KUCHING, Oct 27: Under Budget 2018 which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak termed as the “mother of all budgets”, Sarawak has been allocated more than RM3 billion for specific projects.
The RM3 billion allocation is specifically for certain projects or purposes.
It does not include allocations given though other ministries such as Home Ministry, Health Ministry or Human Resource Ministry.
The first to be mentioned by Najib in his speech which was televised live on national TV today is RM1 billion for the repair and upgrading of dilapidated schools, especially those in rural areas.
Secondly, along with four other development corridors, Sarawak has also been allocated RM1 billion for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
While announcing this allocation, Najib cited the access road to Balleh HEP dam, which is to say, the RM1 billion will include the expenditure to build the road.
Additionally, he also revealed a few allocations specifically for Sarawak and Sabah.
Najib announced RM2 billion for the Pan Borneo Highway which upon completion will connect Telok Melano, Sarawak to Serudong, Sabah.
Like in previous years, RM30 million has been allocated for native customary rights (NCR) land perimeter surveys in Sarawak while RM80 million is allocated for Sabah and Sarawak to reduce price disparity of basic necessities between urban and rural areas.
Najib also announced the construction of Mukah Airport, although without mentioning the actual project amount or allocation.
There is also an allocation of RM500 million for the building of rural roads in both states.
Apart from that, Najib said RM1 billion will be allocated to improve the Internet service for Sarawak and Sabah through Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.
Another sum of RM620 million has also been allocated for rural electrification scheme (RES) to provide electricity for 10,000 households while RM300 million is allocated for the provision of water supply for 3,000 houses in Sabah and Sarawak.
The overall 2018 budget allocation is RM280.25 billion with operating expenditure taking up RM234.3 billion.
Development expenditure takes up RM46 billion with revenue collection estimated to be RM239.86 billion.
Meanwhile, Najib also revealed individual income tax rates reduction of two percentage points for income tax band between RM20,000 to RM70,000, which will affect those in the M40 group or mid-income range households with income of less than RM9,000.
For those earning annual income of RM20,001 to RM35,000, the rate is reduced to three per cent (from five per cent) while for those falling in the income tax band of RM35,001 to RM50,000, the rate is reduced to eight per cent (from 10 per cent).
For those earning annual income of RM50,001 to RM70,000, the rate is reduced to 14 per cent (from 16 per cent).
“This measure will increase the disposable income of the rakyat between RM300 to RM1,000. It is estimated that additional disposable income of RM1.5 billion can be spent by the rakyat. With this measure more that 261,000 individuals are no longer subjected to income tax,” Najib said. — DayakDaily