MALACCA: Umno Youth is banking on a more sustainable solution in the Budget 2015 to offset rising living costs affecting the youth. Its vice chief, Khairul Azwan Harun was particularly referring to newly employed youths and young married couples who had yet to gain their financial footing in their respective vocations. “Aside from any new initiative to be introduced by the government, the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) for single individuals above age 21, 1Malaysia Book Voucher and Graduate Entrepreneurs Fund should be continued. “I believe the Finance Ministry has the information and latest statistics on youth to frame new initiatives and help the group to counter the high cost of living,” he told Bernama here Thursday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also Finance Minister, is expected to table the Budget 2015 in the Dewan Rakyat Friday. Khairul Azwan hoped the price ceiling for affordable homes would be maintained below RM250,000, at a repayment rate of around RM500 monthly and built as close to the town or city’s periphery as possible. “As Umno Youth had proposed earlier, affordable and ideally located homes will ensure a better quality of life for the community,” he said. Meanwhile, the youth movement’s Consumerism, Environment and Quality of Life Bureau chairman, Mohd Ar Rahman Husin said the youth initiatives to be introduced by the government in Budget 2015 should meet the needs of three categories.

He cited youths who had completed their education, those who had gained employment and those with families. “Introduce more skill enhancement initiatives to provide opportunities for youths to obtain better jobs or positions for higher salary and boost the family income,” he suggested. Mohd Ar Rahman said the government should introduce additional initiatives for the middle income group which mainly comprised youths, such as tax deductions and housing loans. “There needs to be a sturdy mechanism in the Budget 2015 to neutralise the domino impact adversely affecting goods prices as a result of the subsidy reductions,” he added.

Umno Youth Education Bureau chairman, Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen thinks the Budget 2015 initiatives should not be too focused on high income for youths. “High income does not necessarily translate to a better quality of life. For example, a RM1,000 monthly salary was considered ‘well off’, 20 years ago but RM2,000 is scarcely sufficient now for life in the town or city,” he said. He said the government needed to even out the average income received by the youth and their living costs.

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