Bajet 2017 was a very typical pre-election budget, and it was a predictable budget with greasing on all sectors and a complete “give, give, give” tone by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
While the sideshows were presented by Najib with a lineup in the gallery, the drama was provided by the opposition as they walked out en masse before Najib could present the summary.
With a total budget allocation of RM260.8 billion, civil servants got more allocations, taxi drivers got grants, BR1M increased, more assistance during the monsoon season for the rubber tappers, more allocations for small-medium industries and start ups, better connectivity for universities, higher bandwidth at the same prices, more incentives for athletes, more projects of public transport and hospitals and schools.
Clad in shocking pink, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Najib raced down the tracks with his budget speech, with the occasional digs at the opposition.
He even evoked the late spiritual leader of opposition PAS Datuk Seri Dr Haron Diin during the budget speech. After reading Al-Fatihah for the deceased (which was a first in any budget speech, he used Haron Din’s advice to poke fun at the new working relationship between the former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and de facto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
As he advised Malaysians to drop the expensive restaurants and eat nasi kandar at cheaper restaurants as it is tasty also – according to him – Najib also used an example of Nasi Lemak Anak Dara – which was Selangor MB Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s ground strategy – to prove his point that he encourages graduates to find their niche in business.
Najib also brought in sideshows with paralympic athletes, orang asli chiefs, a doctor, young entrepreneurs, two taxi drivers and individuals who have benefited from the government grants to be introduced from the gallery during his budget, while he announced allocations for their groups.
RM214.8 billion was allocated for operating expenditure and RM46 billion for development expenditure. He also announced that as of two days ago, the government has collected RM30 billion.
The budget was more of spreading whatever cheer the government can after living costs have increased due to the plunging of ringgit, GST and other measures by the government itself to prove that the government is a generous one despite hard economic times.
What was missing was spurring of the economy in industries and addressing how the government will wade through loss of revenue and mounting debts.
Source : Zakiah Koya@The Heat Malaysia Online