BUDGET These are the immediate reactions to Budget 2013 from key stakeholders in the country.

Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia president S M Thanneermalai

While I welcome the reduction in income tax by one percent for those having an income of RM50,000 and below, I feel more could have been done by the government for those who are earning more than RM8,000 or more.

Such incentives should also be introduced for this group as well as they are contributing much to the economy.

budget belanjawan negara income taxThe budget is centred to facilitate certain groups of people, but not much for the taxpayers, with the exception of those mentioned.
More could have been given as these are the working groups who are contributing a lot to the economy through the income tax that they pay.

There are two million income tax payers at present, Ideally, the maximum income tax of 26 percent should be reduced to 25 per cent, as imposed on the corporate sector. The budget also addressed first time house buyers, which is also good.

I also welcome the increasing of the maximum tax relief for the National Education Savings Scheme from RM3,000 to RM6,000 as people should be encouraged to save for the education of their children and not burden the government on this.

Real Estate Developers and Housing Association (Redha) Penang Branch president Jerry Chan

I welcome the incentive for first-time house buyers. It is reflective of what property values are - especially for Klang Valley and Penang.  It's realistic and emphasis on first-time house buyers is the right thing to do.

On the Real Property Gains Tax (RGPT), if you are not a house trader, you won't be affected, but if you need to sell your property, you can always go for your first-time exemption. (It looks like) something is being done to slow down speculation, but this may not necessarily bring prices of houses and properties down. Prices rise not because of speculation alone.

The only way to put it is "it is a populist budget”.  My view on the high level of debts - it is always better to be a lender than a borrower. Debts are never good. The quantum maybe increasing and the percentage may be coming down, because the size of the budget is increasing. But we should always try to be out of debt.

Penang Consumer Protection Association president K Koris Atan

There is a lot to welcome in the budget as it is election time. Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak has looked into the welfare of low-income earners like farmers and hawkers. Insurance for these groups is very much welcomed.

fomca vice president k koris atan 120611 02However, it is sad that there is nothing much for Penangites. The budget allocates about RM500 billion to clean up the Klang River, but there seems to be nothing for Sungai Pinang and the Prai River, which are considered the dirtiest rivers in the country.

There is nothing to address this problem, even though this affects the people. That is very sad. Maybe it is because Penang is ruled by the opposition.

I fully support the 20 percent subsidy cut for sugar. Sugar is a poison and the price should be maintained at market force. There should be no subsidy as no doctor will recommend that you take sugar. In fact, outlets that do not control sugar use should be boycotted.

As for the 1.5 months bonus for civil servants, it should not be done just like that. The salaries of low income earners should be increased. The bonus given out like that for one year is just to make people happy for a short time. This I do not welcome. It seems like a do-or-die budget.

Also, the petrol subsidy should be taken away as most people who drive cars are people who can afford to pay for the petrol they use, or rich people. Subsidies should only apply to those earning RM3,000 a month and less.

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president Mohd Khalid Atan
It's a fair budget that covers all layers of society. It seeks to strengthen domestic economy apart from trying to attract foreign investors and developing human capital. I would say the budget takes care of the rakyat's welfare.

Reduction of income tax and low-cost housing are what we wanted and they were included in the budget. Even though it does not involve much workers directly, but if you look at things like the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) and low-cost housing it covers all a wide group, including the workers.

There are still some issues like minimum wage and retirement age that are in the process of implementation but stakeholders must be consulted on them so you can't include them in the budget. The most important thing is as long as these issues are addressed.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) president N Marimuthu

The allocation to make goods prices in Sabah and Sarawak uniform with peninsula is a long overdue move. We welcome it.

On sugar, the subsidy cut is okay, so long as other basic necessities like petrol and rice are not touched. Even though the subsidy is slashed by 20 percent, it is actually going to many other things like BR1M, even the youths are getting RM250.

We had also demanded the increase of allocation in the agriculture sector with a focus on rice and it was increased (in the budget). Thailand, Vietnam and another countries are planning to form a cartel and raise rice prices by 10 percent every year. We are importing about 35 percent of price so there is danger. With this increase, we hope to be self-sufficient.

azlanThat are the positive things. But in the long term, you can't keep giving (goodies). We need to be targeted and only give to the really needy, our economy can't manage like this forever. We will need an exit strategy.

The government should educate the people on how the market and prices work, why the need for Goods and Services Tax (GST) and what subsidy is needed. There should also be an audit of the budget every six months to make sure that the promises are fulfilled.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Yong Poh Ko
The federation welcomes the incentives introduced by the government to encourage the use of green technology by introducing the Green Tech Financing Scheme.

However, the FMM feels the government should also introduce double deduction tax relief incentives on companies engaging in research and development expenditures. This is to boost innovation and research and development (R&D) activities.

fta 310107 yong poh konThis is something which most industries need and to encourage our 2,500 manufacturing members to also get involved in research and development.

We also feel that the one percent income tax reduction should have been made across the board and not only to below RM50,000 group.

There are those middle-income earners who earns more than RM4,000 to RM5,000 a month who are knowledge workers who would not get the benefit, where else they comprise a big group.

The has been an increase in foreign direct investments said to be the biggest last year, and this has helped our members from the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to also gain opportunities in the downstream activities.

Malaysian Animal-assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association president Anthony Thanasayan

Kindergartens for disabled children is good sign the government has realised that the disabled always gain the least. But it is a wrong step, for the disabled don't want to be isolated.

mppj oku disabled person carpark launch 231208 anthony thanasayanThey want to be integrated in normal schools and it is better for the government to ensure the money is spent to make normal schools disable friendly but with special teachers.

On the one percent quota in the People's Housing Scheme (PPR) for disabled people, it should be increased because as people age, they become disabled. Sixteen percent of the people are disabled, though not all are physically disabled.

The main thing is still for houses to be made disabled-friendly, for example with bigger doors and sitting toilets. They should also be able to accommodate animals because the disabled depend on pets for assistance and survival.

As for the RM1.2 billion allocation for the 1Malaysia Welfare programme, KAR1SMA, I have been to their programmes and I see the money going into performances, lavish food and caps. It should reflect clearly where the money is spent, so that it can be channelled into the right things.

The government should provide a monthly allowance of RM500 to the disabled and allow disabled children to receive their parent's pensions, across the board.

We expected so much more because this is the first time the prime minister is also the women, family and community development minister, but the budget has been disappointing.

All Women's Action Society (AWAM) deputy president Ho Yock Lin

I fully support the capacity-building and health programmes in the budget. These are commendable. But my concern is still that the government needs to provide sufficient childcare support.

NONEIf people are not working from home and they have children, especially single mothers, this is a basic thing needed before they can step out of the home to work.

The government should provide childcare services for women in the public sector, or some kind of allowance for those in the private sector. A change in mindset, that only the woman is expected to care for the family, is also needed.

For the RM1,000 grant for women to set up businesses online, it is just a small part. The focus should be on how to upgrade the skills of women in ICT, so that they can really do their business.

On health, the mammogram for women is a good thing, but the government should be more discrete in spending the money so that only people who really need it can get it.