Govt initiatives in Budget 2021 get the thumbs up


“I am relieved that the government has allowed us to take out money from Account 1 of our Employees Provident Fund (EPF). I sell flowers and cookies from home to earn a living while my husband works in Singapore.

My business was badly hit due to Covid-19 and my husband was unable to send back as much money as he used to as he now has extra expenses to bear due to the closure of the border.

He used to travel back and forth between Johor and Singapore daily but he now has no choice but to remain in Singapore where he has to fork out extra cash for his rent there as well as for his daily basic needs.

I am depending on my sales here for my five children who are between 14 and 24-years-old. Three of them are schooling while two are still looking for jobs. The money from the EPF really helps to ease our burden but I have made it a point to only take it out when we are desperate.” - S. Sumathi, 47, trader

“I feel relieved that the government is allowing us to withdraw money from our EPF Account 1 as it becomes a safety net for my family should I or my husband lose our jobs or are given unpaid leave.

It ensures that we still have some money to put food on the table, especially for our kids. As it is currently a time of uncertainty, I think it is important we have a backup plan for any kind of financial emergency.” - Masrah Marsinda, 32, human resource lead

"The monthly travel pass at RM30 (My30) is so worth it. Previously it was sold for RM100. With the My30 travel pass, if I go on my normal route to work or other places, it’s only RM1 for transport a day.

Even if I have to take Grabcar a few times a month, it’s much cheaper than maintaining a car and having to pay for parking. ” - Grace Lai, 25, financial adviser

“The RM600 wage subsidy will help tourism industry operators. It may not seem as much, but every little bit counts, especially during the pandemic that has badly hit the industry. For the industry to recover, there needs to be more efforts in the future. Hopefully, things will get better and the government offers more initiatives like giving out travel vouchers or lucky draws to boost domestic travels.” - Jimmy Goh, 58, tour agency operator

“The 1% reduction in income tax and reduction of EPF statutory contribution reduction will certainly help groups in M40 like me with more disposable income.

There are many who have lost their jobs and are experiencing pay cuts and some are living from ‘hand to mouth’ due to the pandemic. All these people need more cash and EPF contribution reduction will go a long way for the B40 group too as they are the worse-hit.

However it will be good for the government to make it compulsory for the 11% contribution when the situation improves as the money in retirement fund is needed for the future. ” - Mohd Hazim Abdul Manaf, 25, engineer

"Buying a house was always my dream and Budget 2021 could not have come at a better time. I am looking for a property between RM400,000 to RM500,000 and the exemption on stamp duty is certainly welcome as I would be saving a considerable amount of money. Purchasing a property is expensive and I am sure I would not be able to get a landed property and only a condominium and while I have been working for only slightly over a year, I have time to look around as the exemption is valid until Dec 31,2025.

I am a bank employee and will be paying a lower interest for my housing loan and coupled with the exemption, it will certainly put some money in my hands which I could use to renovate or buy furniture and fittings for my house.” - Elena James, 24, bank executive

“I am grateful for the cash handout under the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR). The previous cash handouts I had received from the government had really helped my husband and I go through tough times. It may not be much but it has significantly helped us ensure that we have enough to go by, especially as my husband’s business is not doing well due to the pandemic. We were also able to keep a portion of the money we have received previously as savings.” - Nurul Aisha Mohd Yusoff, 33, management assistant

“The RM180 Internet subscriptions and EPF withdrawal from Account 2 to purchase life insurance, takaful and critical illnesses coverage will help me ease my monthly expenditures. I also think the budget is fully modified for everyone’s well-being and no one is left behind, from EPF benefits to purchasing power, it gives us the opportunity to stabilise the economy after the pandemic. I believe that the budget is truly made for the people.” - Nadieya Azmin, 26, executive

“The cash assistance under Perikatan Nasional’s Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat has been extended to single individuals aged 21 years and above and I am happy that I will be eligible to receive the financial assistance this time around. I am in the B40 income group and I believe this initiative will help me have extra cash to spare in case of emergencies or to help me buy my daily necessities.” - Normasaidatul Fasihah Mohd, 29, document controller cum planner

“The allocation for social enterprises under Budget 2021 demonstrates the government’s earnest effort in developing Malaysia’s social entrepreneurship which also translates into their support of entrepreneurs’ initiatives to improve socioeconomic welfare and community-building. As a social entrepreneur, this assistance would help us to elevate and shift our focus on the path of business resilience and continuity.

In this vein, I cannot be happier when the government announced this assistance in the Budget. It means that the government is listening to our voices – the social entrepreneurs – more so, in uncharted times like these.” - Ganesh Muren, 29, founder and CEO, Saora Industries

“What attracted me most from Budget 2021 is the 1% reduction from personal income tax. It is a big relief. The e-Wallet incentive too was good, targeting the youth between 18 and 20 who are mostly studying or just started working. If it is given to all would be better as the M40 group are the big spenders. The budget this time around was mainly for the B40 group who are suffering due to the pandemic, but I fully understand the government’s objective in helping them.” - Kester Hok, 35, executive

“Allowing the public to withdraw from EPF’s Account 1 gives extra inflow to monthly income. Cash in hand is better during this unpredictable pandemic situation and also could be used for the near future or help others who have less resources. However, I would advise the people to try not to jeopardise EPF investments until it is the last resort. The public needs to try to use the money from EPF within adjustable reserves in cash flow.” - Dr Chu Bee Sin, 41, veterinarian

“I fully support the pneumococcal immunisation programme for children to be continued in the budget as it is beneficial for me as a mother to get extra vaccination for my children. In addition, the full stamp duty exemption for first-home purchase below RM500,000 is definitely good news for me and my family as we are planning to buy our own home next year.” - Nur Sabrina Juana, 24, mother of two

“The extension of targeted assistance in repayment of bank loans for both individuals and businesses is a good move because it is focused on helping those in need without affecting banks’ cash flow to offer new loans and promote economic growth. The various financing initiatives for the SMEs are helpful too. The government should limit what industries can apply so that SMEs that are not affected will not take advantage of the low interest rate and use up the quota.” - Christine Koh, 37, accountant

“All financial aid have been extremely helpful to my family and me but the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat is regarded as timely as the pandemic has slowly taken its toll on all of us. We were not affected early on the pandemic but now we are seeing the effects due to the worsening economy and investments that are affected as well. The aid is used mostly on food, bills, petrol, essential car maintenance and Internet. I am also looking forward to the JENDELA initiative under digital connectivity as I feel connectivity problems should be improved.” - Nur Aishah Abd Hakim, 24, freelancer

“For a fresh graduate like me, finding a job during this challenging time is very hard. I am looking forward to the implementation of the hiring initiative that the government has introduced through the JanaKerja Scheme that would provide over 500,000 job opportunities. Furthermore, the financial assistance through Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) will also help my parents support their small business that they started in June to cope with the economic downturn due to Covid-19.” - Sharelynn Lonza, 24, fresh graduate

"I feel relieved to know that the government has allocated funds for pneumococcal vaccine for children because from what I’ve read, many of these infections can be serious and deadly. As new parents, my husband and I want the best healthcare for our daughter and we will definitely be on board the pneumococcal vaccine programme because vaccination is the first line of defence. As for the RM1,000 tax relief for people to get vaccinated against infectious diseases, this is a good move because as we can see in this current pandemic, health is wealth indeed. ”- Amira Mohammad, 27, executive

"Budget 2021 is a sign that the government is serious about food security and improving the food supply chain in the country. Current demand for food was not the same as 30 years ago where a hectare of land could feed five. Now, a hectare has to feed 20 people. Funds for the farmers would help the farming community affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.” - Cheng Tai Hoe, Yong Peng Vegetable Farmers Association chairman

"The additional tax relief on parents’ medical expenses and treatment helps. My mother is getting older, and in this time of Covid-19, it is an additional relief. We usually go to the public hospitals, so it should be enough to cover the essentials. It is a good move by the government to extend the RM3,000 tax relief on Private Retirement Scheme contributions until 2025.” - Daniel Lee, 31, financial adviser

“The targeted repayment assistance is actually a good tool where a lot of workers are losing jobs and facing salary cuts. People have suffered from the Covid-19 both directly and indirectly, and I believe that the repayment assistance can help many. Compared to the previous blanket moratorium, the assistance can be tailored specifically to the people’s needs.” - Shoban Rau Kistarau, 26, personal financial adviser

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