Today (Nov 2) marks the first time in Malaysia history that a new government tabled the national budget and hey, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced lots of sweet surprises.
Lim tabled the Supply Bill (Budget) 2019 before Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof. Our fellow Members of Parliament will debate it at the policy level from Nov 12 to 15.
The Finance Minister started the tabling by thanking Malaysians for saving the nation from a kleptocratic government, which was received with derisions by Barisan Nasional MPs, Malaysiakini reported.
The Bagan MP announced that the national debt stood at RM1.065 trillion as of June, it’s RM350 billion higher than what previous administration stated. Pakatan Harapan found out that BN administration previously paid RM7 billion of 1MDB debt as at April 30, 2018. The Star noted Lim saying that the government may need to pay RM43.9 billion debt of 1MDB.
Lim was seated between Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah. He spoke for over 2 hours straight with little to no pauses.
Here are 12 highlights that we know you would love to hear:
1. New “BR1M” payout
For those households that make RM2,000 a month, the government will provide RM1,000 as financial aids under Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), PH government version of BR1M. RM2,001-RM3,000 households will receive RM750, while RM3,001-RM4,000 to receive RM500.
Furthermore, the government will top up RM120 for every child under 18 to struggling family, meaning if a family with four kids makes less than RM2,000, they would receive RM1,480 of BSH in total, Lim pointed out that it’s a higher payout than BR1M.
2. Minimum wage increase
It will be increased to RM1,100 starting January 1, 2019.
3. Sugary drinks to be taxed
The drinks with over 5g per 100ml of sugar will be levied, fruit and vegetable drinks will be taxed once exceeding 12g per 100ml of sugar.
The tax is said to be at 40 sen per litre.
4. Smoke-free nation by 2025
In just less than seven years, the government aims to become a smoke-free nation. Reiterating on the previous announcement, all restaurants and eateries will be gazetted as smoke-free zone starting Jan 1, 2019.
5. Public transport unlimited pass
To encourage citizens to use more public transport, the government will introduce RM100 public transport pass that allows users to take unlimited rides.
It will start on the first day of 2019 and it applies to RapidKL rail and bus services. For those who only take buses, the pass will only cost RM50.
6. Peer-to-peer lending
Now, anyone rich can become a legal “loan shark”. Lim said this scheme is likely to be the first in the world and will be regulated by the Securities Commission (SC).
In short, Lim said it will enable first-time home buyers to adopt the “property crowdfunding” model. For example, a buyer pays RM50,000 for a RM250,000 house will the rest can be financed by investors through the peer-to-peer scheme.