Malaysia 2009 Budget worth RM207.9 million prepared by the Barisan Nasional has plenty shortcomings. I don't see much benefits for the common rakyat. One of the best response to the 2009 Budget: The poor would need the saved money for food and necessities whilst the rich would not even be affected by any tax cuts as most of them ‘park’ their money overseas anyway, to earn higher interest.

* Sep 04, 2008: Malaysia 2009 Budget Summary - Good and Bad

These are highlights of the 2009 Budget announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and

My commentary are marked "MD:"

* Some 100,000 tax payers to be out of the tax net as rebate for taxable income of RM35,000 and below will be increased to RM400 from RM350
MD: That will be about RM5 million subsided by the government for the mid-income earners.

* Tax exemption for all interest income for individuals
MD: I presumed interest income include interest on capital savings in bank, share interest, dividend interest. If the interest income is exempted for all individuals, it even benefit the riches who before this may not enjoy all the tax exemption on interest income. The poor could only save their small amount of money in the bank so even if their interest income is not tax, it would not increase their total saving much.

* Reduction of import duties for consumer durables (examples: blender, rice cooker, microwave oven and electric kettle) to between 5 percent and 30 percent from 10 percent and 60 percent
MD: PM think that we buy those items everyday and reduce the import duties for it. Purely bunga. Does not benefit the rakyat. And I thought Malaysia have an advance electronic industry and we are still importing those items ?

* Import duty exemption on several food items including vermicelli, biscuits, fruit juices and canned sweet corn.
MD: Cost saving for seasonal food items. No total benefit for the rakyat.

* Road tax for passenger vehicles with diesel engines to be similar with petrol engines effective Sept 1, 2008
MD: Maybe motorbikes should also pay the same rate. Hey, they also occupied the same lane !

* Tax exemption for employees on staff benefits such as subsidized interest on housing, motor vehicles and education loans
MD: Only in Malaysia you have your loan taxed !

* Bills of mobile and fixed line phones as well as internet paid by employers to be tax-exempted
MD: Employers here are the government department. Private companies DOES NOT pay 100% of the telephone bills unless it is for the bosses themselves or the office. Staff can only claims business calls. So again, no benefits to the rakyat or the private employees.

* Government to provide RM3 billion soft loan facility under public transportation to finance acquisition of buses and rail assets to be administered by Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd.
MD: Buses and rail are only suitable for West Malaysia. No loan facility for public transportation in rural Sabah and Sarawak for assets like boats and off-road vehicles.

* 50 percent reduction in toll charges for all buses, except at border entry points, for two years effective Sept 15, 2008
MD: Toll charges should have been reduced long time ago. After all, PLUS have been making yearly profits.

* Efficiency of public transportation to be improved via RM35 billion expenditure from 2009 to 2014
MD: No allocation for transportation in the rural areas.

* Farmers to benefit from proposal to abolish import duty on fertilizers and pesticides
MD: For so many months, the poor farmers suffered because of the skyrocketing cost of fertilizers and pesticides. Those poor farmers suffered while the government hassle on to protect the fertilizers and pesticides suppliers. Read also: High oil prices affect padi planters in remote Sarawak

* Home ownership among civil servants to be boosted by extension of housing loans tenure to 30 years from 25 years
MD: Another 5 years for the home owners to suffer. Paying loans in longer repayment only encourage the rakyat to take it easy on repaying loans. And this bad habits will become a burden in the loan terms. Most people will be repaying loans until they die.

* Government housing loan insurance panel to be expanded to all eligible insurance companies from only five insurance companies now.
MD: See, only now there is a break in the monopoly chain.

* Excise duties on cigarettes up three sen to 18 sen per stick. Duty for 20-stick pack now up 60 sen
MD: Barisan Nasional did not realize that over 90% of smokers in Malaysia are Malays from low income bracket.

* Highest marginal tax rate for individuals to be cut to 27 percent from 28 percent effective year of assessment 2009.
MD: This make the rich, richer. If in the previous years, the rich lives like a king, now they still lives like a king.

* Middle income group to benefit from cut in marginal tax rate to 12 percent from 13 percent.
MD: Only a tiny one percent tax cut for the middle income group. There are millions of them.

* Accelerated capital allowance for purchase of ICT equipment can be claimed over one year instead of two years (86).
MD: Not many will buy ICT equipment like PC or Notebook every year. So, yearly claim on those ICT equipment is just a show.

* Import prohibition on cranes used at ports to be removed. Import duty for the cranes cut to 5 percent from 20 percent (88)
MD: Haiyo, no every year a port procure new cranes. Cut on the import duty for the cranes is just a show.

* New investments by operators of four-star & five-star hotels in Sabah and Sarawak to enjoy pioneer status with 100 percent income tax exemption or investment tax allowance of 100 percent for five years.
MD: Again, it does not benefit the rakyat. The hotel industry in Sabah and Sarawak also slow down due to weaker economy and higher cost of travel (thus lower revenue from tourism turnover). Operators will think many times before investing in new projects in the current economic condition. Another show.

* Venture capital companies to enjoy five-year tax exemption for investing at least 30 percent of their funds in start-up, early stage financing or seed capital.
MD: Good benefit for foreigners.

* Local shipping industry to be promoted via a new RM2 billion fund to finance the purchase of ships and upgrading of shipyards.
MD: Want to boost local shipping industry ? Maybe helping MISC (related to Petronas) or the Navy to buy more ships.

* Plants and machinery acquired by SMEs in the years of assessment 2009 and 2010 to be accorded accelerated capital allowance to be claimed within one year.
MD: okay.

* Removed - import duty and sales tax on solar photovoltaic system equipment.
MD: The problem is the rakyat still depend on TNB. Furthermore, solar equipment in Malaysia is not 100% suitable due to rain and shine weather factor. Solar equipment is definitely useful in the desert, not in the tropic. You don't get a lot of solar power during the monsoon seasons. That's why TNB is still depended on.

* Removed - import duty and sales tax on intermediate goods such as high efficiency motors and insulation materials.
MD: High efficiency motors ? Emm, maybe to support Proton next project on hybrid cars ?

* Removed - sales tax on locally manufactured solar heating system equipment.
MD: Only a handful of local companies manufacture solar heating system equipment.

* Removed - sales tax on locally manufactured energy efficient consumer goods such as refrigerators, air conditioners, lighting, fans and TVs.
MD: Okay.

* Exemption of 100 percent import duty & 50 percent excise duty on new hybrid CBU cars, with engine capacity below two 2,000 cc litre to be given to franchise importers. The exemption is for two years.
MD: Good for NAZA motors.

* One month bonus for civil servants, subject to a minimum of RM1,000. Payment in two installments - September and December 2008
MD: A typical government servant benefits. 11 months working, 13 months pay.

VoxPop: 'Main issues not addressed in Budget'

PM unveils biggest Budget ever

Dr Ravichandran: No doubt it was a people friendly budget. But wasn’t it a little bit too friendly to the Sabahans and Sarawakians? I wonder why? I don’t think it was caring enough, though.

The fundamentals in improving the economy were not equally addressed. This was made worse by the fact that there is going to be an extra RM30 billion in spending. It seems like the nation is going to be burdened by a populist budget. National unity between races and religions was also not addressed. All we can do now is hope for the best.

TTM: The current ruling party has managed our hard earned money for 50 years. Anyone dare to check the transactions in Bank Negara on how they spent it? Is the money being used to help Malaysians or certain individuals?

We need someone to check the accounts.

A Disgrunted Working Class Malaysian: Firstly, kudos to our dear PM for delivering such wonderful ‘gifts’ and ‘donations’ to the poor and super rich Malaysians alike.

Sadly, unless we are in the dark ages of the 12th century, we all know which of these people drive the Malaysian economy.

In my opinion, neither. Want to know why? Because the poor would need the saved money for food and necessities whilst the rich would not even be affected by any tax cuts as most of them ‘park’ their money overseas anyway, to earn higher interest.

So this begs the question: Where are the benefits for the working middle-class? I am ashamed of such a lame, ineffective budget.

Millionth Citizen: A RM207.9 billion budget is mind boggling. Imagine if there was even a one percent of wastage due to whatever reason. A one percent wastage may sound small but imagine how far RM2.07 billion could go in helping alleviate people’s problems.

Therefore, leaving politics aside, what the rakyat want is transparency and accountability because too much has been promised and nothing has actually been done. It is high time you ‘walked the talk’, Mr PM.

Forward As One: Anyone notice that when Pak Lah is desperate, he resorts to Mahathir-type policies? When he became PM in 2003, one of his stated goals was to lower the budget deficit. Last Friday, he turned this on its head and opted to balloon the deficit to 4.8 percent of GDP, a level not seen since Mahathir's pump-priming last years.

But then we've seen Pak Lah do this before. In the early days, he canceled the crooked Causeway and suspended double-tracking. Fast forward to 2007, he reverts to mega-corridors and revival of double-tracking supposedly to jumpstart the economy.

In 2003, he promised less corruption and more enforcement. Today, we see corruption in the government administration being more prevalent than ever.

Remember the ‘Mr Nice Guy’ image and the promise of a kinder, gentler PM? Then see what happened when Anwar emerged as a political foe?

Strangely enough, Mahathir today condemns Pak Lah when he ought to be flattered his successor is employing his tactics. Perhaps that's not unusual - the good doctor doesn't like the medicine he used to mete out when he's on the receiving end.

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