MALAYSIA 2008 ELECTION BUDGET RM176.9b – Goodies for ALL; Enhance Nation's Competitiveness; Strengthens Human Capital Development; Share Prosperity
ABOVE & BELOW: Malaysiakini have two early 2008 Budget reports (details H E R E & H E R E)- as usual by Subscription. But read on...It is too Generous and Too good to be true in this 2008 Malaysia Election Budget. What more do you all civil servants want except the quantum of Bonus which was not announced?
Friday September 7, ; By Eileen Ng, Associated Press Writer
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- The Malaysian government announced Friday a further corporate tax reduction, and offered Islamic fund management companies concessions -- including full foreign ownership and a nine-year tax holiday -- as part of the 2008 budget. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also unveiled steps to stimulate the property sector, and said he was abolishing all school fees, which had already been negligible, in government schools. Textbooks will be free, he said.
"The budget will focus on three main strategies, namely enhancing the nation's competitiveness, strengthening human capital development and sharing the well being of all Malaysians," he said, reading out the budget, dressed in dark blue traditional Malay shirt and black cap. Corporate tax, already slated to go down to 26 percent in 2008, will be reduced to 25 percent in 2009 to "enhance the nation's competitiveness and spur the growth of private investment," Abdullah said in announcing the 176.9 billion ringgit ($50.54 billion) budget.
Corporate tax is currently 27 percent.
"I am confident that this reduction will have spillover effects in terms of economic growth and employment opportunities," he said in his 1 1/2 hour-seech. But he disappointed most Malaysians by failing to provide any other tax reliefs, including in personal income tax. In a bid to consolidate its position as a global Islamic financial hub,
The government's pension scheme, the Employment Provident Fund or EPF, will channel 7 billion ringgit ($2 billion) to be managed by Islamic fund management companies. These companies will be given income tax exemption on all fees received until 2016, and will be allowed to invest all their assets abroad. At the same time, the government said it will issue three new stock broking licensees to companies that can source investment funds from the Arab countries. Abdullah said the government will let Malaysians make monthly withdrawals from the EPF to finance house purchases. The scheme will make available up to 9.6 billion ringgit ($2.74 billion) annually for buying houses. The government will also give 50 percent stamp duty exemption on the purchase of a house worth less than 250,000 ringgit ($72,000). The measure will reduce the cost of purchasing a house by up to 2,000 ringgit ($571).
Abdullah said the economy is projected to grow between 6 and 6.5 percent in 2008, driven by stronger private investment and consumption as well as public consumption. Private investment is expected to expand at 9.5 percent. The budget is 10.9 percent higher than 2007. In a separate economic report, also released Friday, the Finance Ministry said economic growth next year will remain broad-based, led by consumer spending, increased global demand for commodities like oil, gas and palm oil as well as higher exports growth of 6.8 percent from 4.8 percent this year.
September 07, 2007
Abdullah Unveils A Generous Budget For All
A Budget for all. That sums up the 2008 Budget unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today, which offers goodies to all segments of the Malaysian population,from kindergarten kids, civil servants and businessmen to senior citizens. Totalling RM176.9 billion, the generous budget, an increase of 10.9 per cent from this year's, emphasises three main strategies -- enhancing the nation's competitiveness, strengthening human capital development and ensuring the well-being of all Malaysians. Coming on the heels of the nation's 50th birthday just a week ago, the budget is aimed at countering the increasing cost of living through measures to raise the people's disposable income.
"As we enter the next 50 years, it is important that we leverage on the strength of our diversity and remain united in our quest towards achieving developed nation status," Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister, said when tabling the 2008 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat here. Themed "
ABOVE: without the full support of the Opposition (but the 1st ladies, at the back) and BELOW (his entire cabinet) and back-benches & civil servants. how Not to romp in with a landslide majority in the coming GE?
"The reduction in corporate tax (the government in the 2007 Budget announced a reduction of corporate tax from 28 per cent to 27 per cent in 2007, 26 per cent in 2008 and 25 per cent in 2005) and the introduction of the single-tier system will enable higher dividends to be distributed to share holders," said Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister. The prime minister also announced several measures to be adopted by the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) in an effort to ensure a conducive environment to attract private investment. To attract quality human capital, especially professionals and skilled workers, the government will encourage and facilitate the entry of foreign workers who can add value to the nation's economy.
To this end, the Immigration Department will shorten the processing period for the issuance of work permits to seven days for skilled workers, compared with 14 days previously. A new category of visa for business travellers would also be introduced to provide for a longer validity period, apart from the introduction of other features to facilitate easier entry into the country effective
Not letting-up the push for the agricultural sector, Abdullah said several new sources of growth had been identified in this field, such as the pioneer project of virgin coconut oil processing, commercialising of nira nipah products and breeding of Boer goats. To encourage the cooperation between bio-technology companies and local universities, Bionexus status companies would be allowed to use the laboratories and reserach facilities at these universities. To further promote the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) internationally, Abdullah said, the government would host the World ICT Week in
Moving to the second thrust of the budget, the prime minister announced the abolishment of school fees for primary and secondary school students. On top of this, the government would also provide free textbooks for all school-going children while giving an exemption of examination fees for the Sijil Tinggi Agama
from this scheme compared with 4.5 million students currently. With these measures, schooling in
Recognising the important role of teachers, the prime minister announced an increase in the allowance for special education teachers from RM100 to RM250 per month, a rise in allowance for graduate substitute teachers from RM85 to RM150 per day and an allowance of RM60 per hour for degree holders and RM50 per hour for diploma holders teaching Chinese and Tamil languages in national schools. Retired teachers, given their expertise and vast experience, can continue to contribute in the field of education. Retired teachers will therefore be recruited to train teachers and serve as substitute teachers," Abdullah said.
To strengthen higher education, a sum of RM12 billion has been provided for the implementation of projects and programmes, including enhancing research and development and commercialisation activities in four research universities and increasing the allocation to Universiti Teknologi Mara to achieve the target of 200,000 students by 2010.
The fund would also be used to upgrade and expand Universiti
The new rates, which will be effective from the first semester of the 2007 session, will benefit more than 90,000 students and effective September 2007, the government hiked the cost of living allowance (Cola) for students in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada by up to 97 per cent, almost double the current rate.
In 2006, the government increased the Cola for students studying in
To ensure an adequate supply of highly skilled workers to meet the demand of the ICT industry, a Knowledge Workers Development Institute would be established in Cyberjaya. "The MSC Malaysian Digital Animation Centre will be set up in Cyberjaya to support the development of the digital animation industry as well as increase local expertise in the area," Abdullah said. To establish a knowledge-based economy and narrow the digital divide, the government closely monitored the rollout of broadband by service providers, he said. Speaking on the last strategy of the 2008 Budget, a total of RM381 million would be allocated for the construction of low-cost houses and from this, RM191 million would be used for the Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Disewa, while the remainder would be allocated for PPR Bersepadu.
He said Syarikat Perumahan Negara would also expedite the construction of housing for the low-income group, which includes the rehabilitation of 6,000 units in abandoned housing projects and the construction of 36,000 units of affordable homes and 4,000 units of Rumah Mesra Rakyat. "The government recognises the difficulties faced by those without fixed income, such as farmers and small traders, to obtain bank loans to finance the purchase of low- and medium-cost houses. "As such, the government will establish a fund to provide guarantees to banks which provide loans to this group. For a start, RM50 million is allocated to provide such guarantees to Bank Simpanan Nasional and Bank Islam Bhd effective
"In 2008, an allocation of RM782 million is provided to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. Among the programmes and projects to be implemented are skills training and capacity building, particularly single mothers," he said. Recognising the importance of early education, the government's pre-school education programme would be expanded with the construction of 280 new kindergartens throughout the country with an allocation of RM105 million. With this, the number of kindergartens will increase to more than 7,600 to accommodate 300,000 children between 4 and 6 years.
On the well-being of senior citizens, the prime minister said that to improve returns on the savings of this group, a RM2 billion bond would be issued by Bank Negara
Speaking on health, the prime minister said RM13 billion was allocated for improving the quality of hospital services, purchasing medical supply and health equipment. Among the major projects to be implemented next year are the construction of the Ulu Kinta Allied Health Science College,
Abdullah said that to ensure the culture of good maintenance, the government has allocated RM9.7 billion for various types of maintenance works. "To ensure that the allocation is fully ulitilised, ministries and agencies will not be allowed to vire funds to other activities. Action will be taken against government servants who neglect their duties with respect to maintenance," he said. On conservation and preservation of the environment, the government has set aside RM1.1 bilion for flood mitigation programmes in Sungai Muda, Sungai Kelantan, Sungai Damansara, Sungai Prai and Kuala Lumpur Flood Mitigation Project to reduce the occurence of floods. On the importance of the civil service, Abdullah said it was high time that the culture of high performance be adopted in the civil service to spur further improvements in performance.
"For a start, secretaries-general of ministries and head of services will be offered a three-year contract and the performance rewarded based on KPIs. This contract will be offered to officers who are currently serving in the Diplomatic and Administrative as well as other relevant services," he said. To ensure efficiency of the administration, the government had appointed grade 41 officers on a contract basis to fill vacancies. Many of these contract officers have exhibited high work performance and proven their suitability to be appointed to permanent posts. "These contract officers will be absorbed into the civil service upon recommendations by heads of department," Abdullah said in his 90-minute speech.
= = == =from theSUN
BUDGET 2008: Goodies at a Glance; Llew-Ann Phang; theSun
KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 7 2007): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today tabled his proposed budget for 2008, laying out a slew of measures designed to bring smiles to the lower-income groups and even the corporate sector.
His RM176.9 billion budget, -- an increase of 10.9% from this year's -- is aimed at enhancing the nation's competitiveness, strengthening human capital development and ensuring the well-being of all Malaysians.
These are his proposals:
* Individual tax relief of a maximum of RM300 a year for purchase of sports and exercise equipments, in addition to current relieves of health insurance premium and medical expenses.
* Retirement benefits for private sector employees be given full income tax exemption on condition that compulsory retirement age is provided for in employment contract or collective agreement.
THE ELDERLY and the DISABLED:
* Bank Negara Malaysia will issue RM2 billion in bonds to be subscribed by senior citizens aged 55 years and above, who do not have permanent jobs. The maximum limit per person is RM50,000, with a maturity period of three years and a rate of return of 5% per year.
* Government will increase monthly allowance from RM200 to RM300 per month, for poor and needy senior citizens.
* Allowance increase for disabled workers from RM200 to RM300 and special assistance of RM300 per month for eligible persons taking care of the disabled, who are bed-ridden and patients suffering from chronic illness.
* All examinations and annual primary and secondary school fees will be abolished.
* Text Book Loan Scheme provided to all students beginning the 2008 school session, irrespective of incomes and restrictions on the number of eligible children, benefitting 5.7 million students.
* One free uniform for one uniformed activity for school students who are from families earning a monthly income of below RM1,000.
* Allowance increase for teachers in special education (RM100 to RM250 per month), graduate subsititute from RM85 to RM150 per day, and RM60 per hour for degree holders and RM50 per hour for diploma holders teaching Chinese and Tamil languages in national schools.
* Retired teachers will be recruited to train teachers and serve as substitute teachers.
* Primary and secondary schools funded and well-managed by trust and charitable bodies will be tax-exempted, benefitting Chinese, Tamil and religious schools.
* Government will increase the number of undergraduate students sponsored by the Public Services Department in local universities from 5,000 to 10,000 students.
* Increase cost of living allowance (COLA) by between 23% and 84% for tertiary education students including those in preparatory and language courses effective the first 2007 semester, benefitting more than 90,000 students.
* Effective September 2007, government sponsored students in US,
* Tax relief of up to RM5,000 will be given to individual tax payers in all post-graduate - masters and doctorate - studies in all fields.
* From Jan 1, private valuation allowed for purposes of assessment in stamp duty payment. This will enable transfer of property to be executed pending final valuation from Valuation and Property Services Department.
* Stamp duty exemption of 50% on transfer documents for the purchase of a house not more than RM250,000 per unit, thus reducing costs by up to RM2,000, effective for sale and purchase agreements executed from
* To promote family values and financial security, the Government proposed full stamp duty exemption be given on the transfer of property from husband to wife. In cases where the wife wishes to transfer property to the husband, the same exemption applies.
* Government will establish RM50 million guarantee funds to Bank Simpanan Nasional and Bank Islam Berhad, effective Jan 1 to enable home ownership among the low income group without fixed income.
* To ease the burden of loan repayment, the Government will allow five million EPF contributors to make monthly withdrawals from the balance in Account 2 effective Jan 1 for the financing of one house.
* From Jan 1, fully negotiable commission rates implemented for internet trading and cash transactions to further reduce transaction costs in share investment and trading. In addition, clearing fees will be reduced from 0.04% to 0.03%, with a maximum fee of RM1,000. Minimum broking charges per transaction is fixed at RM40.
* Single-tier tax system to be introduced, effective from year of assessment 2008. Profits only taxed at company level and dividends received exempted from tax. Six years set aside for implementation.
* Corporate tax reduced to 26% for 2008. Proposal for a further reduction of the corporate tax to 25% in 2009.
* Tax deduction for premiums paid on professional indemnity insurance, from assessment year 2008.
* Stamp duty exemptions for mergers and acquisitions approved by the Securities Commission to be extended for another three years - effective until
* Companies undertaking ICT activities outside Cybercities and Cybercentres be centralised in the areas and given MSC Malaysia status and incentives of Pioneer Status with 100% tax exemption of statutory income for 10-year period, Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on qualifying capital expenditure incurred for period of five years which can be offset against 100% of statutory income for each assessment year.
* Small and medium enterprises exempted for two-years from submitting tax payable estimates and instalment payment with full income tax payment being made no later than seven months from the date of account closing.
* Tax deduction for disabled-friendly renovation costs to the work place for employers.
* Tax deduction for private sector initiatives for public facilities like construction of overhead bridges and playgrounds, even if these investments also benefit the companies.
* To encourage companies to install security and surveillance equipment, the government proposes that Accelerated Capital Allowance be given for security control equipment installed in factory premises and vehicle surveillance equipment in container lorries (Carrier License A) and general cargo lorries (Carrier Licence A and C). The allowance will be fully written off within one year and equipments must be approved by the Finance Minister, effective from assessment year 2008 - 2012.
Among incentives introduced to further enhance tax incentives for energy conservation are:
* Companies providing energy conservation services receive Pioneer Status incentives of 100% tax exemption for 10 years or Investment Tax Allowance increased to 100% of qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years, with allowance to be set off against 100% of statutory income for each assessment year.
* Companies which incur capital expenditure for energy conservation for own consumption will obtain Investment Tax Allowance increase to 100% - from 60% - of the qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years, set off against 100% of statutory income for each assessment year.
* Incomes derived from the companies through the trading of Certified Emission Reductions certifications will be tax exempted, effective assessment year 2008 - 2010.
MEDICAL DEVICES TESTING LABORATORIES:
Incentives for applications received by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) from Saturday (Sept 8) and Dec 31, 2012.
* Companies investing in setting up a new laboratories or upgrading earn Pioneer Status with full tax exemption for five years or Investment Tax Allowance of 60% on qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five year period which can be set off against 100% of the statutory income for each assessment year.
* Companies upgrading an existing facility get an Investment Tax Allowance of 60% on qualifying capital expenditure incurred within a period of five years, which can be set off against 100% of statutory income of each assessment year.
* Income tax exemption equivalent to 100% of qualifying capital expenditure incurred for broadband infrastructure with the allowance to be set off against 70% of the statutory income for each assesment year, similar to the Investment Allowance. This should be applied for to the Finance Ministry.
* Import duty and sales tax exemptions to be given on broadband equipment and consumer access devices which are basic in providing the broadband services and manufactured abroad - approved by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority.
* Tax deduction be given to employers on benefits in kind in the form of new computers and payment of broadband subscription fees for employees. Such benefits in kind received by the employees will also be tax exempted.
CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION:
* In applying for licences and permits for the manufacturing sector and hotels, the number of documents used by government departments will be streamlined. Customs Department will merge 16 customs forms into four, effective
* Immigration Department will introduce new business travellers visa category providing for longer validity period. Other features to facilitate easier entry will be introduced. Effective
POLICE and CIVIL SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS:
* Royal Malaysian Police will be enhanced with the recruitment of 60,000 new personnel over the next five years. Investigating officers and assistant investigating officers will be supplied with an additional 2,000 national cars and 1,600 laptops. In addition, 1,900 motorcycles will be provided to increase police presence and a Mobile Forensic Unit will be set up in each police contingent.
Budget-Highlights (G e n e r a l)
* The period for income tax refund is reduced from six months to between 14 to 30 days for e-filling application.
* Registration of companies is now immediate, compared to three days previously.
* The approval time for the Environmental Impact Assessment is reduced from three months to five weeks.
* Immigration Department will shorten the processing period for the issuance of work permits for skilled workers from 14 to seven days effective
* Immigration Department will introduce a new category of visa for business travellers, which validity period will be longer, effective
* The process for obtaining professional visit passes for knowledge workers will be streamlined by enabling applications to be made in Malaysian embassies and consulates overseas, effective
* A Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board will be established under the Securities Commission to monitor auditors of public companies to ensure that the quality and reliability of audited financial statements are enhanced.
* The Code of Corporate Governance is being amended to improve the quality of the Boards of public-listed companies (PLCs) and the amendment will be implemented from
* A 50 per cent stamp duty exemption on documents of transfer will be given for the purchase of one house of not more than RM250,000 per unit.
* RM6.5 billion is allocated for the agricultural sector. Among the programmes to be implemented include encouraging the cultivation of floriculture, herbs and spices.
* RM236 million is provided for the biotechnology industry. Among the projects are the development of biodiversity research centre, biotechnology commercialisation centre and anti-cancer compound research.
* To further promote MSC internationally, the government will host the World ICT Week in
* Several measures will be taken to enhance Cyberjaya's attraction as a major
*RM858 million is allocated for the implementation of various programmes to further increase
* RM22 million is provided to increase homestay activities in 47 selected villages.
*RM30 billion is allocated for the Education Ministry, including the implementation of the Education Development Blueprint.
* RM500,000 will be provided to each cluster school for co-curriculum activities, training as well as educational equipment.
* The annual fee for primary and secondary schools as well as the examination fee for Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia has been abolished effective 2008.
* The Text Book Loan Scheme will be provided to all students, irrespective of their families' income and with no restrictions on the number of eligible children, beginning the 2008 school session.
* School students from families with a monthly income of RM1,000 and below will be provided with a free uniform for one co-curriculum activity requiring uniform.
* Special education teachers will receive an increase in allowance from RM100 to RM250 per month.
* Graduate substitute teachers will receive a raise in allowance from RM85 to RM 150 per day.
* An allowance of RM60 per hour will be provided for degree holders and RM50 per hour for diploma holders teaching Chinese and Tamil languages in national primary schools.
* Retired teachers will be recruited to train teachers and serve as substitute teachers.
* Primary and secondary schools funded and well-managed by trust and charitable bodies will be given income tax exemption.
* RM12 billion is provided for the implementation of various higher education projects and programmes to produce highly knowledgable and first class human capital as well as develop world-class higher institution.
* The Public Service Department (PSD) will increase sponsorship for undergraduate students in local universities from 5,000 students to 10,000 annually, beginning 2008.
* The cost of living allowance (COLA) for students in local higher learning institutions, including those attending preparatory and language courses, will be increased between 23 and 84 per cent effective the start of the first semester 2007 session.
* COLA for PSD-sponsored students in the
* RM2 billion is allocated to various government training agencies to increase the number and quality of trained workers, in line with the needs of the labour market.
*RM480 million is allocated for GiatMARA and Industrial Training Institute (ILP) training programmes, as well as skills training in the National Youth Training Institute.
*RM550 million is allocated tp upgrade polytechnic and community colleges to enhance the capacity of training institution.
* RM750 million is allocated for the construction of Advanced Technology Training Centre in Taiping and ILP in Marang.
* The scope of the Human Resource Development Fund will be expanded to provide greater flexibility for employers to choose training and advanced education programmes for their staff.
* The Human Resource Development Fund will be amended to allow employers to provide financial assistance to enable their employees to pursue Masters or Doctoral degrees, especially in new and high technology areas
* For 2008, RM100 million will be allocated to train 50,000 workers under the Masterskills Training Programme, encompassing management skills and physical construction.
* For 2008, RM230 million is allocation for the Science Fund, RM300 million for the Techno Fund and RM546 million for research institution.
* The rate of royalty payment to researchers will be increased to 80 per cent and the balance to research institutions.
* More Technology Licensing Offices will be established in research centres and public universities such as SIRIM and Universiti Sains
* A Knowledge Workers Development Institute will be set up in Cyberjaya to support the development of the digital animation industry as well as increase local expertise in the area.
* Import duty and sales tax exemptions will be given on broadband equipment and consumer access devices
* Tax deduction will be given to employers on benefits in kind in the form of new computers and payment of broadband subscription fees for employees
* RM381 million is allocated for the implementation of low-cost housing programmes, of which RM191 million is allocated for the Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Disewa while RM190 million is allocated for PPR Bersepadu.
* The government will establish a fund to provide guarantees to banks to provide loans for those without fixed income such as farmers and small traders to finance the purchase of low and medium cost houses.
* RM50 million is allocated to provide guarantees to Bank Simpanan Nasional and Bank Islam Berhad so that they could provide loans to those without fixed income, effective
* EPF contributors are allowed to make monthly withdrawals from the balance in Account 2 for the financing of one house, effective
* RM887 million has been allocated to build more quarters for civil servants nationwide in 2008.
* RM12 billion will be expended over the next four years to improve the public transportation system in
*RM4 billion is allocated to implement several projects to improve the quality of life in
* RM4 billion is allocated for the implementation of development projects in
* Individual tax relief of up to RM300 a year will be given on the purchases of sports and exercise equipment.
* A RM2 billion bond will be issued by Bank Negara
* The disabled workers monthly allowance will be increased from RM200 to RM300.
* A special assistance of RM300 a month will be provided for eligible persons taking care of the disabled, who are bed-ridden and patients suffering from chronic illness.
= = = =and for Business
Budget Highlights (B u s i n e s s )
* A single-tier tax system will be implemented from 2008 to improve the efficiency and simplify the adminstration of corporate tax.
* Under the single-tier tax system, profits are only taxed at the company's level and dividends received are exempted from tax.
* A six-year transition period will be provided to ensure smooth implementation of the single-tier system.
* A further reduction of corporate tax to 25 percent will be implemented in 2009. Corporate tax in 2008 is at 26 percent.
* Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board to be established under the auspices of the Securities Commission to monitor auditors of public companies.
* Code of Corporate Governance being reviewed to improve quality of boards of public listed companies.
* Companies with high standards of corporate governance and market conduct will be accorded green lane status, which includes shorter time frame for processing of corporate proposals and longer period of licensing.
* Stamp duty exemption on instruments related to mergers and acquisitions of PLCs will be extended to
* Petronas's over 1,000 vendors told to merge to be more competitive globally. Stamp duty exemption to be given on all instruments relating to mergers of such vendors implemented by
* Foreign ownership on fund management companies and REITs management companies will be allowed up to 70 percent with minimum Bumiputera ownership requirement remaining at 30 percent.
* Commission rates for internet trading and cash upfront transactions will be fully negotiable to reduce cost of transactions in share investment by retail investors.
* Clearing fees to be reduced to 0.03 percent from 0.04 percent, with maximum fee of RM1,000.
* Minimum broking charges per transaction is fixed at RM40.
* Islamic fund management companies will be allowed to be wholly owned by foreigners.
* A RM7 billion fund will be channelled by EPF to be managed by Islamic fund management companies.
* Islamic fund management companies will be allowed to invest all assets abroad.
* Income tax exemption until 2016 will be given to fund management companies on all fees received in respect of Islamic fund management activities.
* To attract greater middle eastern investments, tax incentives will be provided for existing stockbroking companies to set up Islamic stockbroking subsidiaries.
* Three new stockbroking licenses to be issued to leading stockbroking companies that are able to source and intermediate business and order flows from the
* To further promote the Takaful industry, several tax treatment will be enhanced, including tax cut on the share of distributed profits.
* Labuan Offshore companies to be given option to be taxe under the Income Tax Act 1967.
* A 50 percent stamp duty exemption to be given on documents of transfer for the purchase of one house, of not more than RM250,000 per unit.
* RM400 million initial fund has been earmarked by Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputera Bhd to increase Bumiputera property investment in Iskandar Development Region (IDR).
* Government to provide additional RM100 million for investments in healthcare services related projects in IDR.
* SMEs will be given a two-year flexibility to pay taxes at the end of financial year instead of monthly instalments.
* Last mile network facilities providers will be given investment allowance of 100 percent on capital expenditure incurred for broadband up to
* Import duty and sales tax exemptions will be given on broadband equipment and consumer access devices.
* RM12 billion will be spent, over the next four years, to improve public transportation system in
* Penang Outer Ring Road Project will be implemented on a tender basis shortly.
* The East Coast Economic Region, the Sabah Corridor and the Sarawak Corridor will be launched soon.
* To eradicate hard core poverty, RM214 million will be allocated for Skim Pembangunan Kesejahteraan Rakyat; and RM117 million for Program Pengurangan Kemiskinan and Program Lonjakan Mega.
* RM680 million to be provided for the construction of rural and village roads, RM462 million for rural water and electricity suppply projects, RM70 million for social amenities, and RM15 million for ICT education in rural areas.
* Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) allocates RM45 million for the implementation of SchoolNet project to provide internet services to schools.
* RM13 billion allocated for improving the quality of hospital services, purchasing medical supply and health equipment.
* Ulu Kinta Allied Health Science College,
* Pioneer status of 100 percent or investment tax allowance of 60 percent for five years will be given to companies undertaking investments in laboratories of international standards for testing of medical devices.
* In efforts to inculcate corporate social responsibility (CSR), public limited companies (PLCs) will have to disclose their employment composition by race and gender, as well as programmes undertaken to develop domestic and bumiputera vendors.
* Government will support efforts to set up a CSR Fund with an initial sum of RM50 million, to be used to jointly finance selected CSR projects.
* RM9.7 billion to be allocated for various types of maintenance works.
* RM176.9 billion to be allocated for 2008 Budget, up 10.9 percent from 2007, of which RM128.8 billion is for operating expenditure and RM48.1 billion is for development expenditure.
* RM64 billion or 49.6 percent of operating expenditure is for fixed charges and grants, RM36.2 billion is for emoluments, RM25.5 billion for supplies an services, RM2.1 billion for purchase of assets and RM1.13 million for other expenditures.
* The largest allocation for development expenditure at RM20.6 billion is for the agriculture, industry and infrastructure sectors; RM15.6 billion is for education, health and housing sectors; RM7.0 billion for security sector; RM2.9 billion for administration; and RM2.0 billion for contigencies.
* The government expects to reduce its fiscal deficit to 3.2 percent of GDP in 2007 from 3.3 percent in 2006.
* Fiscal deficit to be reduced further to 3.1 percent in 2008.
* Economic growth in 2008 is projected at between 6.0-6.5 percent for 2008.
= == = ==BACKGROUND Pre Budget expectations
Abdullah: 2008 Budget Has Crucial Role In The Success Of National
PUTRAJAYA, May 29 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the 2008 Budget will play an important role in the success of the five thrusts underlined in the National
Also present at the event was Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, and Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz. Abdullah said among the major risks for the country included the possibility of a more than expected slowdown in the American economy and the possibility of further uncertainty in the international financial market. Other factors include inflationary pressure following the rise again in the world price of crude oil and the risk of increased trade protection practices should the
The Prime Minister said that all parties, including the private sector, should look at being more creative and innovative in the suggestions they make. The overall impact of their suggestions in terms of cost and benefits for other parties including the government should be taken into account, he said. The implications of the proposals to the well being of the people and the environment should also be considered, Abdullah said. Besides an all-round economic growth, the government has always stressed on better living standards for the people and balanced development, he said. In line with the government's objective of achieving balanced development, it has selected "Raising Competitiveness and Sharing Economic Prosperity" as the theme for the 2008 Budget. Among issues tabled today covered specific areas like macroeconomy, sectoral and social.Abdullah said all the proposals and measures brought up at the consultation session including memorandas presented to the Ministry of Finance will be given the due attention. If suitable, they would be used as input for policy making, strategies and programmes in the preparation of the 2008 Budget. The Budget will be tabled at the Parliament this September 7
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Malaysia's 2008 budget deficit at 3.1 percent of GDP
Fri, 07 Sep 2007, 09:17
KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Financial) - Malaysia is expected to record a smaller budget deficit of 3.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2008, against a revised estimate of 3.2 percent for 2007, although federal government revenue is estimated to grow at a slower pace, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said Friday in its 2007/2008 Economic Report. The budget deficit for 2007 was initially estimated at 3.4 percent of GDP. The report said the government is proposing a development budget of 168.026 billion ringgit for 2008, an increase of 2.5 percent over 2007. Federal government revenue for 2008 is estimated to grow at a slower rate of 3.7 percent to 147.093 billion ringgit, compared to the 14.8 percent increase in 2007, it said.
The report did not provide an explanation for the drastic drop in revenue growth. But in the 2007 Budget, the government announced a progressive reduction of corporate tax rate from 28 percent in 2006 to 27 percent this year and 26 percent in 2008. Operating expenditure, which includes wages paid to the country's one million civil servants, is estimated at 128.799 billion ringgit, a rise of four percent from 2007. The increase is significantly lower than the 15.0 percent rise estimated for 2007. 'A significant portion of this (2007) increase is due to adjustments in salary and cost of living allowance (of civil servants),' the MoF said. Meanwhile, development expenditure is estimated at 39.227 billion ringgit, up 3.6 percent from 2007. The development expenditure is estimated to grow at a rate of 8.3 percent in 2007. 'While the government continues to pursue fiscal consolidation, it will not be at the expense of economic growth,' the MoF said.
The fiscal position of the federal government is expected to remain manageable in 2008 on account of a more favourable economic outlook, it said.This year's budget marks the third under the five-year Ninth Malaysia Plan launched in 2006. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi pledged to spend up to 200 billion ringgit in infrastructure development under the development blueprint.
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Robust Services To Lead All Other Sectors In Steady Growth In 2008
retail trade as well as the accommodation and restaurants sub-sectors. The real estate, business services as well as finance and insurance sub-sectors are expected to benefit mainly from increased property transactions and continued expansion in the demand for information technology-related and financial services. The Treasury also anticipates sustained growth in the transport and storage as well as communication sub-sectors following the upgrading of port facilities, higher investment in the air and land transportation segments and enhancement in telecommunication network. The stronger growth projected for the construction sector is backed by the ongoing infrastructure projects and newly launched projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), particularly the development of growth corridors.
"Growth is also expected to emanate from the implementation of major transport-related projects, such as the
Turning to the manufacturing sector, the Treasury says growth is projected at 3.8 percent in 2008 (2007: 3.1 percent) in line with expansion in global trade.
"Global demand for manufactured goods, particularly electrical and electronics products, is expected to rise sharply, underpinned by sustained world growth and strengthening
"Growth in non-metallic minerals and metal industries will be further supported by increased activity in the domestic economy, in particular construction." On the mining sector, the Treasury forecasts it to grow by 4.0 percent (2007: 3.3 percent) supported by higher production of crude oil andnatural gas. Production of crude oil is expected to increase following the completion of major aintenance and rejuvenation of several oil wells over the past few years, and the expanded capacity from the oil fields in Kikeh,
The higher production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is contributed by the upgrading and expansion of facilities in the MLNG DUA plant in Bintulu,
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Tourism To Remain Integral Segment In Msian Economy
The industry's gross receipts have been steadily increasing at an average rate of 14.1 per cent a year between 2000 and 2006. Tourist spending remains the main contributor to earnings in the services account, generating 45.3 per cent of gross receipts on an annual basis. The Treasury said travel outflows are also on the rise as more Malaysians travel abroad for business, leisure, education, health and pilgrimage. Gross payments increased by 11.3 per cent a year in the same period. The Treasury said strong tourist spending had cushioned outflows in the
services account as reflected in the higher net inflows posted over the period. Net inflows doubled from RM11.2 billion in 2000 to RM23.5 billion in 2006, significantly improving the deficit in the service account. In addition to the VMY campaign, it said the government was embarking on a number of strategies to raise
The focus will be on quality to change the present composition of tourist arrivals by giving more attention to the long-haul and higher-yield segments. To achieve this, the private sector is expected to come up with more interesting, creative and value-for-money products, especially in the development of niche products, and to raise service standards and quality to meet the demands of high-end tourists, it added.
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Reactions; Malaysia 2008 Budget: No affirmative Actions to Address the Weaknesses; Inflation & Cost living igh; Leakages Bad; No big policy changes
Budget 2008 Achieves Good Balance, Says Khazanah
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 (Bernama) -- The Budget 2008 unveiled today has been described as responsible and achieving a good balance on three key axes -- between growth and distribution, between expansion and prudence and between immediate and medium/longer term imperatives. "In spite of a heavier budgetary burden from large ticket items such as the civil service pay hike, the fiscal deficit target has come down further to 3.1 percent without compromising on growth targets of more than six percent," said Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director, Datuk Azman Mokhtar. "The three key strategies of national competitiveness, human capital and well being of the rakyat are compact and focused. Rather than trying to satisfy too many functions, choices were clearly made which is good," he said in a statement. On the growth front, the government investment arm said measures to drive national and corporate competitiveness were very appropriate and timely, in particular the corporate income tax reduction and the improvements in delivery system through PEMUDAH, civil service reforms and immigration processes. PEMUDAH is an acronym for Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business. "For specific sectors, where Khazanah or our companies operate in, we look forward to the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) specific allocations and measures such as the improved immigration processes, allocations for security and the incentives for the property sector to accelerate development in the IDR in the spirit of public-private partnership."
"In addition, we welcome the emphasis given to several other sectors where we operate in including biotechnology, agriculture, broadband services, information and communications and technology (ICT) and Malaysia International Islamic Financial (MIFC)," he said. He said Khazanah together with the government linked companies (GLCs) would continue to play a leading role in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in line with the government's call. "Benefits from the GLC Transformation Programme have accrued significantly not just to shareholders where some RM129 billion of market capitalisation has been achieved since 2004, but have also been very much extended to all stakeholders." "For instance, in large GLCs such as Tenaga Nasional, Telekom Malaysia and UEM, on average some 70 percent of the procurement running into billions of ringgit a year are currently awarded to Bumiputera suppliers," he said.
In addition, he said that the PINTAR programme to adopt schools especially in underdeveloped areas pioneered by GLCs would continue to gather pace, and GLCs would be ready to further take the lead.
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A Shrewd Budget, Says Nazir Razak
Alliance Financial Group's chief executive officer Datuk Bridget Lai said the incentives for the Islamic financial sector will encourage greater inflow of investments from the Middle East, "They will also spur the development of Islamic funds management and the up-skilling of Islamic banking talents and expertise that will, in the long run, further solidify the country's position as a premier Islamic banking hub," she said. Lai said the exemption of stamp duty for corporate mergers and acquisitions will spur such activities and the investment banking and corporate financing needs. "This exemption will also provide incentive for bank mergers," she said. Public Bank's chairman Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow said Budget 2008 was a major step to continuously ensure timely implementation of projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. "This will be good for the economy. We are confident that the new measures to hasten activities in biotechnology, ICT (information and communications technology) and services sectors will accelerate the process of economic transformation up in the value chain so that
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Opposition Welcomes 2008 Budget
ABOVE: Opposition members in Parliament - all unimpressed by the Budget
"The Budget is more like icing than cake. It is an election Budget which is thinly spread out. We can see the pronouncement, but what about the delivery? We can see that the deficit has been reduced completely, but we still need to work on reducing it further. When you talk about goodies, only one-third comes from the government, where do the rest come from? Furthermore, nothing was mentioned about taking initiative to control the leakages in goodies delivery." - Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
"It's definitely an election Budget with goodies all around. For those who've expected the government to be serious in fighting crime will be disappointed. The Budget is filled with the usual sweet sounding statements and recycled announcements. I don't feel any Malaysian would feel safe in their homes or on the streets after hearing the Budget. Can the women feel safe from crime just because they are given such big allocation?"
- DAP Leader Lim Kit Siang
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“Twenty five percent of the Budget which is allocated for education is a good move but the huge amount allocated for national defence is worrying. Healthcare allocation is high but we hope there is quality assurance in the hospitals, staff and services. I hope there is progress in public transportation's quality too” - DAP MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw
"The Budget is more like icing than cake. It is an election Budget which is thinly spread out. We can see the pronouncement, but what about the delivery? We can see that the deficit has been reduced completely, but we still need to work on reducing it further. When you talk about goodies, only one-third comes from the government, where do the rest come from? Furthermore, nothing was mentioned about taking initiative to control the leakages in goodies delivery." - Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail= == = ==
He, however, had reservations over the proposal to recruit 12,000 policemen a year in view that the training facilities could only accommodate 3,000 at any one time. The proposal on public safety also caught the attention of another DAP MP, Teresa Kok of Seputeh, who expressed the hope that the 2,000 police patrol cars to be provided would be made full use of and not left idling because of lack of drivers as was the case now. She also supported the proposal to give three-year contracts to the secretaries-general of ministries, saying that it would improve the service quality but hoped that the scheme would be extended to all posts. Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, however, said the budget had side-lined the manufacturing sector, the main contributor to the country's economy. PAS Youth head Salahuddin Ayub said the free textbooks for all schoolchildren and the abolishment of school fees were long overdue.
He said next year's budget gave largesse to the corporate sector but the incentives for the agricultural and rural sectors were vague, citing for example, that there was no tax reduction for agriculal equipment and materials. "We are also sad that no bonus was announced for the civil servants, which means that there will be none for this year," the Kubang Kerian MP said.
Stamp Duty Goodie For Husbands, Wives Has Lawmakers In Stitches
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EPF To Announce Details On New Housing Withdrawal In December
In a statement here today, chief executive officer, Datuk Azlan Zainol, said EPF supported the move. "It allows our members, especially the lower income earners, to pay for their monthly housing loans through the new withdrawal scheme. "Currently, EPF allows members to withdraw their savings from Account Two to buy or build a house, and to reduce mortgages. "The new withdrawal, to be implemented in January next year, will enable members to utilse their savings also from Account Two to pay for the monthly instalments," he said.
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Budget 2008 Reflects Govt Committment To Boost Competitiveness
category of visa for business travellers which has a longer validity period as this will facilitate easier entry for businessmen coming into
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2008 Budget Impetus For PM's Agenda To Create Quality Human Capital
In tabling the 2008 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat today, Abdullah, who is the Finance Minister, outlined several measures to empower human capital development -- the second strategy of the budget. Understanding that the moulding of human capital begins at the basic level of education, he announced a RM30-billion allocation to the Education Ministry to empower primary and secondary schools. A portion of the allocation would also help in the implementation of the Education Development Blueprint which incorporates the smart schools programme, upgrading of the teaching profession, and bridging the gap in education between the urban and rural areas. The effort to empower education with the objective of enhancing the quality and performance of schools will see the government establishing 60 cluster schools next year. Each of these schools will be given RM500,000 to undertake co-curricular activities and training and for teaching aids. In a move to provide all children the opportunity to obtain an education and to ease the financial burden on parents, the prime minister
abolished school fees and the fees for the Sijil Tinggi Agama
education totally free. To further reduce the cost of education and encourage the participation of students in co-curricular activities, the government is to provide
free of charge the uniform for any one co-curricular activity to students from families whose household income is RM1,000 or less a month. The prime minister said the active participation of students in co-curricular activities was important in helping to mould character and shape leadership qualities.
In the effort to upgrade the teaching profession, Abdullah announced anincrease in the allowance of special education teachers, from RM100 to RM250 a month, and a rise in the allowance of graduate substitute teachers, from RM85 to RM 150 per day. The government is to also give an allowance of RM60 per hour for degree holders and RM50 per hour for diploma holders teaching Chinese and Tamil languages in national primary schools.
Retired teachers are to be recruited to train teachers and serve as substitute teachers. These measures reflect the government's recognition of the important role of teachers in shaping quality human capital. Primary and secondary schools funded and well-managed by trust and charitable bodies are to be given income tax exemption. This measure will especially benefit Chinese and Tamil schools as well as religious schools. The higher education sector is also strengthened in Budget 2008. As much as RM12 billion is provided for the implementation of various higher education projects and programmes, including stepping up research activities, development and commercialisation at four research universities and increasing allocation to Universiti Teknologi Mara to achieve the target of 200,000 undergraduates by 2010.The allocation is to be used to upgrade and expand Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Universiti Darul Iman and the National Defence University apart from rebranding community colleges through the offer of courses at diploma level, the setting up of new community colleges and intensifying cooperation with the private sector. The programmes are directed at producing highly knowledgable and first-class human capital as well as to develop world-class institutions of higher learning. Also, from next year, the Public Service Department (PSD) will increase sponsorship for undergraduate students in local universities from 5,000 students to 10,000 annually. Some RM2 billion is to be allocated to various government training agencies to increase the number and quality of trained workers, in line with the needs of the labour market. Of the sum, RM480 million is to be allocated for GiatMARA and Industrial Training Institute (ILP) training programmes, as well as skills training
in the National Youth Training Institute. The prime minister also announced the allocation of RM550 million to upgrade polytechnic and community colleges to enhance the capacity of training institutions and RM750 million for the construction of Advanced Technology Training Centre in Taiping and an ILP in Marang. The scope of the Human Resource Development Fund is to be expanded to provide greater flexibility for employers to choose training and advanced education programmes for their staff. To meet the shortage of skilled workers in the construction sector, the use of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD) fund is to be stepped up with the CIBD implementing the Masterskills Training Programme encompassing management skills and physical construction. Among the measures to empower human capital outlined in the 2008 Budget is lifelong learning. "I often emphasise the importance of us always enhancing our value," Abdullah said, and proposed tax exemption of up to RM5,000 on education fees to be extended to all fields at degree level.
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Free Education - Historic Moment In National Education
secondary schools from next year as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the 2008 Budget today is a historic moment in the country's education development, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. He said it showed the emphasis the government paid to the education of children in the country. "It is something everyone should be proud as it marks another milestone in the country's history," he told reporters after the budget's tabling in Parliament today.Abdullah announced that school fees would be abolished in primary and secondary schools while the Textboook Loan Scheme would be extended to all students from next year thus making education at the school level free for its citizens. Besides this, he also announced a RM500,000 allocation for each cluster school (schools of excellence) for the purposes of holding co-curriculum activities, training and purchase of learning tools. On income tax exemption for charity bodies that financed primary and secondary schools especially Chinese and Tamil schools, he said the step showed the government's open attitude towards the variety of education streams.Under the 2008 Budget, a total of RM30 billion will be allocated for education which will also include the implementation of the Education Development Blueprint, the Excellent Schools Programme as well as dignifying the teaching profession and narrowing the education gap between rural and urban areas.
2008 Budget Expected To Be A Boon For The People
"Its a lovely budget because it takes care of the people, it provides lots of consideration for the ordinary people, it thinks of the family, and the unity in the family, husband and wife, everything boils out to say that it's a budget that unites the people and makes them happy," hesaid. He was also happy with the RM9.7 billion allocation for his ministry saying that it would help ensure more efficient and effective general maintenance work.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed advised students to work harder and be thankful to the government for the facilities offered to them in the Budget. "This Budget focuses on the lower income earners to ensure prosperity for the people. The Public Service Department will increase the number of scholarships for students in local universities and also increase the cost of living allowance for students overseas," he added. Under the Budget, more than 90,000 students at local higher learninginstitutions will benefit from the government's move to increase the cost of living allowance (Cola) between 23 per cent and 84 per cent while those studying in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada stand to enjoy an increase in their Cola of up to 97 per cent as of this month.
On the incentives for teachers, Mustapa said it would motivate teachers to perform better and this would further raise the quality of students. "There will be continuation, when there is improvement at the lower level, the standard at the university level will also improve," he added.
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting described the budget as comprehensive and fair for all the people, regardless of their race. "I welcome this budget, especially on matters relating to housing, properties and also the public delivery system," he added. He said the incentive on the 50 per cent stamp duty exemption on documents of transfer for purchase of one house costing not more than RM250,000 and for contributors of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to make monthly withdrawals from the balance in Account 2 for housing loan repayments, would help spur growth in the property and housing industry. On racial integration, Ong, who is also MCA President, said this would be further boosted with the provision of free school text books for all students and the increase in allowance for teachers teaching Chinese and
Tamil in national schools. "If economy is properly planned, people of all races will benefit and there will be no complaints of others getting more. Therefore, we should all ensure success of the country's economic development withoutthinking who we are as long as we are Malaysians," he added.Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said the 2008 Budget was one
which cares about the people's current needs. "This Budget has the strength in terms of strategies which can fulfil the current needs of the people and for a better future for thecountry," he said. "All quarters should welcome this budget because it meets the people's aspiration like efforts to curb crime, increase in allocation for the disabled, increase in scholarships for students abroad and facilities for child care for mothers and welfare homes," he added.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said said she welcomedthe 2008 Budget for allocating RM217 million for sports, including for upgrading and maintenance of sports complexes and facilities.She also hoped that the people would utilise the RM300 tax exemption for buying sporting goods.
People's Progressive Party (PPP) President Datuk M Kayveas said this year's budget was a special gift for Malaysians in conjunction with the country's 50th Merdeka celebration. "Generally, the 2008 Budget is a development budget which outlines steps and strategies to determine the country's development for the next 50 years which encompasses all socio-economic aspects," said Kayveas, who is also deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri ShahrizatAbdul Jalil (ABOVE) said she was happy with the Budget as it contained issues which the ministry had been fighting for. "Certain aid for women, the senior citizens and the disabled have been increased, apart from the tax exemption for companies which carry out their corporate social responsibility," she added.
On tax exemption for companies which provide facilities for the disabled, Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Fong Chang Onn said it would greatly benefit disabled workers in various sectors. "We have raised the matter for so long and I am happy that it is taken into account in this budget," he added. Barisan Nasional Club chairman Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said the 2008 Budget proved the government's seriousness in enhancing human capital and education, especially in abolishing the school fees and provision of free text books to all students
2008 Budget Reflects Govt's Concern For The People,
In KUALA TERENGGANU, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh
said the budget focused on development of human capital and that the proposed abolishing of school fees, free text books and increase in welfare aid reflected the government's concern for the people. "We are also very happy with the additional education allocations proposed for the Industrial Training Institute in Marang and also the Universiti Darul Iman," he told Bernama.
In SEREMBAN, Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan described the 2008 Budget as innovative and comprehensive as it took into account the interests of all people. He said it would also help accelerate balanced growth between the urban and rural areas besides reflecting the government's commitment to achieve Vision 2020.
In KANGAR, Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim welcomed theproposed abolishment of school fees and free text books as it ensure every child would get a good education.
In ALOR STAR, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid lauded the proposed move to abolish school fees as it would ease the financial burden of the low income earners, especially those with many children.
In KUANTAN, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the 2008
Budget was a people-friendly budget and a gift for the people in conjunction with the country's 50th Merdeka anniversary. He said the people would stand to benefit from from various incentives, especially those pertaining to their children's education.
"Giving free text books to school children regardless of their parents income is a step in the right direction to ensure all children have direct and equal access to schooling," he added.
In KUCHING, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said the 2008 Budget, which proposed allocation of RM8 billion for implementation of various projects would help raise the quality of life of the people in Sarawak and Sabah.
Describing it as a generous budget, he was optimistic that theallocation would spur development in both the states. Citing the Sarawak Development Corridor, which would be launched soon, he said it would require federal financial support to spearhead the
revenue-generating energy-intensive industries to be located there. Meanwhile, two
In sharing the same sentiment, PRS president and State Land Development Minister, Datuk Seri Dr James Masing, believed that the focus on improving infrastructure projects would allow better mobility for the rural people besides speeding up the implementation of land development projects.
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Cola Increase To Improve Lives Of Overseas Students
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 (Bernama) -- The 97 per cent increase in the cost-of-living allowance (COLA) for overseas students will help ease their financial burden in their daily life, Open University of Malaysia (OUM) Senior Vice-President Prof Datuk Dr Ansary Ahmed said today. He said the increase was certainly needed by the students as many of them were living below the poverty line in their respective locations abroad. This has forced some of them to take up part-time jobs to supplement their allowance, he said when commenting on the proposal contained in the 2008 Budget which was unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he tabled the budget in the Dewan Rakyat today. Abdullah had, among other things, announced that effective September 2007, COLA for students in the
At present, the institutions of higher learning and training colleges are placed under several ministries, he said. Universiti Malaya (UM) Vice-Chancellor Datuk Rafiah Salim said the tax benefits given for post-graduate studies reflect the government's seriousness on education. On the increase in the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships, she said: "The increase in numbers and the amount is welcomed as the cost of living is quite high and the students would be able to live more comfortably. But I would also like to remind the students to use their funds wisely and to buy new computers instead of buying the latest handphones in the market." Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Vice-Chancellor Datuk Seri Prof Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah stated that the allocation for UiTM would be fully utilised on research and development as well as in improving the current