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2013 budget: First of 16 focus group meetings to be on Wednesday
IPOH: MALAYSIANS were told yesterday to present their views on the drafting of the 2013 Budget.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said they could give their feedback by visiting the Finance Ministry website at www.treasury.gov.my.
He said this would ensure that the Budget covered as many aspects, areas and issues of concern to every segment of the population as possible.
He said the input would be evaluated before being forwarded to the various focus groups set up to discuss provisions of the Budget.
The first of these 16 focus group meetings will be on Wednesday.
“The public input will help the government prepare a comprehensive, holistic budget for next year, one which will cover as many areas as possible,” he said after opening the 1Malaysia public library at Kampung Seberang Sungai Tapah in Gugusan Manjoi here.
Ahmad Husni said non-governmental organisations were also welcome to submit proposals.
He would also be meeting academicians, professional bodies, think tanks and media practitioners to get feedback in preparation for the 2013 Budget.
As for the Wednesday meeting, he said it would discuss new initiatives in enhancing private investment — one of the core issues being looked into by the government.
“The Finance Ministry will hold 16 focus group sessions on 16 different topics over the next two months.
“Each of these groups will be chaired either by one of the deputy finance ministers or the Treasury secretarygeneral.
New focus groups with new topics will be set up if the need arises.”
Ahmad Husni said his ministry received 84 memorandums from various quarters during its 2013 Budget Consultation Council meeting on May 29. He said 49 of them covered sectoral aspects, 20 on macro-economy and others on
Meanwhile, people interviewed by the New Straits Times yesterday were pleased to learn of the possibility of a second round of assistance from Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said on Friday that he was looking into the proposal.
He told more than 30,000 people at the "Jelajah Janji Ditepati" tour in Kulim that BR1M was one of the promises made by the government to reduce their financial burden.
The RM500 aid was paid to households earning less than RM3,000 a month under the 2012 Budget.
Hotel food and beverage manager Mohd Rosnan Tahir, 43, said this was a good time for another round of aid.
"Some say the RM500 amount is too small but even a little goes a long way."
Retired driver Yahaya Abu Bakar, 57, said he had been living on his savings and any government assistance came in handy.
In Kuantan, shopkeeper, Johari Wan Jusoh, 54, said: "My customers have been asking if there is any latest development on BR1M.
"They are eagerly waiting for the announcement, but let the prime minister decide on this, as he knows what's best for the people."
Lee Lai Ping, 62, a mother of six, said any new payout would be a windfall, having used the cash from the first round to buy extra household needs, medication and saving up some for emergencies.
"Although most of us had to register and wait in a long queue for the BR1M voucher, it was worth it.
"I believe the aid was a timely assistance for many families."
Sang Riang Welfare Home chairman Jamil Karim in Triang, Bera, said the first round of the aid served as a major boost for the 100-odd residents.
Residents there are aged between 60 and 98.
"A second round of BR1M will be extra special."
Keratong Orang Asli settlement headman Majid Jaafar said some of the villagers had held reunion dinners and invited their relatives from nearby settlements with the RM500 assistance. Additional reporting by S. Ista Kyra