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A consumer-friendly budget

AS promised, the government delivered a consumer-friendly budget for 2009 that was themed A Caring Government.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi delivered the proposed Budget 2009 in Parliament on 29 Aug 2008, a day after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as the Permatang Pauh Member of Parliament and made opposition leader.

Among the measures announced in the budget to increase the rakyat’s purchasing power was the removal or reduction of import duty on certain food items.

Import duties on selected electrical items were also reduced, while the sales tax on locally manufactured energy-efficient electrical items was scrapped.

Civil servants will be given one month’s bonus, or a minimum of RM1,000, while retirees with a minimum of 25 years’ service will receive a minimum monthly pension of RM720 effective 1 Jan 2009.

Wage earners who earn less than RM35,000 per annum will also receive a rebate of RM400, or RM50 more compared with previously; while middle-income earners with yearly salaries of between RM35,000 and RM50,000 will receive a 1%-point reduction in their marginal tax rate to 12%. Those in the highest income bracket of RM250,000 per annum will get a similar 1%-point reduction to 27%.

Other goodies include free electricity for those who consume less than RM20 per month in electricity, and more incentives for improvement in public transportation.
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