#Reaction: Budget 2018 Reflects Government’s Concern For Rural Community

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BERA, Oct 28 – Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob described as baseless an allegation by the opposition that the 2018 Budget tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday was copied from theirs. 

He said the government had conducted thorough studies, as well as sought the people’s views, before tabling the 2018 Budget, which he described as comprehensive and encompassed all levels of the society, regardless of race, religion and political affiliation.

“Every year we give bonus to civil servants, and also does the Selangor government, but we did not say anything. Whose idea does not matter because what is important is who benefits from the budget, that is the people,” he told reporters after opening a workshop on English Language for students sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) here today.

He said this in response to a statement by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali who claimed that the 2018 Budget tabled by the federal government yesterday mirrored polices implemented by the state government. 

Among them is the Malaysian Children’s Trust Fund 2050 (ADAM50), said to be similar to the ‘Tabung Warisan Anak Selangor’ (TAWAS) established by the Selangor government on Aug 30, 2008.

Ismail Sabri said the opposition also did a lot of ‘U-turns’ ijn the tabkling of the Alternative Budget by Pakatan Harapan, especially on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M).

“Before, they condemned BR1M, but in the Alternative Budget, they said they wanted to maintain BR1M, and then the proposal to abolish GST and reinstate the Sales and Services Tax (SST).

“Currently, 168 countries have implemented GST, (but) they want to revert to the old way, which is more unrealistic,” he said. He expressed appreciation to the prime minister for the huge allocation made for his ministry under the 2018 Budget.

The allocation included RM6.5 billion for provision of basic infrastructure and RM80 million for Rural Economic Financing Scheme (SPED) and a one-off special payment of RM1,500 for village heads and tok batin.

In fact, Mara also got a huge allocation of RM2.5 billion to finance students pursuing not only degree and master’s degree, but also doctorate degree, he said, adding that this would encourage more bumiputera to pursue higher studies. — Bernama

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