KUALA LUMPUR – Oct 26, 2015: Four days have passed since the Malaysia’s 2016 budget was presented in parliament and the blogosphere has since been choke-full of discussions about it.
Several prominent bloggers were pleased with the budget, describing it as a “realistic budget” considering the currently tough local and global economic conditions.
Prominent blogger Jailani Harun, via his blog ‘Just Read!’ holds the opinion that Malaysians should be ‘thankful and grateful’ that the government still has the right set of mechanism to uplift the well-being of its people.
On claims alleging the budget of being a political ploy by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Barisan Nasional-led administration to ‘buy’ the rakyat (people), the blogger insisted that such argument was untrue.
“Najib, in preparing the budget formula, has had lengthy discussion with captain of all industries, economists and others.
“Also, taking into consideration feedback and suggestion made by the people themselves,” the blogger wrote.
Anonymous blogger who blog at ‘Life of Annie’, also deemed that the national budget presented by Najib last Friday was “a budget any good government would formulate under tough circumstances caused by the current global economic uncertainties”.
Nevertheless, the blogger also wrote that she was still “uncomfortable with BR1M (financial aid in the form of a direct cash-handout) though”.
“I wonder how long the government is going to keep on giving hand-outs like that. Feel such practice a bit third world for Malaysia,” the blogger opined.
Another prominent blogger, Zakhir Mohamed, also known as ‘Big Dog’, echoed similar agreement on the budget being spot-on in taking care the well-being of the people.
Zakhir reiterated Najib’s keynote speech regarding the budget which the blogger had deemed as a budget for “prospering the rakyat”.
However, a commenter under the guise of ‘Ex-AA & Co’, commented on Zakhir’s posting that he was unhappy with the government’s decision to increase the income tax rate from 25 to 28 per cent for those earning more than RM1 million per annum.
“I don’t see the point why people who worked hard in school and life are being punished for their success, to subsidise the lower 40 per cent of the populous.
“These people hardly use government hospitals. Their children don’t usually attend boarding schools and public universities.
“They don’t benefit from BR1M. More likely, they pay more for their more expensive imported cars and naturally more tax for the premium petrol (especially those who drive larger powered European models),” the commenter wrote.
The commenter’s argument on the ‘unnecessary’ increment of income tax rate was however contended by another commenter, ‘Barnaby bambles’ who, through his comments, implied that ‘Ex-AA & Co’ was being selfish.
“So why should the poor subsidize the rich?
“And do you really think all the rich in Malaysia really worked hard to be where they are at? Or are they merely proxies or in-the-know?” Barnaby wrote.
Aside from informative analysis regarding the budget, it is also interesting to note that several blogs had chosen to highlight a comedic event transpired after the national budget was presented.
Such event was when PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail made a “comical” statement upon being asked to comment whether she thinks the federal government’s decision to render the Pan Borneo highway toll-less is a populist move.
“Naik train kena tol? Saya tak pernah dengar naik train kena tol? (Trains have toll? I have never heard that one gets tolled when riding trains?)” said Dr Wan Azizah who is also the members of parliament (MP) for Permatang Pauh.
Her statement has been widely shared in the cyberspace, and a video footages of her uttering the statement was also shared at ‘TV14’ youtube channel.
The seemingly ‘rosy’ national budget was not free from being criticised.
Anonymous blogger of the ‘Jebat Must Die’ blog gave five reasons why the Najib-administration should be regarded as “the worst administration in history”.
According to the blogger the five reasons are: (1) They are all hypocrites, (2) They have forgotten the history, (3) They are untrustworthy, (4) Now the people are the ones that have to subsidise the government and (5) The federal government refused to evaluate themselves.
“In his national budget speech Najib had requested for the people to have faith in his leadership. How can the people have faith in him or the federal government if he contradicts the things he said?
“Do you remember the promises that we were told when the goods and services tax (GST) was about to be implemented?
“Najib himself has said that RM39 billion has been collected via the goods and services tax (GST)…he said that it would not burden the people and that some of the collection money will be given back to the people,” the blogger wrote.
The blogger pointed out that during the budget’s presentation Najib had instead said that the government would need to reevaluate the decision to give back the money to the people because most of it was spent on the budget due to the decline in petroleum-based revenue.
Anonymous blogger, Darah Tuah who blog at ‘Hidup Tuah’, argued that the budget was “too good to be true.”
The blogger holds the opinion that the federal government should be more balanced in its presentation of the realities.
“I can quite agree, for example, with the projected inflation of 2 – 3 per cent because of technically higher base but Malaysian economy is forecasted “to remain on a STEADY growth” is not bluffing but it’s not telling the truth either.
“If one can plot the graph, our GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate actually continues to dive south for the last few years into 2016 and probably into 2017.
“According to latest IMF (International Monetary Fund) WOE (World Economic Outlook), growth for 2015 is forecasted to be 0.3 per cent lower than 2014 and 0.2 per cent lower than the earlier forecast and down risk to 2016 is higher.
“Hence how could out “external position to remain encouraging”? Also when oil prices are expected to trend lower, recovery in advanced economies is fragile, China is struggling to reverse its declining growth, etc?” the blogger wrote.
Another anonymous blogger who blogs as ‘Putra Merdeka’, reminded the federal government that despite the people’s gratefulness of the budget, they should not implement it haphazardly.
The blogger claimed that what the people really wanted is a swift and effective implementation of the things presented in the national budget.
“Just make sure that none of the money allocated for the well-being of the people ends up in the wrong pocket.
“The people at large know how Najib actually governs the country’s economy and the people,” the blogger wrote.