Published: Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 11:12:57 AM
|Impactful presentation: Najib tabling the Budget 2014 at the Dewan Rakyat. |
— RAJA FAISAL HISHAN / The Star
DATUK Seri Najib Tun Razak has reminded Malaysians on the importance of each of them playing their role for the nation to attain success.
He said the Budget was formulated to ensure the economy continued to expand at a strong pace and to reduce the fiscal deficit, with the objective being to prosper the country and promote the people’s well-being.
“The demographics may indicate various groups, subgroups and ethnic groups within the population (but) the truth is, irrespective of whether we are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Murut, Dusun, Iban, Bidayuh, orang Ulu, orang asli, Sikhs, Eurasians, Siamese, Baba Nyonya and Chitty, we are all Malaysians.
“Every ethnic group or subgroup irrespective of numbers is important in our journey towards success,” he said in tabling the Budget 2014 themed “Strengthening Economic Resilience, Accelerating Transformation and Fulfilling Promises” at the Dewan Rakyat.
Najib, who took two-and-a-half hours to present the 230-point Budget, brought the House down with laughter and thumping of tables among Barisan MPs when he said that the Malaysian population, which currently stood at 27.4 million, did not include the 40,000 Bangladeshis whom the Opposition claimed to have been brought in as phantom voters in the May general election.
“Till today, no one has even seen them or their shadow,” he said.
Aside from the announcement of bonus for civil servants, who will receive a half-month bonus with a minimum of RM500 to be paid in January, the other significant announcement was the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will take effect in April 2015.
The Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers made noise when the Prime Minister announced that GST will be at 6%.
However, Najib stressed that it would not be a new tax and that it would not be imposed on basic food items such as rice. He also said that 160 countries, including Burkina Faso and Kenya, have implemented it.
The Opposition heckled Najib when he pointed out that Malaysia was among the preferred tourist destinations for shopping and was ranked 4th most popular city in the world for shopping after New York, Tokyo and London.
When several MPs started asking “ya kah? (is that so?)” he replied: “This was reported by the CNN Travel.”
Describing Budget 2014 as a post-election budget which would fulfil Barisan’s promises, Najib pledged that the coalition would continue to lead the nation with vigour and courage.
“Our noble efforts will always be criticised (by Opposition) but be that as it may, the truth will always prevail. Despite all the allegations, we will not give up easily and will continue to work hard for the rakyat.”
Najib ended his speech by acknowledging there might be weaknesses in the administration in the past, adding that with the people’s support, the Barisan government would continue to improve.
“There is no problem that cannot be solved if we remain united. Let us assure the people that we will not allow irresponsible parties to take over the government. We will defend Putrajaya for the rakyat and our beloved nation,” he said.