KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng tables the 2020 Budget today, the second under the Pakatan Harapan government since it came to power in the May 9, 2018 polls.
A total of RM314.5 billion was allocated for the 2019 Budget last year. Here are the salient points of the budget, themed “Driving growth and equitable outcomes towards shared prosperity”.

Putrajaya has allocated a total of RM297 billion for this year’s budget, an increase of RM19.5 billion from last year. Of this, RM241 billion is for operational expenditure and RM56 billion for development.

Civil service

Special payment of RM500 for civil servants Grade 56 and below.
Special payment of RM250 for retirees and non-pensionable veterans.
Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) increased by RM50 per month for support staff, with total allocation of RM350 million annually.
Civil servants with at least 15 years’ service allowed early redemption of Accumulated Leave (Gantian Cuti Rehat) for up to 75 days as replacement pay.
Free personal accident insurance (up to RM100,000 coverage) for two years to new government housing loan borrowers.
RM26 million to give Rela members higher allowance of RM2 per hour.
RM35 million to give 14,000 firemen special allowance of RM200.
RM35 million to give one-off RM500 payments to 70,000 armed forces personnel who hold Pingat Jasa Malaysia.

MACC and police

100 additional personnel for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to go ahead, Malaysian Ombudsman to replace Public Complaints Bureau.
RM50 million to enhance detention procedures and facilities, and installation of 11,500 CCTV units in police detention centres and immigration entry points.
Rationalising government expenditure

Government will centralise and combine the tender and procurement of RM500 million worth of medicines across health ministry, education ministry and defence ministry hospitals to generate savings from bulk purchases.

Government revenue

Government expects to collect RM244.5 billion in revenue in 2020.
Government proposes new band for taxable income in excess of RM2 million to be introduced and taxed at 30%. This is a 2% increase from the existing 28%. This is expected to affect 2,000 of the country’s top earners.
Government repaid GST refunds totalling RM15.9 billion as of end-September.
Government will merge the Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Customs Appeal Tribunal into the Tax Appeal Tribunal to improve efficiency.
Digital Service Tax to come into effect from Jan 1, to include services such as, but not limited to, downloaded software, music, videos and digital advertising.
Starting January 2021, those over 18 and corporate entities will be assigned a tax identification number (TIN).
RM235 million for the purchase of 20 additional cargo scanners to reduce leakage from smuggling and wrongful declaration of cargo.
Disposal of assets expected to generate RM3 billion in 2020.
Proceeds from Bandar Malaysia project to go towards reducing 1MDB debt.

Commitment to fiscal consolidation

In 2020, the government will revise fiscal deficit of 3.2%. This is expected to reduce further on average of 2.8% of GDP over the medium term.

Institutional and financial reforms

Government will spend RM2.7 billion to service 1MDB and SRC International debt interest. Tabung Harapan contributed RM203 million towards this.
In 2019, government paid RM2.4 billion to service these debt interests.
As of July, some RM1.45 billion in funds stolen from 1MDB recovered.
Government debt and liabilities ratio to GDP expected to increase to 77.1% at end-June 2019 from 75.4% in 2018 due to increase in government guarantees for the continuation of MRT, Pan Borneo and government’s RM20 billion bailout of Tabung Haji.
Rationalisation of mega projects saved government RM46 billion.
The government intends to issue samurai bonds early next year, issuance size still undetermined.

Security and defence

Home ministry allocated RM16.9 billion, up from RM15.6 billion in 2019.
Defence ministry allocated RM15.6 billion, up from RM13.9 billion in 2019.

Environment

RM593.9 million to tackle flash floods.
RM100 million to help farmers affected by natural disasters.
RM15 million for NGOs to save endangered species like tigers and orangutan.
RM20 million to hire rangers from among retired soldiers and the Orang Asli.

Sports

RM299 million for the Sports For All programme.
RM179 million for Olympics and SEA Games preparations.
RM45 million for National Football Development Programme, up from RM15 million in 2019.
RM10 million for the development of female athletes.
RM138 million for the development of youth sports.

Housing

Rent-to-own scheme worth RM10 billion to help those who cannot afford the 10% downpayment for purchase of homes worth up to RM500,000.
Under the scheme, applicants enter into a five-year rental agreement with the option to buy after the first year.
To address glut in unsold condominium and apartment units worth some RM8.3 billion in Q2 2019, the threshold will be decreased for foreign buyers from RM1 million to RM600,000 for urban properties.
Youth Housing Scheme by Bank Simpanan Nasional to be extended to end of 2021.
RM100 million for repair and refurbishment of low and medium cost strata housing.

Transport

Government to consider takeover of PLUS Malaysia Bhd which could see a 18% discount on toll rates, saving some RM1.13 billion for users and RM43 billion until the end of concessions in 2038.
Government agrees to take over four Klang Valley tolls: Kesas, LDP, SPRINT and Smart Tunnel. Congestion charges will be introduced and toll rates reduced during off-peak hours.
The takeover of highways will not burden the government as the funding will come from the collection of congestion charges.
Government will standardise toll rates at the first and second Penang bridges, to RM7.
If Sabah and Sarawak state governments wish to participate in targeted fuel subsidies, the federal government will accept their request. As it stands, both states will continue to enjoy ceiling rates of RM2.08 for RON95 and RM2.18 for diesel.
RM450 million for 500 electric buses nationwide.
Government to proceed with Rapid Transit System (RTS) between Johor Bahru and Singapore.

Health

RM30.6 billion for health ministry for 2020, including RM1.6 billion for the construction of new hospitals and upgrading of hospitals in Klang, Kampar, Labuan and Kota Kinabalu.
This also includes RM319 million for the construction and upgrade of health and dental clinics.
MySalam will be expanded to cover 45 critical illnesses from 36 before this, as well as individuals below 65 years old compared to those aged 55 at the moment. This will benefit an estimated 1.5 million more people.
Peka B40 scheme will be expanded to include those aged 40 and above from the current 50 and above.
EPF will introduce a scheme to allow withdrawals for in-vitro fertilisation and income tax deduction of RM6,000 for IVF treatment.
Islamic development

Prime Minister’s Department to get bigger allocation for the development of Islam from RM1.2 billion in 2019 to RM1.3 billion in 2020.
33,200 Kafa religious teachers to get RM100 increment, a total of RM46 million.
One-off payments of RM500 to imams, muezzins and mosque caretakers.
Government’s “Rahmatan Lil-Alamin” initiative to get RM10 million.

Bumiputera agenda

Increase in allocations for Bumiputera economic empowerment, from RM7.6 billion in 2019 to RM8 billion in 2020.
RM6.6 billion for Bumiputera educational institutions such as Mara, UiTM and Yayasan Peneraju.
RM1 billion financing for Bumiputera SMEs.
RM445 million for Bumiputera entrepreneurship under Tekun Nasional, SMECorp, PUNB, PHB and Teraju.
Up to August, Bumiputera companies received new contracts for government projects worth about RM3.6 billion.
For 2020, government to ensure at least 30% of ministerial tenders set aside for Bumiputera contractors.

Subsidies and social aid

RM85 million for development and repair of infrastructure in new villages.
RM100 million for Unit Transformasi India Malaysia.
RM57 million for Orang Asli Development Department for Orang Asli welfare and RM83 million for Orang Asli education, economy and infrastructure development.
Allocations for total subsidies and scoial aid to be increased from RM22.3 billion for 2019 to RM24.2 billion for 2020.
RM5 billion for Cost of Living Aid (BSH) which will be widened to include 1.1 million single individuals aged above 40 who are earning less than RM2,000.
Disabled individuals aged 18 and above who earn less than RM2,000 will also be eligible for BSH.
Individuals aged 40 who are disabled will get RM300 and automatically be included in MySalam scheme.
RM575 million in socioeconomic aid to benefit 137,000 senior citizens who live below the poverty line.

Rural development

For the first time in 50 years, government to increase special allocation for Sabah and Sarawak. The amount is doubled to RM53.4 million for Sabah and RM32 million for Sarawak. This payment will be increased to RM106.8 million for Sabah and RM64 million for Sarawak in the next five years.
Sabah and Sarawak to get the biggest share of developmental expenditure at RM5.2 billion and RM4.4 billion respectively.
RM1 billion for rural roads, including RM326 million for Sabah and RM224 million for Sarawak, to benefit 145,000.
Some 30,000 homes to benefit from RM500 million allocated for rural electricity.
RM587 million for rural water supply, including RM470 million for Sabah dan Sarawak to attain 99% access to clean water supply.
RM10.9 billion, up from RM9.7 billion for 2019.

Education

RM192 million for professional certification programmes under Yayasan Peneraju.
RM1.3 billion for education institutions under Mara and RM2 billion to fund loans for 50,000 students.
Increased allocations for TVET, from RM5.7 billion to RM5.9 billion.
RM783 million to restore dilapidated schools, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
Allocation for maintenance of schools to be increased from RM652 million last year to RM735 million in 2020.

Employment

Socso protection extended to 18 categories of self-employment including fishermen, own businesses and partnerships.
EPF to be extended to contract for service workers and professionals, but on a voluntary basis for a start.
Government proposes that minimum wage be increased to RM1,200 in main cities starting 2020.
Employment Act 1955 review to include increasing maternity leave to 90 days from 2021, increasing overtime qualification for those earning up to RM4,000 a month, improving sexual harassment complaint system and strengthening provisions against discrimination in jobs according to race, religion or gender.
Introduction of [email protected] programme. The programme aims to help four categories of people:
Graduates: Graduates who have been unemployed for more than a year and obtain employment will be given a RM500 incentive on top of their salaries every month for two years. Their employers will be given RM300 every month throughout the same period.
Women: Women aged between 30 and 50 years, who return to the workforce after at least a year, will enjoy a RM500 incentive from the government for two years, and RM300 for employers, as well as income tax exemption until 2023.
Local workers: Malaysians replacing foreigners in low-skill jobs to get RM350 or RM500, depending on their sector, every month for two years. Their employers to get RM250 a month during the same period.
Apprentices: Extra allowance of RM100 for TVET students. Double tax exemption for companies participating in National Dual Training System for two years. Tax exemptions to companies in Internship programme approved by TalentCorp.
Incentives are courtesy of the Employees Provident Fund. The government hopes to create 350,000 jobs for Malaysians in five years, and to stop dependency on 130,000 foreign workers. Total allocation for the [email protected] programme is RM6.5 billion for the next five years.

Tourism

RM100 million for development of new cable car system at Bukit Bendera.
50% excise duty exemption for new locally assembled cars purchased by tour companies.
Income tax exemption for organisers of approved arts and culture activities and international sporting events.
RM1.1 billion for the tourism and culture ministry to meet the goals of Visit Malaysia Year 2020.

Other allocations

RM524 million to boost R&D in the public sector.
RM855 million to boost padi production.
RM30 million to boost padi pulut production in Langkawi
RM150 million to promote integrated farming.
RM152 million for increase in allowance for fishermen, from RM200 to RM250 a month.
Increased allocation for agriculture and agro-based industry from RM500 million to RM4.9 billion.
RM738 million for Risda and Felda to boost revenue generation.
RM810 million for welfare of Felda settlers.
RM200 million in monsoon aid and RM100 million in incentives for rubber production.
RM445 million in grants to support the development of Bumiputera entrepreneurs through access to funding, establishment of business premises and training.
RM200 million for SME Bank for women entrepreneurs and RM300 million for Bumiputera SMEs.
RM10 million for halal industry entrepreneurs.
RM500 million under Skim Jaminan Pinjaman Perniagaan for women entrepreneurs.
RM20 million for Cradle Fund for training and grants, and RM20 million for e-sports.
RM20 million to MDEC to encourage local players to produce digital content.
RM50 million for the development of 5G ecosystems.
RM210 million for digital infrastructure development at industrial parks and high impact areas.
RM250 million to boost internet access in Sabah and Sarawak.
RM1.1 billion for similar corridors in Perlis, Kuantan, Johor, Sarawak and Sabah.
RM50 million to encourage PPP projects in the special economic zone at the Bukit Kayu Hitam border.
RM50 million to improve roads leading to Port Klang

Source : https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/10/11/live-the-2020-budget/

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