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B40 biggest beneficiaries of Budget 2019

  • The government has introduced several measures to help lessen the financial burden of B40 in Budget 2019. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

Fiance minister Lim Guan Eng tabled the 2019 Budget on Friday, and it is obvious that the government is taking good care of 40% of Malaysian households earning than less RM3,000 a month (B40).

For example, the government introduces RM100 monthly season passes for unlimited bus and train rides, monthly RM40 electricity bill subsidy, monthly RM120 allowances for children below 18 years of age (up to four children in a household), RM8,000 free medical treatment and up to RM700 hospitalization allowances, as well as healthcare scheme for people aged 50 and above.

These measures will help relieve the mounting financial burden of low-income families.

In addition, the government will also provide 30 sen RON95 subsidy for first 100 liters (40 liters for motorcycles), although details of implementation are yet to be decided.

Even when the finance minister was still tabling the Budget at Dewan Rakyat on Friday, there were already heated discussions mainly on the criteria of 1,500cc for the eligibility of petrol subsidy, or whether this will include also luxurious cars with engines smaller than 1,500cc.

Discussions were rife in the cyberspace, and there were people tabulating luxurious cars below 1,500cc, including BMW and Mercedes models. They asked: are these wealthy people also entitled to the RM30 subsidy?

Some are of the opinion that people who are really well off may not care about the RM30 subsidy, even though this has exposed a major flaw in the government's policy, as rich people owning luxurious small-engine cars will also benefit from this policy.

Web users also question the determination of a vehicle's age, and whether older cars will also be entitled to this subsidy. This is to prevent the second or third cars of rich people from benefiting from this policy meant for the poor.

Lim Guan Eng emphasized in a press conference on Saturday that petrol subsidy was only for the low- and medium-income groups, and rich people driving luxurious cars will not enjoy the subsidy. He said the government would ensure that petrol subsidy would not be abused. He also urged the public to give the government more time to come up with a more comprehensive distribution mechanism, and that this policy will only be implemented after next April.

It is commendable that the government is giving the B40 group due consideration in the 2019 Budget. Unfortunately, majority of urban middle-income group (M40) appears to have been overlooked.

The split of tax relief for EPF contribution and life insurance (RM4.000 and RM3,000), departure levy (RM20 for Asean destinations and RM40 for other destinations), sugar tax on beverages and 5% real property gain tax will remarkably impact the urban middle class.

 

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