Thursday, July 18

General approval for Budget 2012, opposition picks on flaws

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Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak

KUCHING: The 2012 Budget announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday was generally well received by the political and corporate leaders.

Minister of Housing Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the 2012 Budget is the ‘people’s budget’ as it tackles the real needs of the people.

Among the goodies for the people is the abolition of school fees from primary to secondary school levels.

“Overall, the budget will reduce the people’s burden during these hard times,” he told The Borneo Post here last night.

Abang Johari, who is also the Minister of Tourism, added that there was also an increase in allocation for rural infrastructure development, including areas in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

“There is also an increase in allocation for affordable homes such as the ‘rumah mampu milik’ for the lower income group,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, group chief executive of the CIMB Group also took a positive view on the budget saying, “It is a creative and responsible budget, bringing down the deficit to 4.7 per cent in 2012 and yet delivering benefits to the most deserving segments of the rakyat.

“I particularly like the measures focusing on human capital development and those addressing concerns on rising consumer debt levels.

“In addition, I would like to compliment the government for the estimated 14.9 per cent increase in its revenue for 2011, which is a reflection of overall efficiency improvement in the public sector.”

Not surprisingly the approval was not universal with the oppositions voicing reservations on the expenditure and the means to finance it.

State PKR information chief See Chee How said the budget was an ‘election budget’ with the generous dishing of sweets and goodies.

“But at the end of the day, the government is resorting to heavy borrowing to finance the deficit, the sum being higher despite the reduced percentage in deficit.

“It is pushing our debts to more than RM4,557 billion. This will have to be serviced and paid by ourselves and future generations,” he said.

See, who is also the Batu Lintang assemblyman, stressed that it would be much better if there were measures announced to curb corruption, wastage and leakages.

“Unfortunately there is none,” he lamented.