Budget 2016 has not been an easy one.
“The Government had to think of ways to continue to help the people, particularly those in the middle and lower income categories, despite the uncertainties in the global economy,” said MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been a blessing in disguise following the fall in crude oil prices and uncertainties in the global economy.
He said fluctuating crude oil prices this year has caused the nation to lose some RM30bil in revenue.
He said although the Government faced criticism from some quarters for introducing GST, the move was timely as it would see the collection of an estimated RM39 bil next year.
“If we had maintained the old sales and services tax or SST regime, we would have only been able to collect RM18 bil in taxes in 2016.
“So, under the GST we will have an excess of RM21bil and we can use the money to assist the people,” he said when opening the refurbished Telok Kemang MCA building here.
Liow commended Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for tabling a comprehensive Budget 2016 and one which had “something for everyone” despite the prevailing economic conditions.
“Efforts are also being made to bring down the cost of living so that we can achieve our target of becoming a high income nation in the next few years,” he said.
On a separate matter, Liow said the proposal to increase the minimum wage for workers in the peninsula as well as Sabah and Sarawak in the Budget was among others aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on foreign workers.
He said by increasing the minimum wage, more Malaysians would be encouraged to take up jobs which they had previously shunned.
He was asked to respond to a request from the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers which wants the increase in the national minimum wage set for July 1 next year to be deferred until the economy stabilises.
Budget 2016 outlined that minimum wage for private sector workers in the peninsula would go up from RM900 to RM1,000 and from RM800 to RM920 for those in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. This does not apply to domestic workers.
MCA will explain the salient points in the Budget to the people so they would understand the reasons behind some of the decisions taken by the Government.
Source – The Star (26 October 2015)