KUALA LUMPUR, 29 Aug 2008: The government today tabled Budget 2009 which focuses on measures to maintain the well-being of Malaysians by seeking to strengthen the nation’s economic resilience to mitigate the adverse impact of an increasingly challenging external environment.
“Today, as we face a global environment of higher prices and slower economic growth, I am confident, if we remain united, we shall overcome this challenge as well,” said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when tabling in the Dewan Rakyat next year’s budget carrying the theme of A Caring Government.
The strategies formulated demonstrate that the government was responsive to the concerns of the people and had taken measures to lighten the burden of all Malaysians, particularly the lower income group, he said.
The approach taken was focused towards support and assistance, which not only improved the quality of life but also enabled all Malaysians to enhance their productivity, he added.
The budget was also in line with the medium-term plan as articulated in the National Mission and the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) to further develop the nation towards Vision 2020.
Abdullah, who is also the Finance Minister, proposed for next year’s budget an allocation of RM207.9 billion, of which RM154.2 billion was for operating expenditure and RM53.7 billion for development expenditure.
He said the budget focused on the three specific strategies of ensuring the well-being of Malaysians, developing quality human capital, and strengthening the nation’s resilience.
He said that in ensuring the well-being of the people, the government wanted all Malaysians would continue to benefit from the country’s economic growth.
“The government will implement a broad range of measures to reduce the impact of the higher cost of living, particularly among the lower income group and the vulnerable,” he said, before announcing a whole list of measures including increase in tax rebates, welfare assistance, as well as exempting from tax all interest income for individuals, reducing import duties on various consumer.
Other goodies announced include a one month bonus for civil servants; extension of housing loan tenure for civil servants from 25 to 30 years; a 1% cut in the highest marginal tax rate for individuals, from 28% to 27%; and 1% cut in marginal tax rate for the middle income group, from 13% to 12%. — Bernama