SPNB will be asked to build 10,000 units next year.
  • The government will continue to implement the Program Perumahan Rakyat by building 75,000 units of affordable houses.
  • The government will identify areas in the vicinity of MRT, LRT and other public transport to be developed by PR1MA.
  • The My First Home Scheme will be expanded to increase the limit of house prices from a maximum of RM220,000 to RM400,000.
  • Some 500,000 will benefit from KAR1SMA, which provides assistance to poor senior citizens and children and disabled people.
  • In the spirit of “People First,” all subsidies, incentives and assistance totalling RM33.2 billion will be continued.
  • The government is mindful of the plight of the rakyat due to rising food prices and will take measures to address this.
  • A sum of RM3,000 will be given to ex-members of the special constable and auxiliary police as well as widows and widowers.
  • A special programme will be introduced for 175,000 army personnel who are not eligible for pensions.
  • Civil servants will be offered tuition fee assistance for part-time studies, including 5,000 masters and 500 doctoral scholarships.
  • Starting next year, the annual increment for civil servants will be increased between RM80 and RM320 according to grade.
  • Budget 2012 will transform the civil service to be dynamic and responsive, introducing changes to remuneration and recruitment.
  • About 600,000 government pensioners will benefit from an additional annual pension increment of 2%.
  • The government will extend the compulsory retirement age from 58 to 60 to optimise civil servants’ contribution.
  • Private schools registered with the Education Ministry will be given incentives including an Investment Tax Allowance.
  • The government will expedite tax exemption approvals for educational institutions and all places of worship.
  • To encourage private sector human capital development incentives including a double deduction on scholarships will be offered.
  • A Rural Transformation Programme will be introduced so that rural areas can attract private investment and create employment.
  • The government will expand the programme to supply clean water to the rural community in Sabah by RM50 million.
  • Some RM400 million will be provided to upgrade the water supply infrastructure in selected FELDA areas.
  • To provide greater access to bank services for the rural population, Bank Simpanan Nasional will appoint agents in rural areas.
  • Felda GVH will be listed on Bursa Malaysia by mid-2012 to raise funds for the company to become a global conglomerate.
  • Felda settlers are expected to receive a windfall and the amount will be announced before listing.
  • A RM2 billion syariah -compliant SME Financing Fund managed by selected Islamic banks will be established in 2012.
  • A RM100 million SME Revitalisation Fund offering loans up to a maximum of RM1 million for entrepreneurs will be available from January 2012.
  • Full exemption of import duty and excise duty on hybrid cars and electric cars will continue to be given until 2013.
  • RM1 billion will be provided through a special fund for the construction, improvement and maintenance of schools.
  • RM50.2 billion will be allocated to the education sector so that it can continue to develop talented, creative and innovative people.
  • Payments for primary and secondary education will be abolished.
  • In 2012, private investment is forecast to climb 15.9%, supported by foreign and domestic investment.
  • GDP in the first 6 months of 2011 was 4.4%, driven by strong domestic consumption.
  • In 2011, the economy is forecast to grow by 5-5.5%.
  • The Kuala Lumpur International Financial District will be developed, with incentives including income tax exemptions for firms.
  • The Treasury Management Centre will be established and offer incentives to develop Malaysia as a competitive financial centre.
  • RM978 million will be allocated to accelerate the development in five regional corridors.
  • RM13.6bil has been allocated for the social sector, including education and training, welfare, housing and community development

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