Published: Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 8:50:00 PM
Updated: Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 9:50:31 PM
BY L. SUGANYA
PETALING JAYA: The abolition of sugar subsidies and the impending implementation of goods and services tax (GST) in April 2015 are the main concerns of the Malaysian public following the Budget 2014 announcement by Prime Minster Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday.
The current price of sugar is RM2.50 per kg, and will rise to RM2.84 on Saturday.
With many saying there were already struggling with the high cost of living, further tightening of their belts were needed with the subsidy cut.
Insurance agent Jason Tan, 24, said day-to-day survival was already a struggle - especially those just starting their careers - and he expected things to be more difficult now.
"Shops are going to increase the price of drinks by at least 10 sen per glass. Other prices will go up as well and we will feel the pinch," he said.
Lecturer Sudhashini Nair hoped that the latest budget could help lessen the burden of the lower- and middle-income group.
"The cost of living is so high now that we cannot think of having more than one child. It is just crazy," she said.
PhD student Nithiya Arumugam, who recently returned from Japan, said the subsidy cut was going to affect her the most.
"When I came back home after three years in Japan, I was astonished by how much food prices had increased. This is just going to make things worse," she said.
However, she felt that the allocation to improve the public transportation system was a move in the right direction.
"Right now, the focus of public transportation is in the city centre. I hope to see it extended," she said.
Engineer S. Kulendran was sceptical about the GST, as he felt the countries applying it had high per capita income.
"They have reliable transportation systems and affordable goods (relative) to its income per capita. We do not have that," he said.
However, he did see some positives to the budget.
"The outcome-based budgeting (OBB) which will be implemented seems promising, especially for healthcare," he opined.
Aircraft engineer Nazir Maslan said the effect of GST implementation had yet to be seen.
"The Government has been saying that it will bring a positive impact, I'm eager to see what it would be," he said.
Nazir also commented that the 6% rate was a reasonable amount, and the tax rate in Malaysia remained one of the lowest.
"In countries like UK, they pay more tax but they also get back more. For example, the public transportation there is so good that it is a hassle to own cars."We need to get there but I only seeing it happening in the next 10 years," he said.