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Malaysia, Sarawak, Sarawak agriculture, Sarawak Economy, Sarawakian

Budget 2012 – What’s in it for Sarawakians?

SO Malaysia’s Budget 2012 has been unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also our country’s Finance Minister.

Themed ‘National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Well-being of the Nation’, here’s what stood out for me, especially as a Sarawakian and as a taxpayer.

* RM978 million for the five corridors – which includes the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) – projects include water supply for Samalaju

* Tax deductions on sukuk wakala for three years for 2012

* RM100 million SME Revitalisation Fund offering loans up to RM1 million from Jan 2012

* Full exemption of import duty and excise duty for hybrid and electric cars until 2013

* Real property gains tax to be reviewed so it doesn’t jeopardise the ability of low- and middle-income groups to buy homes

* Commercialisation Innovation Fund totalling RM500 million for SMEs

* RM50.2 billion for education

* RM1 billion for repairs and maintenance of schools

* Payments for primary and secondary schools abolished: Free education at government schools

* Tax exemptions for contributions to educational institutions and all places of worship

* RM5 billion for basic infrastructure development

* Rural Transformation Programme to attract private investment and create employment

* Bank Simpanan Nasional agents in rural areas

* 600,000 government pensioners to get 2 per cent annual pension increment

* RM80 to RM320 yearly increment for civil servants according to grades

* Compulsory retirement for civil servants changed from 58 to 60 years old

* Employers’ contribution to EPF increase to 13 per cent from 12 per cent in 2012 for contributors who earn RM5,000 and below

* Tuition fee assistance for civil servants, part-time studies and 5,000 masters and 500 doctoral scholarships

* Special programme for 175,000 army personnel not eligible for pensions

* RM3,000 for ex-members of special constables, auxiliary police, widows and widowers

* RM1.1 billion for development of agriculture sector (includes irrigation projects in Sarawak)

* RM2.1 billion to expand clean water supply to 200,000 homes, RM1.1 billion for electricity supply to 39,000 homes in rural areas, particularly East Malaysia

* Immediate additional 20,000 water tanks costing RM52 million for rainwater harvesting to benefit 100,000 in interior Sarawak

* People First – all subsidies, incentives and assistance totalling RM33.2 billion to continue

* KAR1SMA to benefit poor senior citizens, children and disabled

* My First Home to increase from RM220,000 to RM400,000

* 75,000 affordable homes under Program Perumahan Rakyat

* RM63 million for abandoned housing, RM40 million for repairs and maintenance of low cost private and public housing

* Upgrading for hospitals and 81 rural health clinics, 50 new 1Malaysia clinics

* SARA 1Malaysia to benefit 100,000 households with incomes below RM3,000 per month

* Tax exemptions on taxi purchases

* National Legal Aid Foundation to ensure free legal aid

* Anjung Singgah centre to help the homeless

* RM10 million to train women with leadership and management scheme

* Free HPV vaccination nationwide

* Seniors age 60 and above exempted from outpatient registration fees in govt hospitals and health clinics

* Tax relief on Private Retirement Scheme contributions

* One-off aid of RM500 for households with montly income of RM3,000 and below

* RM200 book voucher for Malaysian students in private and public tertiary institutions, matriculation and Form 6

* Civil servants get additional half-month salary bonus and pensioners RM500

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