It certainly is a good budget.
If you are a village head or a Kafa teacher, you will get a RM800 monthly allowance.
If you are a civil servant, you can get a special financial assistance amounting to a lump sum of RM500.
If you are a woman civil servant, you can enjoy a fully-paid 90-day maternity leave.
If you are a super constructor or an Indonesian worker, you get a chance to participate in the 100-storey tower project and other mega construction projects.
If you are not a village head, a Kafa teacher, a pregnant civil servant, a super constructor or an Indonesian worker, but just an ordinary middle-income wage earner like most of the people, or a busy small business owner without any special channels, you may ask: What the Budget 2011 have in store for me?
Of course you, too, will also benefit from it.
The toll rates in four highways owned by PLUS Expressway Berhad will not be raised for the next five years. Unfortunately, the government cannot afford to buy the highways to allow toll-free use.
The government has to increase revenue and thus, it proposed that the rate of service tax be increased from 5% to 6%. It follows you whenever you go and even if you just stay at home, you still have to pay the 6% of service tax once you switch on the television for the paid television channels.
In fact, most of the people prefer to have tax cuts.
Many foreign governments actually ease the burden on middle income people through tax cuts to stimulus business vitality.
However, the rates of personal income tax and corporation tax remain unchanged as the people are required to carry out their national duty during the hard time.
Meanwhile, first-time house buyers will be given stamp duty exemption of 50% on instruments of transfer on a house price not exceeding RM350,000, a saving of RM2,000 to RM3,000. But you may not be able to afford a house now due to the rapid real estate price hike, especially in the Klang Valley.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala had said earlier in the year that said that Malaysia could become next Greece and go bankrupt by 2019 if the government fails to cut its burgeoning expenses.
Yet, the allocations under Budget 2011 are immense – RM5 billion for a 100-storey complex in Kuala Lumpur, RM10 billion for the Sungai Buloh development project, RM3 billion for the integrated eco-nature resort in Sabah, and RM40 billion for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in Greater KL.
People had expected the government to reduce expenses, but it is embarking on several mega projects instead.
The national economy surely needs a transformation and the people’s incomes have to be doubled by 2020, the Budget 2011 should be the starting point for the transformation and every ringgit spent by the government must be carefully weighted. The Budget 2011 should have included more specific reform measures.
Productivity would not be reflected in the allowances for village heads and Kafa teachers while competitiveness would not be reflected on a 100-storey skyscraper. Instead, they are hidden in the national productivity, corporate competitiveness and government efficiency.
As the starting point of the 10th Malaysia Plan (10Plan), the budget for next year should be geared at improving the quality of education, revitalising enterprises, and strengthening the confidence of foreign investors.
However, there is still some good news from the Budget 2011. For example, at least there is no price hike for alcoholic drinks. So, let’s put aside the worries, raise our glass, and yum seng!