GEORGE TOWN: Both non-profit social welfare groups and the commercial sector hope the Budget 2021 will cater to little known needs, like recuperative care for the needy and the creative economy.
“Can you believe a baby can get cancer? We have been helping several lately, ” said Penang Community Care (PCC) president Wendy Ang.
PCC is a registered charity that donates provisions to impoverished families. Lately, Ang said the organisation discovered many poor cancer patients who get free public healthcare find difficulty with post-treatment care.
“They return to the hospital every few months for treatment such as chemotherapy. Yes, the treatment is free but the milk that they need to ensure they have good nutrition to recover is really expensive.
“It is more than RM80 per tin and it only lasts a few days. Without this, cancer patients cannot be sure of getting enough nutrition to recover.
“We are helping them as best we can and we hope the government can look into this, ” she said.
Eden Handicap Centre co-founder Madelene Tan wants the government to go beyond social welfare and look into providing a special pricing scheme for the disabled to buy their own homes.
“It doesn’t have to be big. Just a two-room unit will do. Many disabled people have learnt to adapt and become independent.
“They can live long, but if they don’t have their own homes, they must depend on others all their lives, ” she said.“They cannot afford market prices to buy a home so we hope special consideration can be given to them.”St Nicholas Home for the Blind general manager David Chiang reminded companies that those who hire the disabled would get a 200% tax exemption on the wages they pay them.
“It is a chance for companies to reduce their taxes while helping the disabled. The government must encourage this.
“We also want more targeted spending to increase the vocational training available for the visually impaired, ” he added.
On the commercial side, Penang Art Society wants the government to give attention to the creative economy.
This is a relatively new term coined to encompass all commercial efforts in the fields of the arts, filming, fashion, publishing and game development, among others.
“For a start, the government can consider making creativity-related purchases of up to RM50,000 to be 100% tax-deductible for buyers, ” said its president Ch’ng Huck Theng.
He said this move does not need government funding and yet will create a huge domino effect for creative industries.
For the badly hit tourism sector, Ch’ng, who is also Association of Tourist Attractions Penang chairman, urged the government to extend the loan moratorium for this industry by another six months.
He also hopes the personal income tax relief of up to RM1,000 for Malaysians going on holiday domestically will be increased to RM5,000.Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chairman K. Raj Kumar said while the current wage subsidy of RM600 per employee had been a great help, he hoped it would be increased for badly hit industries such as hotels.
“Utility providers and local councils can also help by lowering their respective tariffs further for companies in the travel industry, ” he said.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang chairman Datuk Dr Ooi Eng Hock urged the government not to pause efforts to digitalise the country.
“When our member-factories interview new staff now, we must ask the candidates where they live precisely because we need to know if they will have good Internet coverage at home.
“We need them to be ready to work from home. There are parts of the country where the Internet coverage is just not enough.
“Do not stop expanding Internet coverage for all nationwide even during the pandemic, ” he said.