KUALA LUMPUR – October 27, 2017: As expected, opposition leaders have thrashed the Budget 2018 tabled today by insisting that it is a populist ploy to woo voters in view of the next general elections due latest by after late June.
They describe it as something obviously designed to please voters, especially civil servants and those in the rural areas.
They were referring to the 10,000 homes to be built for the police under the 1Malaysia civil servants housing scheme, the RM1,000 to RM1,500 one-off handout to 9,800 village heads and the introduction of second time-based promotion for civil servants who remain not promoted after 13 years of service.
Lim Guan Eng (DAP- Bagan) considered that such provisions are useless because the people will continue to suffer as long as the Barisan Nasional government does not abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST)
“The problem with an election-oriented budget is that it hides the underlying weaknesses impacting the country and the weaknesses are the GST and the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal,” said Lim, who is also the DAP secretary-general.
“If you look at other countries that have implemented the GST you’ll see that the rate keeps increasing. When Singapore started with theirs, the rate was 3 per cent and now it is 7 per cent. This budget shows us that the GST will still be here as long as BN rules the country and its rate will be higher from now,” he added.
The GST was implemented in April 2015 to replace the Sales and Services Tax.
When tabling the budget, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak projected that this year’s RM41.7 billion GST revenue will increase to RM44 billion next year.
Commenting on this, Wong Chen (PKR- Kelana Jaya) claimed that the RM2.3 billion increment is evidence that Najib had contradicted his pledge to ease the people’s suffering.
“It’s a bit worrying because if you read the budget you’ll realised that every family is expected to pay RM30 extra in GST next year.
“The government also said that they wanted to reduce the rate of income tax but in the budget book they projected an increment of the collection of income tax.”
Wong said the people need to be extra critical of such an election budget as most of what Najib promises to the people are not reflected in the budget book.
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) on the other hand claimed that some provisions of the budget mimick those of his government’s.
He said one is the Sons of Malaysia Trust Scheme 2050 (Adam2050), where all Malaysian babies born between January 1, 2018, and 2020 will get an RM200 savings in Permodalan Nasional Berhad’s unit trust scheme.
He also expressed dissapointment that the government has only allocated RM4.5 million for the technical and vocational education and training-related (TVET) development provision.
“How effective do you think our youths can be trained with such a measly amount of fund? Even the Selangor government allocated more than RM50 million for our TVET programmes,” Azmin added.