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Australia is talking with major airlines and the Singapore government about changing routes this northern winter to avoid an industry crisis if there is another Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the tourism minister said yesterday.
B>FOR THE RAKYAT (Sept 13):/BDatuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad presented a bag of goodies to the rakyat in his last budget as Prime Minister and Finance Minister. However, smokers and drinkers will be hit hard by a 20% hike in import and excise duties on cigarette and tobacco products and 10% on liquor. Among the goodies are road tax exemption for motorcycles of engine capacity less than 150cc; setting up of a village micro-credit scheme, and putting in an additional RM1bil to the micro-credit scheme for small businesses; allowing low-income single mothers to buy low and medium-cost houses from Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd at a 20% discount; and intensive focus on small and medium-sized industries via formation of a high-level council.