Budget 2013 – Earning below RM3,000 are set for another windfall

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KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian families earning below RM3,000 are set for another windfall, with the return of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) cash hand outs.

Dubbed ‘BR1M 2.0’ by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, amidst laughter in the Dewan Rakyat today, the RM500 one-off payment will be made available to those qualify next year.

This time however, the government has expanded the BR1M scheme to include unmarried Malaysians.

Najib said single Malaysians aged 21 and above can now qualify for a one-off RM250 cash payment, provided they earn under RM2,000 a month.

In another surprise move, Najib also announced a ‘smart phone rebate’ scheme for Malaysian youths. Under the scheme, which is a collaborative effort between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and telecommunication companies, those aged between 21 to 30 can purchase smart phones at a RM200 rebate from selected dealers.

These were just a few among a slew of goodies Najib announced in the unveiling of the 2013 Budget.

Approximately RM1.2 billion has also been set aside under the 1Malaysia Welfare Programme for senior citizens, the disabled and those with chronic illnesses.

Cupecas’ demand for a bonus for government servants has been met with a 1.5-month bonus for around 1.4 million civil servants.

The country’s 1.2 million income tax payers will also get a break in the form of a one percentage point cut for the first RM50,000 of chargeable income.

The minimum pension for retirees who have served at least 25 years in government have been raised from RM720 to RM820. This will benefit 50,371 retirees nationwide.

The government will also slash passport-processing fees by 50 per cent for senior citizens and children under 12.

The housing woes of middle-income earners have also been given attention, with the government set to spend RM1.9 billion to construct 123,000 housing units for those earning between RM3,000 and RM5,000 monthly.

Two housing schemes will be introduced under Syarikat Perumahan Negara berhad (SPNB), which are the ‘Rumah Mesra Rakyat’ as well as low and medium-cost apartments.

Approximately 21,000 Rumah Mesra Rakyat units will be built with a 20,000 units subsidy and two per cent interest subsidy.

Also, 22,855 low and medium-cost apartments, priced at RM120,000 to Rm220,000 will be made available.

Employers who provide allowances and subsidies to employees who provide day care facilities will be entitled to twice-monthly tax breaks. Parent with disabled children from low-income families are also set to benefit with the setting up of a pilot project called TASKA OKU, which will provide the kids with early education.