Wednesday, September 06, 2006

in malaysiakini

Emailed this to malaysiakini alst night, and wallah, its in the front page today!

What I like, and don’t like, about the Budget
Noor Yahaya Hamzah
Sep 5, 06 4:00pm

When I read the commentaries in major newspapers about the 2007 Budget, I thought, "Wow, what a fiscally imprudent expansionary budget!"

Billions of ringgit on development, tax cut for corporate citizens and surely the good times are coming back for contractors. Do we really have that much money under the pillow to spend? Maybe we really have.

Let’s talk the plus side first.

I like the abolition of examination fees. Fees for government services is a form of user pay tax. Taxing students who cannot exercise their voice by voting is like taking sweets off babies, they can’t complain. By all means, charge fees to users of government services to people who earns money and derived benefits from these services.

I like seeing more money allocated to healthcare. That is a good investment, after all it’s government duty is to provide this service to its citizens.

I like that money is being allocated for better public transport. If the country is to be competitive and efficient, public transport has to be good and efficient as well. It may not make profit, but it saves on resources and wastage of man hours for people who are stuck in traffic congestion.

I like the notion that money is being allocated for agribusiness, as this will benefit the nation soon in the form of more abundant food and agriproducts and cheaper food. Perhaps reducing our food import bills and lower food inflation.

Bonus for civil servants? I don’t have any problem with that, but why don’t we just increase their pay, especially the lower level. The practice of giving bonus in Asian countries could amplify the boom and bust scenario in the economy. no doubt it is inflationary during good times especially at the end of the year when bonus is given. People also wait until end for year before tendering their resignation, just so that they can get their bonus.

Reduction of corporate tax would encourage more investments and reduce tax evasion. That’s is good for competitiveness sake. If it’s affordable, I would suggest corporate tax be reduce further to 20% to match Ireland and Hong Kong. When it’s that low, tax evasion in the form of under invoicing would not be worthwhile. Low corporate tax rate encourage sustainable economic growth.

On the negative side, I don’t see any effort to help the low paid workers. MTUC even said some plantation workers get only RM325 a month. It’s time to draft a law that stipulate minimum liveable wage at least RM1,200 a month. It’s the duty of the government to spread the wealth of the country, not just let it concentrate to the rich and powerful.

I don’t see any safety net welfare payment for the poor, old and disabled. This is supposedly an Islamic Hadhari country, where wealth is supposedly abundant. But is the wealth being shared around? Are the poor being taken care of?

It’s pointless having a capital that can be seen from space, a huge international airport and world tallest building if some of the poor in the society is not taken care of and sleep under the bridge.

1 comment:

polikliniksalehudin said...

i more worried about the current trend of taking foreigner as contract worker at our port at port klang,and other factories in shah alam .they were given just rm 450 to work for 12 hours a day.At one company at portklang, even our local boys were given the same perk.their take home pay just not enough and the work just to heavy.How are they going to pay house rent,milk for their babies and instalment for their motorbike or cars.