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Questions over Budget 2018

  • Queries that need to be clarified include the allocation for national-type secondary schools and compensation for the four abolished toll gates. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

Budget 2018 has finally been unveiled, with lots of goodies for individuals as well as businesses, attesting to the inclusiveness of the pre-election Budget.

Despite the good news, there remain debatable controversies.

For a start, the government's operating expenditure continues to climb while development expenditure remains comparatively low.

Overall, the Budget is still one that is painless and people-friendly.

As an inclusive Budget, the needs of all ethnic communities have been taken into account. The Chinese community has not been spared, and among the giveaways include RM65 million for the development of Chinese new villages.

In addition, the government will also provide RM50 million for SMEs through Kojadi, plus another RM30 million to be channeled to the 1Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Foundation to provide loans to Chinese small businesses.

As for the allocation for Chinese schools, SJKCs will get RM50 million although there has been no mention of national-type secondary schools.

The government will set aside RM550 million for the upgrading and maintenance of schools in the country, including RM250 million for national primary schools, while Chinese, Tamil primary schools and boarding schools will each get RM50 million.

Compared to other schools such as Tamil primary schools, there are more Chinese primary schools in the country, and by right these schools should get a bigger share of the allocation instead of the standard RM50 million.

In other words, the government must distribute the resources based on the school enrollment in order to more effectively upgrade and maintain school facilities.

The fact that the Budget has left out nation-type secondary schools has raised the concern of the local Chinese community. However, deputy education minister Chong Sin Woon said that he had sought clarification from the finance ministry that these schools would continue to receive RM15 million next year, as they did this year.

As a matter of fact, the government has not specified the allocation for national-type secondary schools in the past three budgets, and this has raised the concern of the Chinese community.

Even though these schools eventually get their money, the process has triggered misunderstanding among the people.

Since the government is determined to provide allocation for these schools, the amount should be specified in the Budget to avoid unnecessary speculations and uneasiness. The finance ministry should explain why it has repeatedly left out national-type secondary schools in past budgets.

Indeed Budget 2018 is a very inclusive one, but there are still issues that need to be clarified, including the allocation for national-type secondary schools as mentioned above and the compensation for the four abolished toll gates, among others.

 

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