Major News of <New Straits Times> : Housing, health the main issues 2013
More than 1,900 suggestions and wishes have been submitted to him since he invited Malaysians to provide feedback via his blog www.1malaysia.com.my a week ago.
The link, under the topic “Budget 2013: I Want Your Views”, went live on July 16 and will end on Sunday.
“I believe it is important that the rakyat be given an avenue to voice their ideas on how we can best bring this country forward on the world stage, socially and economically,” Najib had posted. “To those of you who are keen to have your say, now is your chance.”
Najib, who is also finance minister, is scheduled to table the 2013 Budget on Sept 28.
A check on the link yesterday showed that the suggestions had poured in from Malaysians from all walks of life.
Among them was Kiah, from Perlis, who suggested that the government raise the tax relief for children. “RM1,000 per year for one child is no longer relevant to the cost of living now.”
She also proposed that tax relief be extended to the dependent’s family members who suffered from chronic diseases and needed intensive treatment.
While on the subject of chronic diseases, Ahmad Hanis from Kedah suggested that a special fund be set up to help the patients. “Often we see people begging for aid in newspapers and on social networking sites. This should not be the case.”
Muhammad Faisal, of Cyberjaya, wanted a specific mechanism be devised to regulate prices of properties. He said landed houses were not sold at affordable prices any more for those in the middle-income groups.
Ana, from Selangor, concurred, saying while the government provided the Skim Rumah Pertamaku (My First Home Scheme), the conditions were quite strict.
Freeman suggested that the government invest in better health and sports education for students. “We are raising lazy children who no longer know how to play outdoor games, especially in urban areas.”
Amirul, of Shah Alam, asked the government to control Internet subscription fees as the current charges were more expensive than those in neighbouring countries like Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Rasydan Rahim, of Sungai Petani, Kedah, suggested that the government check on the tendency of large corporations monopolising sectors of the economy, to bring down prices and improve services.
Ganesan Nokaraju, of Simpang Rengam, Johor, wants the government to focus on agriculture and fisheries with a view to reducing prices of produce in the market to help the lower-income group.
Simon suggested that the government develop towns such as Seremban and Kuantan as Kuala Lumpur was getting congested. “Every year, graduates flock to KL to find jobs. KL is getting congested and house prices skyrocket.”
In his blog, Najib said less than 10 per cent of Malaysians paid tax, thus the key challenge was for the country to broaden its revenue base to ensure that the budget deficit was kept at a manageable level and that the country was not spending beyond its means.
“To achieve this, we need to focus on stimulating domestic investment as well as attracting foreign investment through the Economic Transformation Programme.”
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