Posted by ErnieJean on September 2, 2008
So, the nation’s Budget 2009 has been announced. We were then bombarded with pictures of the PM beaming his trademark “Cheshire Cat” grin while holding up a briefcase, purportedly known as the “Goodie-Bag” the very next day on all mainstream media, which also took the opportunity to quote the ordinary folks on the street who, apparently, were all singing praises about the sweetness of a “Caring Budget”. And as expected, all the leaders from the ruling coalition went on and on about how it’s a people’s budget and all that crap. Things should certainly be looking bright and sunny for the coming year then, shouldn’t it?
Then, perhaps, something must be really wrong with me because I’m certainly not opening that bottle of champagne in jubilation. This Budget does absolutely nothing for me, a mother of a middle-income family. Ziltch! But then again, I didn’t bank in much hope for this Budget 2009 anyway, so I suppose, the less the expectation, the better.
Say what the PM want, about this not being a “Bodek” Budget but Budget 2009 is definitely about seeking popularity and favour. It is so obvious that the current govnment is looking to appease the displeasures of their East Malaysian partners and their one-and-only-group of confirmed supporters, i.e. the civil service. The confirmed 1-month bonus, easier housing loan terms, increased pension, airfares back to East Malaysia, etc……it’s not about begrudging them this show of generosity, but rather the focus of the goodies on this sector when everyone else is feeling the pinch.
And how about the astounding amount allocated for the Operational Expenditure, (to be precise RM154.2 Billion)? It really begs the question, what in the world is Badawi’s government doing with such astronomical allocation!!! It’s basically covering expenses such as rental, maintenance, stationery supplies, civil service wages, etc, and if 5 years ago, when Badawi just took over the reign, operation expenses were just about RM80 Billion, does this prove that the government under Badawi no longer practises prudency in their usage of tax-payer’s money? And in contrast, the allocation for Development Expenditure is RM53.73 Billion!! The additional revenue we’re supposed to be getting from the reduced “fuel subsidy” is therefore not finding their way to development, but to maintenance expenditure!!??
Yes, the government did seem to be attempting to address the impact of inflation on the people, but the measures taken seem lukewarm and to be favouring the very poor only. Somehow, they seem to assume that the middle income folks, who are also wage earners, have no problems dealing with inflation. That measly 1% cut in the personal income taxe rate or additional RM50 in the tax rebate is a real joke, if you ask me. First of all, most of us are employees, hence paying taxes automatically every month. What sort of extra money can one expect out of that 1% !!?? Enough to pay for one day’s worth of meal?
What other “goodies” can I expect btw?
– Cheaper imported biscuits and canned sweet corn? Who eats that regularly enough to see actual savings!!??
– Cheaper imported electronic goods such as rice cookers, blenders and kettles? Same as the above, who buys that many to see actual savings!!??
– Tax exemptions of staff benefits? Sorry, but most Malaysian companies (especially the Sdn. Bhd. ones) are not familiar with and certainly not in favour of the term “Employee Friendly”.
Last but not least, the promise for the much awaited improvement of our public transportation……*drumroll*…….an impressive RM35 Billion!!!! But wait!! To be spread out over the next 6 years, which means RM5.8 Billion a year….which may seem like a lot, after all, we’re talking about billions, but based on last year’s allocation of RM12 Billion, to be spread over 4 years, have we seen anything positive happening to the public transportation to date? And do they seriously expect the rakyat to be suffering in silence for the next 6 years with bad transportation!? Why no immediate solution to our woes!? Additional carriages for the trains? Didn’t they promise that since last year?
Now you know why my cynicism? They announce all the fancy grand allocated amounts (as if the main purpose was to impress but workability remains a quesion mark), but will these allocations actually and eventually find their way to benefit the people? So, while the rest of us mere mortals are tightening our belts into the year 2009, you can bet, with the increased allocation for government expenditure, those scumbags in the cabinet will still be travelling, eating and sleeping in style.
Darn it, now it looks like I’m not in the mood to celebrate New Year’s Eve too……so, it looks like that bottle of champagne’s gonna have to wait it out until something really worth celebrating comes up, through some much needed “miracle”, if you know what I mean.