A very clear message is sent in the Budget 2017, that the government seems to be more interested in shaping a country that is dependent on welfare support rather than addressing glaring issues at hand.
There were no mentions of increasing wages and not only will Malaysians be continuing to suffer from the high cost of living, important sectors such as the education and health ministry also saw drastic cuts.
Says deputy spokesperson, DAP Parliamentary Committee on Women’s Affairs, Steven Sim, one of the sectors that was cut drastically is the budget allocation for Mammogram and HPV vaccination.
Sim, also Bukit Mertajam MP, says that in 2014, it was at RM20 million and was reduced to RM2 million in 2015, to no allocation in 2016. It was however, revived after the Opposition voiced out the importance of the budget allocation.
“This year, it is abolished entirely, which means it is back to no allocation.
“In the past, 260,000 women were screened for breast cancer through this programme and almost 10% were referred for further checkup.
“This makes up to 0.008% of the total budget (RM260 billion). Does this mean the the government can’t even afford to care for these women, and are Malaysian women’s lives not worth 0.008% of the federal budget?
“These are programmes that determine life and death of Malaysian women. The government is so proud that it collected RM30 billion from GST (Goods and Services Tax), the programmes only take up 0.05% of the GST revenue,” he says.
Sim also points out that the government is creating a very worrying trend with the increment of BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia).
“The government is so proud to announce that there will be an increment with BR1M allocation but it doesn’t realise is that it will create culture that is heavily dependent on welfare support and living in debt especially credit card debts.
“The 2017 budget shows no attempt from the government to improve the quality of life and with continuous cuts of areas like health and education, the government is creating a vicious cycle of a nation that is dependent on handouts,” he adds.
Meanwhile, DAP Kluang MP Liew chin Tong says the government is portraying a ‘too optimistic’ budget and avoiding the storm that is coming.
“His (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak) speech was more about programmes that he plans to do and with estimates that are too optimistic.
“The budget that was being presented was on the premise of a healthy and growing economy but no foresight of the disappointments that are to come,” says Liew.
He adds that another big issue is that the government indirectly pointed out that it is not able to provide enough income for the particular tier of the society.
“This shows that the government is not being able to solve the problems for these seven million BRIM recipients.
“And we are entering into some sort of slower period in the economy, therefore it is worrying that these issues are not solved,” says Liew.
Source : Soo Wern Jun@The Heat Malaysia Online