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2013 BUDGET: People want affordable homes, aid and better public transport
KUALA LUMPUR: ONE of the most highly anticipated national budgets in recent years will be unveiled on Friday, and more people are coming forward to let the government know what they wish to see in the fiscal plan.
Top of the list is more affordable homes in cities in the wake of escalating property prices.
The middle-income group and the poor asked for aid such as the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia and the one-off allowance for students to be continued in the 2013 Budget, which will be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Also on the list is public transport, which they said needed to be improved, not just in Kuala Lumpur but also in other parts of the country.
The New Straits Times, in surveys in the past few weeks, has been publishing what Malaysians want from the Budget.
In Ipoh, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said to maintain the present growth momentum, the total allocation under the Budget would not be reduced despite the uncertain world economic situation.
"If we reduce the allocation, our economic growth will be affected. If the country's economy contracts, it will have an effect on production and will cause the unemployment rate to increase," he said after meeting haj pilgrims from the Tambun parliamentary constituency at Dewan Taman Meru here yesterday.
With various economic transformation programmes taking place, Malaysia would be able to record better growth next year, said Husni.
He added that the economy was likely to expand between 4.5 per cent and five per cent this year.
He said the Budget would ensure that there was an operating surplus and a reduced fiscal deficit while maintaining the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio at below 55 per cent.
On another matter, Husni said Malaysia's capital market would be able to absorb any additional inflow of funds as a result of quantitative easing measures taken by the United States and Japan.
"Bursa Malaysia has been showing encouraging performance and there is also high demand for Malaysian bonds and sukuk."
The Bank of Japan recently announced it would add another 10 trillion yen (RM390 billion) under its quantitative easing programme, just days after an announcement by the US Federal Reserve.
In Kuantan, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is confident that a higher allocation is in store to help tackle crime through the implementation of the second phase of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) for anti-crime initiatives.
He said the success in reducing street crimes during the first phase of the NKRA had prompted the government to expand the initiatives to cover serious crimes, such as gang robbery and human trafficking.
Among others, he said, there would be a significant increase in the recruitment of police personnel in "around tens of thousands" and active involvement of stakeholders, such as shopping mall operators, community leaders and non-governmental organisations.
"We need more policemen since the biggest police intake was done after the racial riots in 1969. We will also increase training for police to tackle the changing criminal trends," he said after opening the Indera Mahkota Umno division delegates' meeting here yesterday. Additional reporting by Ili Liyana Mokhtar