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#Budget 2018 Highlights

#Budget 2018 Highlights
Datuk Seri Najib presenting the Budget 2018 in Parliament earlier today. - Astro AWANI/Shahir Omar
KUALA LUMPUR: Following are the highlights of Budget 2018 tabled in Parliament today by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The budget carries the theme 'Prospering an Inclusive Economy, Balancing between Worldly and Hereafter, for the Wellbeing of Rakyat, towards the TN50 Aspiration'

The budget theme is based on eight main thrusts, namely:

1. Invigorating Investment, Trade and Industries
2. Towards TN50 Aspiration

3. Empowering Education, Skills and Training, and Talent Development
4. Driving Inclusive Development

5. Prioritising the Wellbeing of Rakyat and Provide Opportunities to Generate Income

6. Fortifying the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Digital Economy

7. Enhancing Efficiency and Delivery of GLC Companies and Public Service

8. Balancing Between The Par Excellence of Worldly and Hereafter

*Budget 2018 provides an allocation of RM280.25 billion compared to RM260.8 billion in Budget 2017.

*RM234.25 billion is allocated for Operating Expenditure and RM46 billion for Development Expenditure.

*The federal government revenue collection is expected to record RM239.86 billion.

*The government is allocating an additional RM200 million for Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, bringing the total fund size to RM2.7 billion to benefit nearly 400,000 borrowers.

*RM6.5 billion is provided to assist farmers, fishermen, smallholders and rubber tappers to implement various programmes, including RM2.3 billion to provide assistance and incentives such as fertilisers and input to padi farmers, rubber smallholders and fishermen.

*The year 2020 is declared as Visit Malaysia Year. Malaysia will host a series of international meetings in 2020, namely APEC, WCIT and CHOGM.

*RM2 billion is allocated to the SME Tourism Fund to provide soft loans to tour operators with an interest subsidy of 2 percent.

*An additional RM1 billion is allocated to the Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund as soft loans.

*RM30 million is allocated to Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) to implement initiatives, among them to promote Malaysia as the Asian Hub for Fertility Treatment, IVF and Cardiology; to introduce the Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme.

*The construction of the East Coast Rail Link project connecting Port Klang to Pengkalan Kubor, Kelantan, to begin in January 2018.

*The construction of the MRT3 or Circle Line to be completed by 2025, earlier than the initial target in 2027.

*Pulau Pangkor in Perak to be declared as a duty-free island but the status excludes products such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco and motor vehicles.

*A special Border Economic Zone is to be developed in Bukit Kayu Hitam to stimulate economic growth in the northern area.

*RM1 billion is allocated to the Public Transportation Fund for working capital and procurement of assets such as buses and taxis.

*RM45 million is allocated to develop a biometric control system to monitor bus drivers following several express bus accidents.

*Penang and Langkawi international airports are to be upgraded.

*The construction of a new airport in Mukah as well as expansion of the Kota Bharu and Sandakan airports.

*Every Malaysian baby born between Jan 1, 2018 and 2022 will be provided with an Initial Savings Fund of RM200 through the PNB Unit Trust Scheme to be named Amanah Dana Anak Malaysia or ADAM50.

*A total of RM250 million is allocated to education for the TN50 generation to develop programmes, among them to enhance the computer science module including coding programme; and RM190 million to upgrade 2,000 classes into 21st Century Smart Classrooms.

*RM2.2 billion is allocated for scholarships to be provided by the Public Service Department, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Health.

*Fourteen new sports complexes costing RM112 million to be built nationwide.

*A sum of RM61.6 billion is provided for the education sector, of which RM654 million is allocated for construction of four pre-schools, nine PERMATA centres, 48 primary and secondary schools and vocational colleges and one matriculation centre.

*The government is to extend discount for repayment of PTPTN loans until Dec 31, 2018.

*RM4.9 billion is allocated to implement the TVET Malaysia Masterplan.

*RM6.5 billion is allocated to provide basic infrastructure in the rural areas.

*RM1 billion is allocated through MCMC to develop communication infrastructure and broadband facilities in Sabah and Sarawak.

*RM300 million is allocated to implement NBOS programmes.

*The government is to reimburse cess money paid by settlers for rubber and oil palm replanting schemes from 2010 to 2016.

*RM14 billion is allocated for MAF, almost RM9 billion for the police, over RM900 million for MMEA to increase safety at borders and enhance public order.

*RM3 billion is allocated for procurement and maintenance of defence assets.

*RM720 million is allocated to build 11 headquarters, six police stations and to purchase firearm fittings as well as operation vehicles.

*Ten thousand housing units are to be constructed for police personnel under the 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing-PDRM (PPA1M-PDRM) at an affordable price according to the police salary scheme.

*RM250 million is allocated to ESSCOM to enhance security controls at Sabah and Sarawak borders.

*RM2.5 billion, highest allocation ever, to be provided for higher education scholarship and training programmes under MARA, benefiting nearly 90,000 students.

*PNB to distribute additional 1.5 billion Amanah Saham 1Malaysia units for the Indian community, up to 30,000 units for each investor.

*RM3,000 to be provided to Orang Asli parents in preparing their children's enrolment in higher learning institutes.

*Individual income tax rates reduction of 2 percentage points for income tax band between RM20,000 to RM70,000.

*RM3.9 billion is allocated for goods and transport subsidies including cooking gas, flour, cooking oil, electricity and toll.

*Fifty Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) outlets to be transformed to KRIM 2.0 in 2018, additional 3,000 outlets within 3 years.

*Effective Jan 1, 2018, toll collection to be abolished at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau in Selangor; Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah and Eastern Dispersal Link, Johor.

*Government to review the cost of hiring foreign domestic helpers with a view of reducing it in the future; to allow employers to hire foreign domestic helpers directly from nine selected countries.

*RM2.2 billion is allocated for the construction of 17,300 PPR homes; 3,000 People Friendly Homes under SPNB, and 210,000 PR1MA homes with prices of RM250,000 and below, to increase home ownership among the rakyat.

*RM27 billion is allocated to provide quality healthcare services.

*Government to provide a matching grant worth RM245 million under the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund to upgrade Smart Manufacturing facilities in supporting Industrial Revolution 4.0.

*RM5 billion is allocated under the Green Technology Financing Scheme to promote investments in green technology industry.

*Non-Revenue Water Programme to be implemented at a cost of RM1.4 billion to reduce the average loss of water.

*RM1.7 billion is allocated for the welfare of senior citizens, people with disabilities and children.

*For civil servants, government to introduce second time-based promotion for support staff after 13 years from first promotion.

*From fifth-month of pregnancy onwards, working women will be allowed to leave work an hour earlier, along with their husband on condition the couple are working within the same location.

*A total 9,800 village heads and 'tok batins' to receive one-off special payment of RM1,500 of which RM1,000 will be paid in January 2018 while the rest during Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

*Some 65,000 imams, bilals, tok siaks, KAFA and 'takmir' teachers to receive RM1,000 in January 2018 and a balance of RM500 during Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

*The country's 1.6 million public servants to receive a special payment of RM1,500 of which RM1,000 to be paid in January 2018 while the balance during Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

*Government retirees to receive special payment of RM750 of which RM500 will be paid in January 2018 while the balance during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. -- Bernama

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