Tuesday, October 19, 2010

- Reactions to Budget 2011

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 16, 2010): The Independent MPs Consensus yesterday welcomed the government's consideration towards the youths in this year's budget.

In a press statement, the consensus, made up of all the independent MPs, said budget announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak yesterday included many benefits for the rakyat at large.

Among the benefits are:
> For first time house buyers, the government will provide a guarantee of 10% down payment for houses below RM220,000 through Cagamas Sdn Bhd, allowing them to take a 100% housing loan.

> Youths will also benefit from the formation of Talent Corp, 1Malaysia Training Programme and The Academic Medical Centre.

> The consensus also welcomes the exemption of import duty and sales tax on broadband equipments and mobile phones until 2012, to increase broadband penetration.

The RM119 million allocation for Multimedia Development Corridor programmes to create an innovative digital economy is also lauded. The consensus hopes that the funds will be used wisely, supported by homegrown knowledge workers who are also local graduates.

Other positive elements include RM5 billion for development in Sabah and Sarawak and the freeze on toll hikes for PLUS expressways for the next five years. It is hoped that this move will also be extended to other expressway concessionaires.

However, the consensus urged the government to take necessary actions on the following matters:
>> Allocations to upgrade rural schools in terms of human capital development to support the ETP was not clarified extensively

>> There is no justification on the proposed building of a 100-storey skyscraper. The Klang Valley area currently have a surplus of office space and the problem is expected to continue, resulting in a property bubble bust by mid-2011.

>> The government or EPF should provide justification on why public funds are being used to develop land belonging to the Malaysian Rubber Board in Sungai Buloh, through RM10 billion investments by EPF in the next 15 years.

>> The EPF plans to increase its foreign investments from 7% to 20% and the consensus views it as a risk that involves public funds to develop foreign economies, when focus should be placed on the local economy.

On 'private-public partnership' projects, it said the government should take heed from its past mistakes when dealing with major transportation infrastructure projects such as the LRT, monorail and ERL which has not helped to reduce congestion in Kuala Lumpur, when giving out project approvals.

The consensus also calls for all major projects such as the MRT to be awarded through an open tender system, to companies that focused on the interests and safety of the people.

>> Kelly International praises initiatives in 2011 Budget
Efforts in the 2011 Budget to further fund the development of human capital have been praised by workforce solutions company Kelly Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

In a press release issued yesterday, Kelly Services (Malaysia) MD Melissa Norman said that Kelly Malaysia was "encouraged" by the government's plans; the Economic Transformation Plan, the Talent Corporation and National Talent Blueprint initiatives "to create a dynamic Malaysian workforce".

"Along with theoretical knowledge, today's working world requires its workforce to embrace practical skills and soft skills for it as well. We believe that the Malaysian workforce, locally and overseas possesses such skills," said Norman.

The statement added that Kelly Malaysia "hopes for greater collaboration and share of voice" with the government.

"More such creative and innovative venues for addressing and managing the country's most vital asset, its people, are needed," she said.

>> Not enough for green technology
WHILE the extensions of the tax exemption application periods will encourage companies to use renewable energy sources, Ensearch honourable secretary general Geetha P.Kumaran had higher expectations of the Budget 2011, which was tabled on Oct 15.

Ensearch is an environmental resource management NGO, which promotes better resource management in companies and organisations.

"We had hoped that the budget would be the impetus for growth in green technology, through financial incentives of corporate tax reductions for companies who have significantly reduced their water and energy usage," she said. "Every industry needs financial incentive for growth and green technology is no different."

What the Budget needed to address was the management of natural resources in addition to encouraging renewable energy, she added. It also needed to find ways to reduce all forms of wastage, said Geetha. - theSun