KOTA KINABALU: The Pakatan Harapan Government (PH) National Budget did not deliver a new hope to the people especially in Sabah, said State Wanita UMNO Chief, Datuk Hajah Jainab Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Ahmad Ayid.
She said there is nothing new in the 2019 Budget that the people can hope for especially when talking about reducing the cost of living.
Apart from, she said the PH Budget also did not reflect recognition by the Federal Government on Sabah and Sarawak as “equal partners” in Malaysia.
“The allocations provided for Sabah and Sarawak through the 2019 Budget are not enough to develop and increase infrastructure facilities in both states.
“The PH Manifesto promises to reduce the people’s cost of living and that the petrol prices will go down to RM1.50 within 100 days, but which now it is clearly only an empty promise that left unfulfilled.
“But instead, the price of petrol RON95 will be floated based on Automatic Price Mechanism (APM) which will cause the price to go up further and thus will continue to burden the people,” she said when met at a Charity Dinner and Mama Gorgeous 2018 Final held at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu here Saturday.
Jainab said that the 2019 Budget also did not give focus on people in the rural area, especially farmers, breeders, fishermen and the smallholders.
Therefore, she said, the 2019 Budget is not a people-friendly budget because it seems to marginalise the rural folks. Many assistance that were provided by the previous BN Government will not be continued beginning next year.
Jainab, who is also Sepanggar Wanita UMNO Chief, said part of the the PH Budget contents actually had already been implemented by the previous government, so they were like being “copied” or “simply re-branded”.
She said like the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) is a rebranded Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), but the assistance provided under the BSH is far lesser than what had been promised by BN if it is given a chance of another term after the GE14.
“Disappointingly the number of recipients under the BSH are also greatly lesser than those who received BR1M by the previous government,” she said.
She also criticised the 2019 Budget for the Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) requiring borrowers to pay back loan if they have a monthly income of over RM1,000.
“This is also against the promise made in the PH Manifesto during the last election campaign that graduates whose monthly income is RM4,000 and below can get postponement for their PTPTN loan repayment,” she said.
Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, on Friday announced that PTPTN borrowers whose monthly income is over RM1,000 need to pay back their loan through salary deduction of between 2% to 15%.
Jainab said it was also frustrating that the 2019 Budget did not give focus on the effort to empower women, particularly their participation in the workforce and in decision-making process.
“There was no new initiative for the women in the budget this time, and therefore it will not reduce the gender gap,” she said.-By LSK/BNN