LAST_UPDATETue, 15 May 2018 11am

BR1M 2.0, Smart Phone Rebates, Cheaper Homes: Najib Unveils 'People’s Budget'

IN ACTION: Najib tabling the Budget 2013 in Parliament today. Pix: SM AminKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian families earning below RM3,000 are set for another windfall, with the return of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) cash hand outs.


Jokingly dubbed 'BR1M 2.0' by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, amidst laughter in the Dewan Rakyat today, the RM500 one-off payment will be made available to those qualify next year.

This time however, the government has expanded the BR1M scheme to include unmarried Malaysians.

Najib said single Malaysians aged 21 and above can now qualify for a one-off RM250 cash payment, provided they earn under RM2,000 a month.

In another surprise move, Najib also announced a ‘smart phone rebate’ scheme for Malaysian youths. Under the scheme, which is a collaborative effort between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and telecommunication companies, those aged between 21 to 30 can purchase smart phones at a RM200 rebate from selected dealers.

These were just a few among a slew of goodies Najib announced in the unveiling of the 2013 Budget today.

In what is viewed as a ‘people-friendly’ budget which aims to help the lower/ middle class with living expenses, the PM presented a number of popular moves bound to earn the approval of the people just ahead of the upcoming 13th general election.

The budget, described by Najib as a “gesture of appreciation” to the rakyat, placed emphasis on aspects which affect daily life, such as welfare, educational aid and housing for low income families.

Apart from the cash hand outs courtesy of the next round of BR1M, the government has also set aside RM1.2 million under the 1Malaysia Welfare Programme for senior citizens, disabled and those with chronic illnesses.

RM200 million will be allocated by SOCSO to enable its 1.4 million members to undergo free health screening in government hospitals or panel clinics to detect non-communicable diseases.

Parents and single mothers weren’t left out; goodies for them include the improvement of the Single Mothers Skills Incubator Programme (I-KIT) which aims to provide advisory services and training for single mothers in entrepreneurship

Parents with school-going children can also heave a sigh of relief after the government proposed that the existing tax relief on children’s higher education, presently at RM4,000, be increased to RM6,000.

The country’s 1.2 million income tax payers will also get a break in the form of a one percentage point cut for the first RM50,000 of chargeable income.

Also, in an aggressive move to enable Malaysians to buy their first home, the previously-maligned My First Home Scheme, introduced under the previous Budget, will see an improvement with the increase in income limit for individual loans.

Previously capped at RM3,000 a month, now Malaysians earning a maximum of RM5,000 a month, or joint loans of husband and wife up to RM10,000 a month, can be eligible for the scheme.

As for the housing woes of the middle-income earners, the government is set to spend RM1.9 billion to construct 123,000 housing units nationwide.

Two housing schemes will be introduced under Syarikat Perumahan Negara berhad (SPNB), which are the ‘Rumah Mesra Rakyat’ as well as low and medium-cost apartments.

Approximately 21,000 Rumah Mesra Rakyat units will be built with a 20,000 units subsidy and two per cent interest subsidy.

Also, 22,855 low and medium-cost apartments, priced at RM120,000 to Rm220,000 will be made available.

These homes will be made available to Malaysians who earn between RM3,000 to RM5,000 monthly.

Government pensioners who have served at least 25 years will see their minimum pensions increased from RM720 to RM820 a month. This move stands to benefit around 50,000 pensioners nationwide.

Cheers are also expected from current government servants, with the announcement of a 1.5 month bonus which should appease Cuepacs, who have lobbied the government for goodies for civil servants.

Of this, half a month bonus was paid during the recent Hari Raya Aidilfitri, another half month to be given by year-end, and the remaining amount by January next year.

Najib also announced measures which seek to ease the financial burden of East Malaysians, who have traditionally been subject to higher prices of essential goods. This is to be tackled via the opening of 57 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia shops.

A total of RM386 has been allocated for this purpose, as well as to cover the cost of delivering products from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, including the interior.

Meanwhile, the youth were also surprise recipients of this year’s budget, with several notable announcements made in their favour.

Coming in from left field was the government’s RM200 rebate for Malaysians aged between 21 to 30 to purchase smart phones, a move Najib said was to enable them to be connected to the information highway.

Students and former students who opted for National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans are set to benefit from hefty repayment discounts.

The first incentive was a discount of 20 per cent from the total loan to borrowers who settle their loans in one lump sum within one year from Oct 1, 2012 to Sept 30, 2013. Meanwhile, those who repay their loans consistently according to schedule from Oct 1, 2012, would get an annual 10 per cent discount.

Students in institutions of higher learning will also get to enjoy the 1Malaysia book vouchers again, this time raised to RM250 from the initial RM200 value. – mD 

- mD


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Budget 2013 Highlights



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