Politics in general / Umno & Barisan Nasional

Budget 2012 – Embracing the middle class

The most vocal class are often heard to be neglected

We are still talking about the Budget presented by the Prime Minister last Friday in Parliament.

Many reviews, analysis and feedback can be read in blogosphere since that day. As usual, like so many years before, good points were raised and bad things were pointed out.

Obviously no man made things or ideas are perfect. And this Budget is no exception. I believe the government is doing it’s best to present a fair budget that will not be too strenuous to the budget deficit.

To correct a few perception, this budget is not a long term plan or policy for the nation. Neither will it cause the country to be mired with huge debts. It is certainly not a long term development plan like the 10th Malaysia Plan or the New Economic Model.

It is simply a proposal by the government presented to the parliament to get approval by parliamentarians on how government will spend in 2012. It is simple as that. But the thought process into developing the budget was not simple.

Months were spent to figure out the best way to do it without jeopardising the financial health of this country.

With international reserves standing at Rm414.5 billion which could finance 9.5 months of imports and a huge increase of FDI in 2011 (RM21.2 billion for the first 6 months of 2011 as compared to RM29 billion for the whole of 2010), coupled with 2011 income per capita of RM28,725 as compared to RM26,175 in 2010, the economy is forecasted to be growing positively at a maximum 5.5%.

The budget signifies PM’s method underlined in his New Economic Model where it will focus more on needs based approach i.e., developing and improving the 40% of Malaysia’s households that earn less than RM1500 a month.

Although I have a few misgivings on the New Economic Model which can be read here and here, I can’t fault the budget for focussing the needy and the lower income group.

Subsequently, the middle income group feel neglected especially when the lower income earners seemed to get the bulk of the incentives. A quick glean over the social media revealed that feedback from a more vocal middle income were from professionals.

There is nothing wrong for asking the government goodies to alleviate their lifestyle. But when the complaints for not getting any money or incentives came from a section of middle income earners who in the past had chastised the NEP and the government for its ‘crutches’ mentality, then the real characteristic of these people is exposed. In the past, they were ashamed of the NEP. Today, they cry because the government is not putting some money in their pockets.

Shameless.

Of course it can be argued that NEP and budget one-off payments are not the same. But surely to ask something from the government while knowingly is disparaging a policy that had helped the poor in the past is smack of hypocrisy of the highest order. Especially when this budget, with an already limited resources, must prioritise the people who needed a quick relief the most.

Importantly, the budget is not devoid of any relief or assistance towards the middle class. And most definitely, not all middle income earners and professionals are shameless people like the ones mentioned above.

The budget has something for everyone. Directly or indirectly.

For the middle income earners, among the many incentives are:

1) Increase from 12% to 13% of employer’s contribution for employees earning less than Rm5,000 per month

2) New and improved salary scheme for civil servants:

    a) Annual increment of 7% to 13%

    b) Half month bonus this December

    c) 5,000 master’s and 500 PHDs scholarships respectively are provided

3) 100% exemption on housing loan stamp duty

4) Increased on-call allowance for medical officers and specialists

5) RM100 million soft loans with low interest rate for professionals setting up professional firms in smaller cities.

6) Abolition of all school fees.

7) My First Home Scheme price limit to be increased from RM220,000 to Rm400,000.

8 ) RM100 for all school children and RM200 book vouchers for college students.

9) Free immunisation against Human Papilloma Virus for all women.

10) RM2.1 billion micro credit financing under Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia is provided for entrepreneurs, especially women.

11) RM10 million allocation to implement training programmes to help and encourage professional women to return to work.

All the above will directly and indirectly benefit the middle income group in 2012. Please note that the government has been giving a lot of incentives for this income group for many years.

And these incentives are continuing measures till this day. Among others, income tax rate cuts, higher individual tax reliefs, moratorium on PLUS toll rates (no increase for a certain number of years), and subsidies on electricity tariffs. Before 2002, widows who lost their husbands cannot receive any more of her husband’s pension if she remarries. After 2002 budget, she can continue enjoy her late husband’s pension even after she remarried.

Look back on the past budgets and there are hundreds of goodies being given out for middle income group which may have been taken for granted today.

This article is written merely to help us remember that there are other needy people out there than to think about our own pockets. At least, we are in the middle income group. It is really but a small twist of fate that we didn’t end up jobless, homeless or destitute.

Speaking of homeless, it is good to hear that the government is setting up “Anjung Singgah” for those who are seeking help. Last year, I was involved in feeding the homeless in Kuala Lumpur streets organised by Reach Out and it was truly a humbling experience. Therefore, I think Anjung Singgah is a terrific initiative by the government.

Further reading : Middle income group included

15 thoughts on “Budget 2012 – Embracing the middle class

  1. Hi Jebat,
    ya..Its seems like so many incentives given for the middle income, let’s see if there is any for me (middle income group and “swasta group”)!!
    For the middle income earners, among the many incentives are:
    1) Increase from 12% to 13% of employer’s contribution for employees earning less than Rm5,000 per month – my salary is extra few ringgit more than 5K, so not applicable to me tho..
    deduction EPF 11%
    Socso – about Rm15
    Tax – around 280 p/mth
    How much you bring back home cash…..???
    ————————————————–
    Bill to pay:
    House rent – 800 / Car – 700 (proudly announced Malaysian CAR)
    Food prices keep increasing?
    Children – transportations
    Children – other expenses – pocket money (just check how much is a canteen food?) RM10 per day for 2. English class tuition- why we need that? If your kids English BAD, she or he can’t get the job after graduate? Why? Again need to ask government or PM?? Parking everywhere needs to pay? Electricity at 200 a month (house NO AIRCOND)how much saving me and my hubby can make??
    2) New and improved salary scheme for civil servants: this is all for CIVIL SerVant, I am the “swasta” which always been neglected..again not applicable to me , just pay my TAX on time !!!
    a) Annual increment of 7% to 13%
    b) Half month bonus this December
    c) 5,000 master’s and 500 PHDs scholarships respectively are provided
    3) 100% exemption on housing loan stamp duty – not even have 1 house yet!, why? the salary just enough to pay bill, food, children tuisyen fees, parking, LRT ticket, house rental and CAR installment, not even have 5k saving!!!
    4) Increased on-call allowance for medical officers and specialists ( not me tooo…)
    5) RM100 million soft loans with low interest rate for professionals setting up professional firms in smaller cities. ( not professional’s either…)
    6) Abolition of all school fees. ( good, however the impact is too little… less than 100 p/year)
    7) My First Home Scheme price limit to be increased from RM220,000 to Rm400,000. –
    1. If I managed to get loan approved, with my salary how much you think i can afford to pay for my monthly housing with interest rate more than 4%. Do you think I still can purchase or even dream to buy the house at that amount??

    8 ) RM100 for all school children and RM200 book vouchers for college students.
    Good – but impact still too small.. but the RM100 is this applicable for student with parents income more than 5K or maybe not related to me also???
    9) Free immunisation against Human Papilloma Virus for all women.
    Great too….this will not change my household income
    10) RM2.1 billion micro credit financing under Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia is provided for entrepreneurs, especially women.
    Great…but uncertain!!! We are not the business women either!!!
    11) RM10 million allocation to implement training programmes to help and encourage professional women to return to work. Not me toooo…
    So what left for me the middle income group and “swasta employee”, ???
    Pay , pay, pay and continue pay my TAX and LIFE expenses.

    Like

      • lol … nice one … tau complain complain .. it does look like the reason used is similar like some ppl in USA complaining … ‘why we need to pay for others healthcare?’ … ‘why we need to help the poor ppl’ … bla bla bla …

        pls look into bigger picture why we need to help the low income .. dont think too much about ourself once in a while …

        Like

    • Good God what’s wrong with you women? Full of bashing all the way from a very narrow view i.e. me, me and me!

      Look, you should view it with open heart and mind, think about the concept of nationhood. It is fair if you want to voice out your hardships, so to say, provided you also take into account the whole subject in entirety. What is small for you, for instance, free education for all in public schools, means the world to other rakyat.

      I personally disagree with the blanket approach of giving free education for all. It should be targeted. Why? Not because I’m rich, but simply because not everybody deserve it.

      You have the right to argue about the budget… but you can at least knock some sense in it. Lets first get the concept right – compare apple to apple and not apple to orange. Get it?

      I don’t wish to elaborate further on your long winding whines, but let me just talk about this…where you said;

      “2) New and improved salary scheme for civil servants: this is all for CIVIL SerVant, I am the “swasta” which always been neglected..again not applicable to me , just pay my TAX on time !!!”

      Aiyaaaa….. Since when your salary who’s from the private sector, being paid from the government’s coffer la amoi??? Of course when it comes to pay raise by the government, it is for the civil servants ma…..

      Actually, it will also benefit the private employees like you and me. Why? Simply because, with the annual wage increment to up to 13% per annum enjoy by ‘orang gomen’, sooner or later the private industry will also follow suit ma…. if not the workforce will focus more on joining the public sector rather than ‘swasta’ like us ma…. With steady annual increment, plus, JOB SECURITY (which is something that is very hard to get among the ‘swasta’ people – retrenchment, contractual basis, performance based bla bla bla…), prolonged retirement age (aiya 60-year-old Ah So still can work ma..), perks (though may not be as lucrative as the ‘swasta’ – but easier to apply for bank loans ma…), these are among the factors that going to make the civil service more attractive.

      This in return, will give a more competitive working environment in term of enjoyment among the working class, just like you and me ma…..haiyaaa….

      And also amoi, just because you pay tax doesn’t give you the right not to be intelligent in hentam-ing the gomen ma…. Any country also imposed taxes to their citizen ma….

      So sorry if I offend you….but like I said, be fair and be true sikit la amoi.

      Like

  2. Anita forget about what you should received, instead look forward to give more to the country. When we formed a government, we should always ask as how best the government serve its rakyat, not particularly in the monetary sense but rather more on the self actualisation because one day, when you shut your eyes down permanetly, when Allah aw inevitable calling falls upon you, the only things that you should count are have i give more alm to humankind, have I brought up noble heir to my name and have I conveyed my wisdom of knowledge to benefit people around me? Would it not scare you to know that you left the world empty handed?

    Like

  3. great one!, at least I know someone is listening to me…and i am speechless with all the comments…wow!!, and I just wondering is this blog meant for BN voters? Guys no heart feeling…

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    • Anita,
      Don’t you know that all the (mostly lower and middle class ) govt servants were underpaid for years. They nursed the sick, they educate your children, they keep laws and orders, they defend the country, they keep the country clean and healthy and they service the people. Therefore, then, they deserve the remuneration. Alhamdullilah, our PM has indeed appreciate these people for their contribution to the society….AMIN.

      Like

    • Anita

      should we are feel sorry for you ?
      many of us make less than you make.
      manage it
      it does not take a lot of wisdom to manage
      stop complaining is a start

      your hubby is house husband ?

      Like

  4. Hello all….

    Come on guys… you are acting like bullies towards poor Anita. Please have more empathy and be more sympathetic. Or give her ideas on how best to optimize her income, etc. Clearly, she has been feeling down even before Budget 2012. So many of us are depressed about something…
    BTW, why do some of you need to ask a woman about her husband? What if ‘Anita’ is a ‘he’? Will your comments be different? Would you ask him about his wife’s contribution? What if the woman is divorced, with mouths to feed, an ex who has remarried & sends only a few hundred bucks to his former ‘family’ (as most ex-husbands do) and parents to care for?
    What about those with small businesses to keep and LHDN hounding their backs for a portion of their expected profits? Granted, the government can not help everyone, but do be wary of the government’s methods of getting income to speed up the development projects and deliver allocations to all states.
    -Have a great day!-

    Like

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