PM – Reveal budget 2013 secret

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All eyes are now on Friday, and the unveiling of Budget 2013 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. After the success of Budget 2012, there are high expectations of a landmark budget again this year.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, has already indicated that Budget 2013 will be people-friendly.

With the economy growing strongly, the Government is also expected to focus on increasing productivity and innovation to continue Malaysia’s strong position in the global market.

The solid 5.4 per cent annual growth from April to June shows the Malaysian economy has surged ahead, performing even better than most economists had predicted.

Far from declining, as the Opposition may have hoped, the economy is doing even better than last year. It confirms that the Prime Minister is successfully leading the economy at a time of increasingly global uncertainty.

The budgets tabled by Najib have all contributed to taking Malaysia closer towards realising Vision 2020, while at the same time ensuring that the benefits could reach all sections of the population.

In his 2012 budget, he had announced cash handouts and other benefits for ordinary Malaysians, while also shoring up the country’s finances and reining in the budget deficit at a time of global economic uncertainty.

In preparing the budget every year, the Government consults stakeholders – from the private sector, industry, NGOs and the public – to ensure that the budget takes their views into account.

This year too, the Government had invited the people’s thoughts on what they would like to see in Budget 2013 by contributing ideas and sharing their suggestions and views online – yet another indication that all opinions are welcome in deciding the future course of the nation.

The Government is expected to provide more affordable homes priced under RM300,000 in the Budget, as it considers affordable housing a priority.

In 2011, Najib had announced the ‘My First Home Scheme’ announced as a way to help young people earning less than RM3,000 a month afford a home of their own. The scheme allows them to obtain 100 per cent financing without being required to pay a 10 per cent down payment, and is expected to see further support in this Budget.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said last week that the Government will survey available federal and state lands across the country that could be used for building new middle-income housing.

There are indications that the Government could also announce a second round of cash handouts in Budget 2013, as the middle-income group and the poor have asked for aid, such as the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia and the one-off allowance for students, to be continued.

With the growing economy and the country’s strong fiscal strength, the Government supports measures to spread the benefits to all sections of the population.

At the same time, the Government is well-placed to achieve the deficit target of 3 per cent by 2015.

Najib has ensured that Malaysia’s debt limit would not exceed 55 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as part of his prudent management strategy in managing the nation’s finances.

The 2013 budget will therefore be a continuation of the Prime Minister’s reform agenda, balancing the need for growth with fiscal consolidation, while ensuring that all sections of the population benefit from the country’s economic growth.

Sadly for Pakatan Rakyat, voters are likely to prefer an experienced hand at the helm. With Najib successfully leading the economy during this time of global uncertainty, the 2013 Budget is likely to further consolidate his stature among voters. – The Choice