Saturday, September 29, 2012

Najib's 2013 Budget

Every BN budget has been called "people-friendly". Budget 2013 is no different. On paper at least, the RM251.6 billion budget that was unveiled yesterday will cater to almost all segments of Malaysian society.
Let's see what Najib Razak is giving out this time. Families earning up to RM3,000 and singles earning up to RM2,000 will receive more money. Civil servants will get a one-and-a-half month bonus. Government pensionerswill benefit from a higher minimum. More book vouchers for schoolchildren. One percentage point tax cut for those with up to RM50,000 in taxable income. RM200 rebate for smartphones. Relaxed rules to own a first house. A 100-percent tax waiver for 10 years for oil and gas businesses. 
Najib is desperate to win the people's gratitude  so he rewards them with a couple of hundred ringgits in their pockets. He doesn't really care about the future, only the present. Hence, the handouts. Some would call it blatant vote-buying with taxpayers' funds. But Najib doesn't give a damn. Ah Jib Gor's budget is full of "Lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu" deals to enable BN to triumph in GE13. Hopefully, Malaysians will come to realize that these sweeteners are laced with slow poison. If we are not ready to undertake long overdue reforms and manage the deficit, we are mortgaging the future of this country.
A budget should not be about giving away instant goodies. It has to  adopt a long-term approach. We must look at improving the quality of life of Malaysians in a manner that is sustainable and progressive. Najib's budget addresses the first but not the second. Aren't I right to call this a populist budget?

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