This Friday, insya-Allah I will be in Parliament to table the National Budget for 2011. The goal of this budget is to set the pace for the transformation of Malaysia into a developed and high-income economy by the year 2020.
Like last year, I called for the Malaysian public to express its wishes for the Budget by leaving comments in my blog. In just under two weeks, over a thousand comments poured in from the Rakyat with suggestions and ideas for the 2011 National Budget. I have personally read these comments forwarded a significant portion of them to the Ministry of Finance for further study and possible incorporation into the Budget or other government programmes.
Of the wide range of topics raised, I noted that employment was the most frequently discussed with some of you calling for the implementation of a minimum wage policy. Another popular topic discussed was taxes and subsidies. Comments from the youth requested for increased tax rebates for young families or ways to provide financial assistance in managing the rising cost of living.
The third-most popular subject was education, where a variety of concerns with education quality and rising cost of education were expressed.
There were also comments asking for more allocation to upgrade internet and broadband service across the country. I also noted a number of suggestions to address issues unique to the states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Other requests were for increased incentives and programmes for the disadvantaged, control on the price of consumer goods, increased development in rural areas to attract commercial opportunities for youth, incentives for green technology development, increased allocations for national security and programmes to address illegal immigrants, and many more.
My office and I have studied these ideas and intend to explore the viable ones for implementation, whether or not they are incorporated into the Budget. Some of you who have contributed comments to my blog will be able to recognise your ideas, or a hybrid of those ideas in the Budget. Simply by participating in the exercise, you have contributed to the process of transforming our nation. Thank you for your input and support for the sake of our nation, and let’s keep this up!