Budget 2019 will have a total allocation of RM314.5bil, the largest compared with the last two federal budgets. This is an RM24.1bil increase from last year’s budget, which saw an allocation of RM290.4bil, while Budget 2017 had an allocation of RM260bil. RM259.8bil would be allocated as operating expenditure while RM54.7bil will be allocated as development expenditure. Themed “Credible Malaysia, Dynamic Economy, Prosperous Rakyat”, E with 12 strategies, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Budget 2019 is focused on institutional reforms, the people’s well-being, and the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture to recapture Malaysia’s “Asian Tiger” economic status. This is the Pakatan Harapan government’s first budget.

Highlights:

RM1 billion fund for first house purchase: Bank Negara will set up a RM1 billion fund to finance first house purchase for those with monthly income not exceeding RM2,300. The fund would be provided from 1 January 2019 to purchase affordable houses priced up to RM150,000. “The fund will be available at Ambank, CIMB Bank, Maybank, RHB Bank and Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) at a low financing rate of 3.5 per cent.

Household electricity bill subsidy increased to RM40 and below: The government will increase household electricity bill subsidy from RM20 and below to RM40 and below. However, the subsidy will be channelled to the poor and hardcore poor registered with the e-Kasih programme. It will benefit 185,000 accounts. The government would also provide RON95 petrol subsidy of 30 sen per litre to those who own a car with engine capacity of 1,500cc and below, as well as a motorcycle with engine capacity of 125cc and below.

Special payment of RM500 for civil servants in grade 54 and below, RM250 for pensioners
The government had proposed a special payment of RM500 for civil servants in grade 54 and below. For pensioners, a special payment of RM250.
RM29bil towards health services: This include RM10.8bil to equip public hospitals and clinics. RM50mil will be set aside to help patients with rare diseases, Hepatitis C and other initiatives.

New benefits for seniors: A one-off RM500 payment to eligible pensioners. To encourage the hiring of those above the age of 60 who want to work, the government proposes that their mandatory EPF contributions be reduced from 6% to 4%. There will also be tax incentives for companies that hire senior citizens, with a salary limit of RM4,000 a month. The government has allocated RM10 million annually to extend medical benefits to parents of contractual civil servants.

Gaming machine licence will increase from RM10,000 to RM50,000 per annum; gambling duty will increase from 20% to 30% based on gross earnings.

To introduce excise duty from April 1, 2019 at 40 sen per litre on two categories of sugary drinks manufactured in the form of ready-to-drink beverages.

Freeze on toll charges on all highways in the city in 2019 with an estimated budget RM700mil. The government will also abolish toll for motorcycle on the First and Second Bridge in Penang, as well as the Second Link Expressway in Johor with an estimated cost of RM20mil a year from Jan 1, 2019.

SST exemption on construction services and building materials. In return, REHDA has agreed to reduce by 10% the house price which is not subject to price control for new projects.