prepared by Ng Chee Kar
28th of September is the day much anticipated by all Malaysian. Malaysian glued their eyes to the television, clicking the refresh button on twitter and also tune in to the stereo to listen to the latest updates on the Budget 2013 that announced by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Before the budget was announced, there were lots of speculations that what the budget would be like? A survey was done by the New Strait Times to ask the people what they wish the Budget 2013 would be like, and people are asking for five things which is retain BR1M and annual allowance for students, make government buildings and public facilities disabled-friendly, cut taxes on imported cars by half, reduce driving license fees for motorcyclists from RM20 to RM10 and build more houses costing below RM150, 000.
Although the budget wish list was not entirely granted however, the Budget 2013, that announced by the Prime Minister on the 28th of September is deemed as the most generous budget by far with the theme “Prospering The Nation, Enhancing Well-being Of The Rakyat: A Promise Fulfilled”. RM2.6 billion in welfare aid for schoolchildren, and RM500 for households with a combined income of RM3, 000 or less are one of the few highlights that deemed the budget the most generous budget as per se. The budget has five focuses. The first is boosting investment activity followed by strengthening education and training, inculcating innovation, increasing Productivity, fiscal consolidation and enhancing the public service delivery and lastly enhancing the well being of rakyat.
The 2013 Budget will allocate RM251.6 billion for the implementation of development projects, programmes and measures, with focus on the well being of the rakyat and national development. Of this amount, RM201.9 billion is for Operating Expenditure while RM49.7 billion, for Development Expenditure. Development Expenditure, RM30 billion is allocated to the economic sector for infrastructure, industrial, agriculture, agriculture and rural development. Thus, I will be discussing about enhancing agricultural activity, which is in the first focus of the budget, boosting investment activity.
According to the Economic Report 2012/2013 prepared by the Affin Bank, the Malaysian economy is expected to strengthen further and is projected to grow at a faster rate of between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in 2013. With prospects of global growth remaining modest at 3.9 per cent, domestic demand will continue to drive the Malaysian economy, boosted by measures in the 2013 Budget. The GDP forecast of 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent in 2013 will translate into nominal gross national income per capita growth of 6.4 per cent from RM30, 956 to RM32, 947. The agriculture sector is envisaged to turn around with improved output of commodities while the mining sector is expected to expand with higher crude oil output.
Based on the report we can see that the potential of the agriculture sector and how it can contribute to the economic growth of Malaysia. As such the government continues to give priority to the agriculture sector to enhance the national income and ensure food security. Budget 2013 contribute to the development of the agriculture sector by allocating RM3 billion for the implementation of Entry Point Projects, which include RM1.5 billion for agriculture projects, such as oil palm, rubber, high-value herbs and paddy. Furthermore, a total of RM5.8 billion is allocated to the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry. The money allocated will be divide into 6 part, RM30 million for agricultural development programmes, increase of high quality seedlings, establishment of fish markets and improvement of agricultural training institutions, RM75 million to increase the output of food and health products, RM432 million allocated under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) for oil palm replanting programmes, RM127 million for the higher production of derivatives, RM140 million for the four new paddy granaries with acreage of 90, 000 hectares and RM230 million as an incentive for fish landing as well as payment of living allowances for fishermen.
Budget 2013 is the revolution of all budget, as it covers each and every sector in Malaysia, and in lay man term, a little bit of something for everyone. The budget takes the consideration of the welfare of the people and also the country’s economic development into an account. However this over positive budget do receives some negative comments that it is too good to be true, a strategy to appeal votes from voter and some even said that this budget could put the country in a serious debt. Despite all those negative comment, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is very confident that this budget could bring the country to a better future. “The budget will propel the nation towards achieving the national vision of attaining a high-income states by 2020” he said. Budget 2013 is the milestone for Malaysia to realize the Vision 2020.