KOTA KINABALU: The 2018 budget should look into reducing the cost of living of Malaysians.
Dr Rafiq Idris Senior Lecturer from Financial Economics Program, of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy of University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) said this can be done through many ways.
He said one of the many possible ways is through a discount card (or identification card) which is easy, cost efficient and very effective to be implemented.
According to him, subsidies and discounts on selected items can lower the cost of living in general.
“The number of low cost housing in Malaysia should be increased. To complement the existing housing programs, I believe more allocations are needed so that more Malaysians can own a house. It should be targeted on the B40 and M40 groups,” he stated.
The allocation for education and health sector to be increased, he said adding that education and health sector are among important sectors in the services sector which contribute to the economy and the wellbeing of Malaysians
” For Sabah, the incentives for down streaming activities in whatever forms should be introduced. This can be a long term factor that can further stimulate the state’s economy in the long run. In addition, specific budget for Kota Kinabalu International Airport expansion is important. The increase of tourists’ inflow would require the expansion of the existing airport.”
According to him, specific allocation for the improvement of water and electricity supply in the state is necessary for the wellbeing of the people and business community. Stable supply of water and electricity are also crucial in attracting foreign direct investment into Sabah.
The 2018 budget is being formulated in an uncertain global environment when the world economy is slowing down and world oil price had a sharp decline in recent years, he said.
“This challenging situation was somewhat a challenging environment for the government, having in mind the goal of becoming a high income and developed nation by 2020.”
The 2018’s budget which will be tabled by YAB Prime Minister, should touch on major areas , he said, such as reduce cost of living, increase the number of low cost housing, increase allocation for health and education, expenditure which will stimulate the GDP growth immediately and specific allocation for Sabah.
“ In satisfying the needs and wants of Malaysians, I believe the government is striving in showing a prudent and discipline financial management and budgeting within its affordability. We hope the budget is one that is a relief for all Malaysians, inclusive, balance and growth stimulating spending.”-pr/BNN