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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

National Budget Critic (Update 1 For This Week)

It's been a long time I didn't update my little space. And yes, the last 2 weeks were busy moments, especially the previous week. And sorry my readers, I had abandoned this page for a little while, as traffic had declined from 80 views per day to just 25 within 1 week!

And so, I update this.

Well, Part 1 of my update today is about the National Budget 2011 for Malaysia. Yes, it is a 1Malaysia-based economy plan which is also the New Economic Model (NEM).

And here's the overview of the budget from Malaysiakini.
Total budget – RM212 billion, 2.8% higher than the 2010 Budget
Operating expenditure – RM162.8 billion
Development expenditure – RM49.2 billion
  • 2010 growth revised to seven percent compared to six percent previously, fuelled by private investment growth (15.2%), private consumption (6.7%) and exports (11.6%)
  • 2011 growth expected to hover between five to six percent supported by private investment (10.2%), private consumption (6.3%) and exports (6.7%)
  • 2011 per capita income expected to go up 6.1% to RM28,000, while income in terms of purchasing power parity will hit US$16,000, tempered by moderate inflation (2-3%) and low unemployment (3.5%)
  • Budget deficit is expected to go down to 5.4% of GDP, compared to 2010 figure of 5.6%
  • Federal government revenue is estimated to increase 2.3 percent to RM165.8 billion in 2011, compared to RM161.1 billion in 2010
  • Private investment to expand 12.5% to RM86 billion.
Emphasis on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects
  • RM12.5 billion worth of public private partnerships (PPP) will be implemented under budget 2011, with RM1 billion facilitation fund from government
  • Mass Rapid Transit project to be implemented beginning 2011 with private investment of RM40 billion and to complete by 2020.
  • Academic Medical Centre – a joint-venture between Academic Medical Centre Sdn Bhd and John Hopkins Medical International as well as Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland – which involves private investment of RM2 billion
  • Development of International Islamic University Teaching Hospital in Kuantan; Women and Children’s Hospital
  • Construction of a 300MW Combined-Cycle Gas Power Plant in Kimanis, Sabah
  • Construction of highways such as the Ampang-Cheras-Pandan Elevated Highway
azlanRM5 bil new tower in KL
  • A new landmark, Warisan Merdeka, expected to be completed in 2015, will include a 100-storey tower, the tallest in Malaysia
  • It will stand on land next to Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara. Both stadiums to be retained as national heritages
EPF to fund Sungai Buloh development
  • Development of the Malaysian Rubber Board land in Sungai Buloh covering an area of 2,680 acres. To be funded by EPF with RM10 billion over 15 years.
  • EPF overseas investments will be increased from seven percent to 20% of total assets managed
Investments
  • GLCs to divest shares in major companies listed on Bursa Malaysia to increase liquidity and trading velocity
  • An International Board will be added onto Bursa Malaysia to increase foreign investment, especially to promote syariah-compliant products
  • Bumiputera Property Trust Foundation will be launched to enhance bumiputera ownership of prime commercial properties in urban areas
Corridor projects not forgotten
  • Corridor and regional development will be accelerated with injection of RM850 million
  • RM93 million for Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy
  • RM133 million for Northern Corridor Economic Region
  • RM178 million for projects in East Coast Economic Region
  • RM339 million for Iskandar Malaysia
New private pension fund
  • To revitalise capital market activities, the government will launch a Private Pension Fund in 2011
  • Existing income tax relief of up to RM6,000 for employees contributions to EPF will extend to Private Pension Fund contributions
Funds to help businesses
  • RM146 million fund to support the oil, gas and energy industry
  • RM857 million allocated for local E&E (electrical and electronic) companies to compete at the international level
  • To help entrepreneurs that face financial problems, Insolvency Act to consolidate Bankruptcy Act 1967 and Part 10 of Companies Act 1965, including introduction of provision relating to relief mechanism for companies and individuals with financial problems. Review will also amend current minimum bankruptcy limit of RM30,000
Tourism
  • RM100 million allocated to support the tourism industry
  • RM3 billion eco-nature resort Nexus Karambunai, Sabah, to commence 2011
  • RM85 million to facilitate construction of hotels and resorts in remote areas
IT development
  • Multimedia Development Corridor programme allocated RM119 million. Focus is on creating an innovative digital economy.
  • Import duty and sales tax exemption on broadband equipment extended for two years until 2012.
Minimum wage
  • A National Wage Consultation Council will be set up to determine the rate and mechanism of minimum wage for various sectors.
  • Basic minimum wage for security guards to go up to between RM500 and RM700 depending on location, compared to RM300 to RM400 previously
  • Fully-paid maternity leave for civil servants to go up to 90 days compared to 60 days previously
  • Levy on foreign workers to increase in stages according to sector. Health insurance for foreign workers now mandatory.
Training
  • Talent Corporation to be set up under Prime Minister Office in early 2011, will formulate National Talent Blueprint
  • Aim to increase PhD qualified academic staff to 75% in research unis and 60% in other public institutions of higher learning
  • 1Malaysia Training Programme will be launched January 2011 with an allocation of RM500 million
Sabah and Sarawak
  • RM2.1 billion to upgrade rural roads in Sabah and Sarawak, RM696 million for Semenanjung Malaysia
  • RM1.5 billion to develop rural electricity and water supply in Sabah, RM1.2 billion for Sarawak and RM556 million in Semenanjung Malaysia
Allocation for ministries
  • RM15.86 billion for Prime Minister’s Department. It was RM14 billion in 2009 and RM12 billion in 2010
  • RM29.3 billion allocated for Education Ministry
  • RM10.2 billion for Higher Education Ministry
  • RM1.2 billion to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development
  • RM627 million for Ministry of Human Resource
  • RM111 million for Permata (Pusat Anak Permata Negara)
Other salient points
  • azlanScheduled hike in toll charges for four highways owned by Plus Expressways Bhd will be frozen for the next five years.
  • Civil servants Grade 54 and below will get a RM500 Special Financial Assistance, including contract officers and retirees, payment will be made in December 2010
  • Maximum housing loan eligibility for civil servants up to RM450,000 from RM360,000 previously
  • First-time homeowners will also enjoy a 50 percent discount on stamp duties for homes below RM350,000.
  • Young adults of household incomes of less than RM3,000 will be assisted through a first-home owner scheme where government will guarantee 10% down payment for homes below RM220,000. This means that house buyers will obtain a 100% loan without having to pay the 10% down payment.
  • Malaysian permanent estate workers will get maximum RM60,000 housing loans to buy low-cost houses at four percent interest rate and repayment period of 40 years extending into second generation
  • Sales tax for mobile phones reduced by 10 percent.
  • RM350 million allocated to boost efforts to cut down crime index, and establish 25 special courts to expedite prosecution.
  • Full import and excise duties exemption granted to franchise holders of hybrid cars extended to Dec 31, 2011, extends also to electric cars and hybrid and electric motorcycles
  • Import duty on approximately 300 goods preferred by tourists and locals, at 5% to 30%, be abolished
  • Service tax to be increased from 5% to 6%. Government proposes to impose service tax on paid television broadcast services
  • azlanExcise duty exemption on national vehicles purchased by the disabled to go up to 100 percent from 50 percent previously
  • RM200 million allocated for Distribution of Essential Goods programme, on top of RM100 million allocated under budget 2010, to standardise prices nationwide
  • 375 native English speakers to be recruited from United Kingdom and Australia to improve teaching of English.
  • Monthly allowance of community leaders (JKKK, village heads, Tok Batin, etc) to be increased to RM800 from RM450 previously. Meeting attendance allowance also increased from RM30 to RM50
  • Imam allowance increased from RM450 to RM750, KAFA (religious school) teachers’ allowance also goes up to RM800 from RM500
  • RM1.9 billion allocated for environmental projects, including for the River of Life programme and greening of Kuala Lumpur
  • Point system to be introduced to facilitate permanent resident status applications, and can be applied for after five years of residence compared to 10 years previously
I bet many Malaysians are not somehow impressed with this high valued budget issued by our beloved Mr. Najib last Friday. 

On education and some social improvement stuffs, like the MRT, I don't have any critics against it, however, when I was reading the highlights via Twitter during class at 5 pm, my senses told me that this budget is a materialized piece of budget that doesn't satisfy all Malaysians. 



Even Anwar Ibrahim agreed with me in Twitter (yes, he replied me!) saying that it is a total waste of money.

And yes, I am one of the voices that is not impressed with the budget. 



And so, this is my critique. 


BEFORE THAT: I am not affiliated to any Opposition nor the BN political bodies. I am a political atheist who does not support either of these 2 parties, for I only believe in an egalitarian system (resource-based economy). 


1. Our national debt will be increased. 


Our government doesn't own 100% of our money. Besides of taking from our taxes, they also borrow money from the central bank for the extra expenditures. At the end of the day, they are to pay back the loans and the INTEREST rates in it, thus increase our debt to the banks. 


They do this purposely for various reasons. One of them is to ensure the money circulation to be increased around the society. Printing out more money doesn't help solve the debt problem. Instead, it increases the debt amount as the government distributes the money via loans from the central banks. Remember the fact that money is DEBT. It exists from loans (principle), and the debts are impossible to be paid (principle + interest)


Here is an excerpt from Zeitgeist: Addendum where the narrator, Peter Joseph describes the creation of money. 




So, it has been reported that our 2011 National Budget is 2.8% higher than the 2010 budget. Imagine how much more debt will our nation have. Little do our politicians know how deadly it is our banking system is - also known as the Fractional Reserve Banking System, or FIAT. 


2. $5 billion "White Elephant" project? 


As we all know, Kuala Lumpur is currently under the Greater KL project where we want the outsiders to know how "materialistically" awesome our new Malaysia will be by the year 2020. 


And this new tower, named the Warisan Merdeka, is 100 storeys tall, and will outshine the "ageing" Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower. It shall be owned by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and people will feel more grand by staring at that tower.....blah blah blah...


And my reaction is - What is the point of building a 3rd skyscraper while the other two had been well known internationally? Why join in the race for building the tallest city when you know that the tower costed in billions that should be used to benefit people more?


Why spend more on materialistic aspects and NOT on social aspects? 


3. High income = high expenses


Yes, we all are delighted to know that we will be a high income nation. It sounds so positive right? But, a high income nations will have their daily expenses increased, and the increase of tax from 5 to 6 per cent is something that I expect along this concerning agenda. 


Sure you can argue that there are laws being processed in order to ensure everyone, EVEN the poor security guards to have their salaries increased, but imagine what if your expenses are increased to the point where you find it hard to earn some savings for the future, what will be your thoughts about it? 


As a result of this phenomenon, I can assure you that this high-income good news doesn't guarantee you that it improves social living, for the rich-poor gap will continue to skyrocket. Someone will be left behind. Plus, what about the increasing unemployment rates and the uncertainty of the Western-dominated financial system? They are unpredictable all the time, and you will not see them coming. 


So, that's my critique ever since I heard the highlights last Friday. Based on the Facebook groups on Malaysia, I can see a radical change which is beginning to form within the Malaysians. I can see that they wanted a radical change, as people tend to solve problems, not money. So, why not allocate more monetary resources to help the people? 


"What Malaysia needs is a radical change towards a welfare-based and loving society, NOT a materialistic one." 


P.S - Please join this group if you disagree with the $5 billion mega tower project, our voices needed to be heard if you want to see positive change in society, as in spirituality and social justice. 


http://www.facebook.com/pages/1M-Malaysians-Reject-100-storey-Mega-Tower/162774653750749

"Armies can be stopped, but not to an idea whose time has come"

- Victor Hugo







2 comments:

Supia Chao said...

Totally agree that building the Warisan Merdeka is not necessary and a waste of money. Hope that gov hear our voice and stop this project.

ken said...

im actually more impressed with anwar's reply to you on twitter. so cool! :D