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Budget 2014: Government to seek ways to ease burden of middle-income group

A seafood stall keeper returns change to a customer at a market in Kuala Lumpur August 27, 2013. — Reuters pic
A seafood stall keeper returns change to a customer at a market in Kuala Lumpur August 27, 2013. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The government will announce measures to ease the burden of the middle-income group in the 2014 Budget.

This in view of the increase in petrol price, which was announced yesterday, said Ministry of Finance Secretary-General Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

“In the government’s plan, when we announce the budget, we are planning to increase 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) payment to the rakyat who are earning less than RM3,000 per month.

“We will also plan something for the middle-income earners as they complain that they are also feeling the pressure in terms of cost of living,” he told reporters after officiating the 1MET Bootcamp here today.

He said the government was still studying the measures to help the middle-income group.

“It (the measures) will be announced in the budget but let Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, come out with those measures.

“We are studying all aspects for the middle-income earners and it can be anything, providing assistance or anything. We are looking already,” he added.

On the 20 sen price increase for RON95 and diesel, Mohd Irwan said every year the government spent RM24.8 billion for petrol subsidy, which is a huge amount that can be used to increase the well-being of the people, infrastructure development and so on.

“Because this subsidy is not only enjoyed by the poor, and most of them who benefit from this subsidy are the rich people as they own many cars, cars with larger cubic centimetres and so on.

“In addition, foreigners are also benefitting from this subsidy, and also smuggling activities.

“Hence, we have to increase the price so that savings from the subsidy can be channelled to the needy, poor and low-income group to improve their standard of living,” he added.

On the 1MET Boot Camp, Mohd Irwan said the prime minister will announce the establishment of the Malaysia Creativity Centre on Oct 11, 2013 in conjunction with the Global Entrepreneur Summit (GES).

“We are still identifying the location and this will be one-stop centre for the entrepreneurs,” he added.

He said for this year the Ministry of Finance will organise a series of 21 boot camps involving 5,000 entrepreneurs nationwide.

Participants in the boot camps will get the chance to meet the prime minister and US President Barack Obama at the GES, which is scheduled to be held on October 11-12 this year. — Bernama

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