It’s a suspense-filled day today, as Malaysians prepare themselves to hear what is in store for them in Budget 2017. The real estate sector, in particular, is anticipating measures that will see more affordable homes built nationwide, and increase home ownership among low- and middle-income earners, both of which have been a growing concern among Malaysians.
A recent survey by Malay Mail Online found out what what exactly is it that people want from the 2017 Budget, by asking several groups for their input. These groups include consumer associations, civil servant unions, real estate and housing associations, healthcare groups, youth groups and public transport user associations.
Below are some of the items Malaysians wished for in the new Budget (which will be officially announced this afternoon), divided into 5 main themes:
Buyers want more affordable houses, while developers want the low-cost housing quota to be abolished. The government should have a centralised body to build low- and medium-cost houses. The ban on Developers’ Interest-Bearing Scheme (DIBS) should be continued, and utility companies should stop imposing charges on developers as it only served to bump up property prices.
No more cuts to Health Ministry budget, due to increase in operating expenditure which leads to inceased workload for healthcare personnel. Besides rising medical cost, the government is also urged to regulate the private healthcare sector which is “beyond affordable” in order to ensure accessible healthcare for all.
Besides the LRT extension and multi-billion MRT projects, improved security at public transportation stations should be improved. There are calls to abolish the fare hike on public transport, and introduce a more “transparent” mechanism such as a “tariff review” committee, which will review operators’ KPI (key performance indicators). Incentives for mid-range hybrid cars should be reinstated , instead of giving them to high-cost luxury car models.
Civil servants want a review of their cost of living allowance, and standardisation of the RM300 allowance across the board, as well as annual bonus instead of the “special assistance” RM500 given in Budget 2016.
Students were one of the worst-hit group in the 2016 Budget revision, in which a RM240 million cut removed over 700 overseas students scholarships. The education sector wants the government to stop slashing their budget and increase allocation instead. Universities want upgrades for facilities and improvements to academic and research sectors.