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Tax relief will help during these troubled times
Published on: Sunday, October 08, 2017

By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
ALL parties should seize the opportunity to give suggestions and input to the Finance Minister for the drafting of Budget 2018 which will be tabled on October 27.

As caring Malaysian citizens, we must give constructive and realistic suggestions so that a balanced and people-friendly budget could be tabled in Parliament.

Based on feedback from various levels of society, Malaysians are hoping that no new taxes will be introduced or existing taxes increased which could directly affect their economy and livelihood.

They also hope that the Government would introduce various incentives and tax relief that could reduce the increasing cost of living.

Among others, the tax relief for an income earner’s wife should be increased to at least RM8,000 while the tax relief for every child should be raised to at least RM5,000.

The tax relief for children under 18 years old has been raised to RM2,000 from RM1,000 since the 2016 Budget.

Tax relief for a wife with no income has also been raised from RM3,000 to RM4,000.

I also hope the Government will address other issues that are affecting the people, particularly the hike in food prices and other essential items, lack of affordable houses, education and health services.

Some quarters claim that people do not have any problem spending on food and other necessities based on the fact that restaurants and shopping malls are still crowded with customers and shoppers.

But the fact is many have been complaining about unreasonable price hikes lately.

The Government should conduct a thorough study on the significant price increase of food and other essential items. There are claims that the prices of some of the produce and products have increased 100pc.

Efforts to tackle the price increase will never succeed if the authorities are only focusing on taking action against traders as the process actually involves all parties in the supply chain – from producers or suppliers to wholesalers and retailers.

The proposed measures must be comprehensive so that the Government will be able to control price increases throughout the supply chain through intervention and law enforcement.

To deal with the issue of lack of affordable homes, the authorities must work with the state governments and private sector.

Affordable homes must also be built at strategic locations in the city where most of the people are working.

As for transport, the Government’s success in creating a more integrated and efficient public transport network in the Klang Valley should be emulated by others when implementing similar systems throughout the country.

However, I urge for the maintenance culture to be enhanced and awareness campaigns must be held to encourage the people to appreciate and take good care of such facilities.

At the same time, the transport system should charge affordable fares including for the feeder bus service, taxis as well as ride-sharing services such as Uber and Grab.

For education and health, the Government should maintain the subsidies given to the people, especially those from the lower-income group.

The authorities should also educate the public to save for education and health, especially for their children, since the costs are expected to increase in future.

To help inculcate good occupational safety and health culture among workers, the Government should also reduce or abolish the import duty for personal protective equipment, such as safety helmets and goggles, to help reduce the prices.

While drafting the 2018 Budget, it is hoped that our leaders will continue to feel the people’s pulse and take into consideration the challenges they are facing, especially the ever-increasing cost of living.

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