Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tabled the 2017 Budget at the Dewan Rakyat today. There are quite a few things to take in, but here are the main highlights of Budget 2017, which was themed "Ensuring Unity and Economic Growth, Inclusive Prudent Spending, Well-Being of the Rakyat
- The government allocated RM260.8 billion for 2017, which is a 3.4% increase from Budget 2016.
- Malaysia’s economy grew 4.1% and is expected to grow 4% to 5% in 2017, led by manufacturing to grow 4.1%, construction 8.3% and services 5.7%.
- As of 19 October 2016, GST collection has reached nearly RM30 billion. The total GST collection is expected to increase by 1.82% to RM40 billion in 2017 from RM38.50 billion in 2016.
- Malaysia is now an upper middle-income country, surpassing many countries in Asia and also across the world.
- The Prime Minister also said to not believe hearsays about an increase in GST rate as it will remain at 6%.
If you can’t be bothered to look at those numbers, here are some of the key items targeted at specific groups of people:
For civil servants:
- Fully paid study leave with scholarship to the Support Group that is currently limited to Management and Professional Group.
- Quarantine Leave of up to five days without record to public servants whose children are ill and required to be quarantined.
- To extend the existing Computer Loan facility to encompass the purchase of smartphones. This facility can be utilised by public servants once every three years with a maximum loan of RM5,000.
- Motorcycle loan limit increased from RM5,000 to RM10,000.
- To increase public servants' housing loans eligibility from between RM120,000 and RM600,000 to between RM200,000 and RM750,000.
- To complete 30,000 units of 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing (PPA1M) with selling price between RM90,000 and RM300,000 which is 20% below market price.
- To extend the contract of service and contract for service officers, expiring end of the year for at least a year.
- To appoint the first group of doctors, dentists and pharmacists on contract latest by December 2016 due to constraints in permanent posts. Nearly 2,600 doctors who were unable to undergo housemanship in hospitals will now serve on contract.
For the rakyat:
- Households registered in the e-Kasih database with a monthly income of under RM3,000 will receive BR1M totalling RM1,200.
- Households earning between RM3,000 and RM4,000 will receive BR1M amounting to RM900.
- Single individuals who earn less than RM2,000 will receive BR1M assistance of up to RM450.
- To brighten the villages at night, a total of 97,000 street lights and 3,000 LED lights will be installed at crossroads. This involves 7,500 villages nationwide.
- To enhance the connectivity of villages, towns and cities, a total of 616km of village roads and bridges will be built and upgraded with an allocation of RM1.2 billion.
- To maintain state roads, a total of RM4.6 billion is allocated to all states under the Malaysian Road Records Information System (MARRIS).
- To build and refurbish 17,000 units of destitute and dilapidated houses in remote villages and Orang Asli settlements with an allocation of RM350 million.
- To increase the supply of clean water with an allocation of RM732 million, targeting 5,200 houses, including the upgrading of FELDA water supply system. A water supply fund is to be established immediately with an allocation of RM500 million to address water supply issues throughout the nation. To improve capacity and ensure water supply, government will allocate grants totalling RM156 million and loans amounting to RM509 million.
- To provide electricity supply in rural areas, targeting approximately 10,000 houses with an allocation of RM460 million.
- RM300 million under the 1Malaysia Maintenance Fund (TP1M) to be allocated to repair facilities at flats and 113 People's Housing Programme (PPR) in urban and suburban areas.
For first-time home buyers:
- NBOS, government vacant lands will be provided to GLCs and Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) to build more than 30,000 houses with selling price of RM150,000 to RM300,000.
- To build around 10,000 houses in urban areas for rental to eligible youths. They may rent up to a maximum of five years at a lower-than-market rate.
- To build 5,000 units of People Friendly Home (PMR) with the government subsidising up to RM20,000 per unit. For this purpose, RM200 million will be allocated to Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad.
For tax payers:
- The purchase of reading materials, computers and sports equipment to be combined as the lifestyle tax relief go up to RM2,500 per year effective 2017.
- To include the purchase of printed newspapers, smartphones and tablets, internet subscriptions as well as gym membership fees.
For better-income-opportunities seekers (especially the B40 group):
- To expand the MySuria Prog nationwide with allocation of RM45 million. Solar panels will be installed in more than 1,600 houses.
- To expand the Mobileprenuer Programme by Giatmara with an allocation of RM30 million targeting 3,000 participants using motorcycles.
- Introduction of agropreneur programs to produce 3,000 young entrepreneurs with an allocation of RM100 million.
- To revitalise eUsahawan and eRezeki programmes under MDEC, comprising 300,000 participants with an allocation of RM100 million.
- To encourage participation as ride-sharing drivers such as Uber.
- Households in the e-Kasih database with a monthly income below than RM3,000, BR1M will be increased to RM1,200.
- Households earning between RM3,000 and RM4,000, BR1M will be increased from RM800 to RM900.
- Single individuals earning below RM2,000, BR1M will be increased from RM400 to RM450.
- The Bereavement Scheme will be continued with the RM1,000 compensation given to the next of kin of BR1M recipients for households. BR1M will benefit 7 million recipients with an allocation of RM6.8 billion.
- To build and upgrade new hospitals and clinics in Perlis, Kuching, Mukah, Jempol, Muar and Johor Bahru.
- To upgrade hospital facilities with an allocation of RM536 million. This includes provision of cardiology treatment equipment for Serdang Hospital, Penang Hospital and Sultanah Aminah Hospital as well as purchase of 100 ambulances.
- To allocate RM4.5 billion for the operations of 340 1Malaysia clinics, 11 1Malaysia mobile clinics, 959 health clinics and more than 1,800 existing rural clinics
- To allocate RM4 billion for supply of drugs, consumables, vaccines and reagents to all government hospitals and health facilities.
- The government will allocate RM110 million of which RM70 million is for medical assistance.
- To encourage the establishment of more private haemodialysis centres, the government will provide one-off grants worth RM200,000 for purchasing of equipment with a total of RM40 million in allocation.
- To expand the National Community Health Empowerment Programme in view of Zika and dengue. This involves an allocation of RM80 million.
For students and education:
- To continue with the additional food assistance and Per Capita grant to children enrolled in TABIKA and TASKA programmes.
- To improve daily nutritional food packages that are more balanced including 250ml of milk, raisins and eggs. This will benefit nearly 280,000 children with an allocation of RM200 million.
- A sum of RM132 million is provided to improve access to preschool education in government schools for free, benefitting 200,000 children.
- MCMC will provide free tablets to assist teaching to 430,000 teachers with an allocation of RM340 million.
For internet users:
- Effective January 2017, fixed line broadband service providers will offer services at a higher speed for the same price. Eg. RM149 at 10mbps. MCMC provided RM1 billion to ensure coverage and quality of broadband nationwide reaches up to 20mbps.
- Within the next two years, for this package, the speed will be doubled with the reduction in prices by 50%.
- To launch initiative for ethernet broadband, services in public universities to be increased to a maximum of 100GB per second.
- To provide schooling assistance programme of RM100 to students from families earning up to RM3,000. This will benefit 3.5 million students.
- To allocate RM1.1 billion for Hostel Meal Assistance Programme for 365,000 students.
- To allocate RM300 million for 1Malaysia Supplementary Food Programme for primary school students.
- To provide RM1.1 billion to include Additional Assistance Payment for School Fees, Textbook Assistance and Per capita Grant Assistance.
- To provide matching grants of up to RM50 accumulated savings in SSPM-i.
- To provide Special Needs Student Allowance of RM150 monthly, involving 67,000 students and replace buses for 21 special education schools.
- To provide RM600 million to Special Fund for Improvement and Maintenance of Schools.
For college students:
- 20 public universities allocated RM7.4 billion to empower research universities. From this amount, RM1.4 billion is to four university hospitals and RM300 million is for the empowerment of five research universities.
- Book vouchers for university students will be replaced with student debit card worth RM250.
For PTPTN recipients (effective 22 Oct 2016 to Dec 2017):
- 15% discount on the outstanding debt for full settlement.
- 10% discount for payment of at least 50% of debt made in single payment.
- 10% discount for repayment through salary deduction or direct debit in accordance with the repayment schedule.
- RM2 billion is allocated for programmes such as I-KIT, I-KeuNita and Women Career Comeback.
- RM30 million for women to undergo mammogram screening and receive Human Papilloma Virus vaccination to prevent cancer, for free.
- To support working women who are still breastfeeding, government will introduce tax relief up to RM1,000, claimable for purchase of breastfeeding equipment.
- Tax relief of up to RM1,000 for taxpayers who enroll their children aged 6 years and below, into registered nurseries and pre-schools.
Last but not least, a special assistance of RM500 is allocated to all public servants, while government retirees will receive a special payment of RM250.
So what are your thoughts on Budget 2017?