Among others, the govt has also been urged to find ways to reduce cost of living
By D KANYAKUMARI
Increase in wages for civil servants, affordable housing and incentives to reduce the rising cost of living are among the priorities that Malaysians hope would be addressed by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak at the upcoming Budget 2018.
Among others, the government has also been urged to find ways to reduce the cost of living, while adding more incentives and improving on various facilities including 1Malaysia People’s Store (KR1M) and 1Malaysia Clinics.
“At the current rate in the rise of cost of living, it is not enough, so the government needs to add more (incentives), especially for the Bottom 40 to get the necessary services at a lower rate,” Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
He said the government should have a policy or better allocation for affordable housing in the city, particularly in areas close to public transportation such as mass rapid transit and light rail transit.
“Because at present, affordable homes are in rural areas and many need to fork out more money to just travel to the city for work,” he said.
He added that the government should also work towards improving public transportation in rural areas.
Economist Prof Dr Yeah Kim Leng said besides “bread and butter” issues, the government needs to look at employment rates in Malaysia.
“Recent data shows that employment growth still remains moderate and there are 3.5% of graduates who are unemployed or underemployed annually,” he said.
Yeah added that the government should also look at how better support could be provided to civil servants as the large operating budget of many sectors has led a constraint in raising public sector wages.
In a website set up by the prime minister’s department to get public feedback on the budget, one of the most popular suggestions was to increase the allowance for civil servants.
One Richard Samie suggested for the government to increase wages for civil servants by 4%, in line with the current inflation rate. His suggestion was among the most popular and drew 2,222 likes on the website.
Another popular suggestion was for the government to abolish the renewal of driving licences.
“Make it a one-time payment where people do not need to pay again every few years,” said one Khairi Mamdouh. The suggestion drew 1,280 likes.
For the medical sector, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) calls for the government to allocate more funds for the purchase of medication and medical facilities in government clinics.
MMA president Dr Ravindran Naidu said there is also a need for more facilities to train specialist doctors.
“The government should also look into either building new hospitals or upgrading district hospitals to accommodate and train more medical officers.
“We would also like to request for the pay scale of the Health Ministry staff to be reviewed,” he told TMR.
Petroleum Dealers Association president Datuk Khairul Anwar Abdul Aziz asked for the government to review the petrol margin as it has not been reviewed since 2008.
“The margin has stayed the same but the cost has gone up. The margin for diesel is no longer buyable. Since the free float, the price is only increasing and we are worried about it increasing further.
“We would also like to request for the credit card charges that petroleum dealers absorb to be reduced,” he said.
Budget 2018 is scheduled to be tabled on Oct 27.