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Budget 2019: 8 Things That Will Affect the Rakyat's Daily Lives

Updated 05 Nov 2018 – By Nisya Aziz


Budget 2019 announcement surprisingly has a lot of good news! Announced by the Finance Minister, Lim Guang Eng, one of the focus is to guarantee the prosperity of the rakyat. “Sure ah?”, some of you may ask. Well, if you didn’t follow the Budget 2019 announcement, here are the key highlights that you should know as a consumer:
 

1. 30 cent subsidy for RON95 petrol

Starting from the second quarter of 2019, the government will provide targeted subsidies for RON95 petrol worth 30 sen per litre for car owners with engine capacity of 1,500cc or less and motorcycles owners with of 125cc or less.

This subsidy, however, is limited to 100 litres for car owners and 40 litres for motorcycle owners. There's a catch though - the base price won't be fixed anymore and will depend on the market rate, as before. Ouch!

How would it be done though? Is there a button to specify which kind of engine capacity do you use? Do you need to present your vehicle ownership certificate to the guy behind the counter? Whatever it is, we are excited to see how this system is going to be implemented.

2. Increased subsidy for the monthly electricity bill

Currently, all households who consume RM20 or less of electricity are fully paid by the government. That amount will be increased to RM40 or less. Do take note that this benefit only applies to the poor who are registered with the e-Kasih programme. So if you know anyone who is eligible but has yet to register, do pass the word along.

3. CHEAP unlimited train and bus passes

Starting from January 2019, the government will introduce a monthly RM100 unlimited travel pass for all rail services. There will also be a monthly RM50 unlimited pass for RapidKL buses and will be expanded to other companies in stages. For frequent train users, this move could potentially save them up to a hundred ringgit or more every month.

Prasarana is also expected to improve the standards of public transportation in Malaysia. Hopefully, this initiative will help ease our traffic, and also preserve the environment!

4. Cash assistance will be continued for the B40

BR1M is now replaced with BSH (Bantuan Sara Hidup), which is more of the same, really. This is the list of available cash assistance:

  • If your monthly income is below RM2,000, you'll receive a total of RM1,000
  • If your monthly income is between RM2,001 to RM3,000, you'll receive a total of RM750
  • If your monthly income is between RM3,001 to RM4,000, you'll receive a total of RM500
  • Additional RM120 is given to every child, up to four children.

Say your household's income is below RM2,000 and you have four children, the total assistance would be RM1,480. "This amount is higher than the BR1M given by the previous government, which is only RM1,200,” remarked Lim with a smirk.

5. Pangkor Island will be turned into a duty-free zone

All the more reason to travel locally! Not only Pangkor Island will be made duty-free, Langkawi's existing status as a duty-free island will also be expanded. This can help boost the tourism industry in Malaysia and in the long run, improve the country's economy as well.

6. Service tax will be imposed for international online service

Staring 1 January 2019, you’ll need to pay service tax for international online services which include software, music, videos, or any form of digital advertising. For all the Spotify and Netflix subscribers out there, we feel the pain. And if you're a heavy Steam user, you might only want to shop when the summer sale is on.

According to Lim, this tax will help balance the competition between local and international companies.

7. Sugar tax will be introduced

Starting from April 2019, the government will be introducing excise duty at 40 sen per litre on ready-to-drink sugary drinks. So in case you're looking for a new year resolution, cutting down on your beloved Coke and Nutella can be one of it. We know it's hard. But sometimes when you love something, you gotta let them go.

This tax is divided into 2 categories, which is non-alcoholic beverages containing added sugars of more than 5gm per 100ml drink; and for fruit or vegetable juice containing added sugars of more than 12mg per 100ml drink.

8. No more smoking in public areas

We save the best for last, of course. Non-smokers, rejoice! No longer will you have to suffer in silence, no longer will you have the men keeping you down, no longer will you have to inhale the stench of tobacco in your favourite mamak. Viva la revolución!

As for smokers, this is the perfect time for you to start living a healthier life and save money. Fix your habit and save the money into a fixed deposit.

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