Budget 2009 – A Layman’s View


We are in tough times but does the 2009 Budget recently announced by Pak Lah last Friday attempt to help the economy and the people weather it?  There have been numerous analysis posted all over the Internet as well as in the Main Stream Media (MSM).  If you want to find a few good analysis worthy of your time, check out Tony Pua’s contribution here and another one here.

Now, if you were looking for something readable with the complexities made easy for dummies like me, consider the following points.  Additional easy reading material from public opinion also found here in MalaysiaKini and here by Reuters.

Rojak

This budget appears to be a rojak of little bits and pieces for various segments of the economy, none good enough to address key indicators that can mitigate a fast weakening economy.  These tax relief for consumer electrical items as well as fruit juice to name a few does not help Malaysians to weather the serious inflation impact caused by fuel price increases in June this year.

Personal Little Value

The BN Government allowed for a 1% decrease in tax for the high bracket makes little impact to alleviate inflationary impact.  Tax breaks for transport allowance gives the impact to a small group of fortunate employees.  Certainly, civil servants find another break but poor pensioners will hardly get a twitch of eyelid from the Budget.

Missed the Key Economic Challenges

Hugh spending on proposed transportation as well as road infrastructure does not address any economy and inflationary challenges.  Fundamental energizing projects to spur the economy should be broadbase infrastructure which can cause a massive trickle down effect.  Serious increase in Government’s own expenses will worsen the deficit and appears senseless, especially when the BN Government had hardly grew large internal systems that require maintenance of that magnitude.  Maybe there were serious plans to set aside billions of Ringgit for future yet to be dreamed of projects next year.  Instead of improving the standing of the country, Standard&Poor have found it needful to lower our standing because of the additional deficit proposed.

Paying for East Malaysian Loyalty?

Interestingly, a large part of the budget allocation was for East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.  Much more so for Sarawak and both goes into the billions of Ringgit.  Is it part of a sudden awareness that Sabah and Sarawak have long been forgotten and now is time to appeal to them?  Is it part of a bargain to be struck with East Malaysian states in return for their undying support to the present BN Government?  This allocation is definitely unusual as it has not been done in this magnitude before in any budgets.  East Malaysia should not be forgotten and neither should the budget be lopsided until this glaring point.

Not Helping the Hardcore Poor

It is very sad that the rhetorics of eradicating the hardcore poor has yet to be translated into something substantial in the Budget.  It is every Malaysian’s responsibility to ensure that fellow Malaysians must have at least a meal a day as well as roof over their heads.  After 51 years of Merdeka, we still have substantial hard core poor especially in Sabah and Sarawak and this Budget has still nothing much for giving them hope.  Higher prices of food have driven them to a far worse position and the Budget is not going to do anything to help improve their position.  More roads is good for East Malaysia but not at the expense of the hard core poor.

Poor Assumptions

In a nutshell, there is no specific actions within the Budget to address key economic challenges and inflationary pressures.  It assumes that a recovery in global economy will help propel Malaysia back into a good shape.  Large scale projects remain a worry not in the projects themselves but in the abuse in awarding as well as potential leakages to the system.  The serious billions of Ringgits in various large allocations for infrastructure and transportation may be wasted if the award of tenders remain questionable.

Will the global oil price keep dropping?  Will the global economy recover?  Don’t hold your breath, not so soon.  We need serious key budget actions to prop up the economy and help all Malaysians fight inflation before it eats us dry.  Giving breaks where it sounds preposterous like anyone with RM20 power bills can skip paying them.  All the breaks are for very small target groups.  Lots of words, no action.  Another NATO budget?

For an alternative Budget presented by Anwar that makes a lot more sense, read here.  For an Associated Press review of that alternative, read here.

But be prepared for some serious propositions in the alternative Budget that makes the recently announced Budget by Pak Lah sound like a novice budget.  For now, the tax experts have little faith and hope in the Budget 2009 helping the SME or any corporate.  So, who gets the money anyway?

I seriously wonder!

It is no wonder nobody is interested to read the Budget anymore.  It’s NO BIG DEAL to the people.


Free Hit Counter

Advertisements

One Comment to “Budget 2009 – A Layman’s View”

  1. My layman’s view of the budget is that this is a budget full of hot air. It carrys no weight in spurring the Malaysian economy.
    Its all CRAP of an excuse to spend more of our hard earned money.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: