Malaysian prime minister promises civil servant benefits in budget

30 Oct 17

The Malaysian prime minister announced a $280bn ringgit ($66bn) spending plan for the final budget before elections take place within the next 10 months. 

On Friday Najib Razak, who is also finance minister, laid out the spending plan for 2018, which included benefits for civil servants such as more flexible hours, a 1,500 ringgit ($354) bonus over two payments, and increased medical and education-related benefits. 

Taxes will also be cut, including a 2% reduction for those earning between 20,000 ($4720) and 70,000 ($16517) ringgit a year, which Razak said will benefit 2.3m taxpayers.

He also raised the disposable income rate.

The prime minister said: “I stand here today, to bring happy news that will put a smile on everyone’s face.”

He went on to announce additional benefits for senior citizens, disabled and children as well as money allocated under the Green Technology Funding Scheme, to reduce non-revenue water programme, and flood mitigation plans across the country.

In addition to this, Razak pledged to put more money into better quality health services and upgrade hospitals and clinics. 

But the budget has been criticised as “reckless and irresponsible” by lawyer and human rights activist Azhar Huran. 

He said: “A national budget that rains money and gifts without any justification or that fails to state long-term economic policies that will bring wealth to the country is reckless and irresponsible.”

“It is not a document that rains money and gifts to sections of society for no other reason than to be popular or to gain votes,” he said in a Facebook post.

Razak, who has held office since 2009, must call the general election before August 2018.  

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