Govt should allocate more for B40 group, says Opposition MP


The government should give more allocation for the bottom 40% (B40) income group without neglecting the 40% middle-income earners (M40) entirely in Budget 2019, said Rembau lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin.

Khairy said he had expected the proposed federal expenditure to emphasise on the poor, fishermen, farmers and students.

“The budget has forgotten all the important segments, it seems like the government wants to privatise everything.

“Instead, what we saw was a budget of the rich and privileged, custom-made for a city life,” he told reporters in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday after debating on Budget 2019.

Labelling Budget 2019 as a “copy paste, rebranding and continuation of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) previous initiatives”, he claimed that the Bantuan Sara Hidup, is similar to the 1Malaysia People’s Aid introduced by former BN government.

“However, it is unfortunate that the amount has been reduced to RM500 to RM1,500, forgetting the plight of the B40 people. It can be concluded that it isn’t a pro-rakyat budget, as emphasis is given on privatisation and developments in urban areas, leaving the rural areas aside,” he added.

Khairy also expressed his dissatisfaction on the government’s move to not allow National Higher Education Fund borrowers to only begin servicing their loans once their salary hits RM4,000 a month.

“Unlike what it was stated in their manifesto, now those with a salary of RM1,000, which is below the national minimum wage, will get their salaries cut,” he said, adding that it is not conducive for people who cannot afford to repay the loans just yet.

He also said the government could retain many programmes for the B40 group, as the amount allocated, inclusive of a RM30 billion special dividend from Petroliam Nasional Bhd, is not much different from last year’s budget by BN.

“Even the debt-servicing payments are almost the same because government debts need not be repaid immediately, those are long-term debts.

“So having almost the same amount of money, Pakatan Harapan could have retained many of the programmes for the B40 group, but they didn’t,” he said.