(FULL TEXT) Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 2018 Budget speech

The following is the full text of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2018 Budget speech in Parliament on Oct 27, 2017

THE 2018 BUDGET SPEECH

By YAB DATO’ SRI MOHD NAJIB TUN HAJI ABDUL RAZAK

PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE

INTRODUCING THE SUPPLY BILL (2018) IN DEWAN RAKYAT

FRIDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2017

“PROSPERING AN INCLUSIVE ECONOMY, BALANCING BETWEEN WORLDLY AND HEREAFTER,

FOR THE WELLBEING OF RAKYAT, TOWARDS THE TN50 ASPIRATION”

Mr. Speaker Sir,

I beg to move the Bill intituled “An Act to apply a sum from the Consolidated Fund for the service of the year 2018 and to appropriate that sum for the service of that year” be read a second time.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

INTRODUCTION

1. There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Send your blessings to our Prophet Muhammad SAW, and salute him with all respect.

2. Greetings, Salam Negaraku and Salam 1Malaysia to Mr. Speaker Sir, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen and all Malaysians from Northern Perlis to Tanjung Piai in the South as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

3. Many may have predicted that the 2017 Budget was an Election Budget.

4. This is expected as there were many initiatives and allocations announced for the rakyat and in the interest of the nation. However, their predictions were untrue.

5. Last week, our Indian friends celebrated the Festival of Lights or Deepavali. We wish Happy Deepavali to all. As Friday being an important day for Muslims, let’s celebrate together.

6. As such, I would call upon the rakyat to rejoice in receiving the gifts, rewards and incentives, which will be presented in this Budget, subject to a condition. And the condition is that you follow through this presentation from the beginning to the end.

7. I am standing here, on this day, 27 October 2017 or 7 Safar 1439 Hijri, to bring good and happy news, which will put smiles on every face.

8. This good news is for all beloved Malaysians to enjoy, regardless of race and background.

9. It is clear that every segment of society will reap the benefits from this Budget.

10. Hence, on behalf of the Government, let us first immerse and analyse on what I am about to present. Otherwise, you will miss the good news.

11. In building a civilised nation, we should always be gracious, forgive and forget.

ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND CHALLENGES

12. First, let us be grateful to Allah SWT for the continued positive expansion of our economy.

13. During the first half of 2017, the economy recorded a sterling growth of 5.7%.

14. Therefore, we should not fall for lies and non-stop propaganda on social media by irresponsible parties, stating that the World Bank has issued negative reports on the nation’s economy.

15. In fact, the World Bank has revised their forecasts on the East Asia and Pacific region.

16. The World Bank has revised upwards Malaysia’s GDP forecast from 4.9% to 5.2% for 2017 and commended the country’s economic performance for its laudable policies.

17. In addition, the Government forecasts the Malaysian economy to record an annual growth between 5.2% and 5.7% in 2017, higher than the March estimates ranging between 4.3% and 4.8%.

18. For the past eight years, amid economic challenges, Malaysia has made significant development in two important aspects:

First: Strengthening and deepening diplomatic and trade relations with the world’s largest economic powers such as China, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Furthermore, private investment has increased significantly to more than RM211 billion compared with RM81 billion in 2009.

Second: Since 2009, the country has been facing various external challenges such as plummeting global crude oil prices and international geopolitical tensions. Notwithstanding these uncertainties, we remain steadfast in managing country’s finances, practising efficient governance and prudent fiscal discipline.

With systematic and organised plans and strategies, and initiatives, the nation’s fiscal deficit is estimated to be reduced to 3% of GDP in 2017 from 6.7% in 2009. We are confident that it will be further improved to 2.8% in 2018.

As a result, three prestigious international credit rating agencies have maintained their ratings on Malaysia as ‘A-’ with a stable prospect.

19. Let us all work hard to ensure fruitful outcomes.

20. Most importantly, amid various external headwinds, we should maintain our strong economic growth momentum and dynamism.

21. Hence, the Government introduced several transformation programmes under the National Transformation Policy (NTP) in 2009. The policy emphasises on quality and efficiency of the public service delivery system, particularly in stimulating economic growth.

22. The NTP also encompasses the New Economic Model which is in line with both the 10 Malaysia Plan (10MP) and 11 Malaysia Plan (11MP).

23. Since 2009, economic initiatives have been the main focus of the Government, followed by other programmes, according to its importance, including the Political Transformation Programme.

24. Hence, all the initiatives implemented by the Government for the past eight years have been successful. These include:

First: About 2.26 million jobs were created, which is 69% of the 3.3 million job opportunities targeted by 2020;

Second: In August, exports peaked to one of its highest levels, exceeding RM80 billion and recorded a double-digit growth; and

Third: Currently, the international reserves amounted to USD101.4 billion or RM428.7 billion, which is sufficient to finance 7.5 months of retained imports compared with USD21.7 billion or RM59.1 billion during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.

25. In addition, the 2016 Report of Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey has highlighted our achievements, which include:

First: Income per capita has increased from RM27,819 in 2010 to RM40,713 in 2017 and is expected to increase further to RM42,777 in 2018;

Second: Monthly median income has also increased from RM4,585 in 2014 to RM5,288 in 2016;

Third: For the B40 household income, the monthly median income has increased from RM2,629 to RM3,000 between 2014 and 2016; and

Fourth: Household income distribution in Malaysia has improved with the Gini coefficient reduced from 0.441 in 2009 to 0.399 in 2016, the lowest in the history of Malaysia. This reflects narrowing income gap as the country progresses towards a more equal distribution.

2018 BUDGET ALLOCATION

26. In the interest and prosperity of the rakyat, the 2018 Budget will allocate a sum of RM280.25 billion, an increase in allocation as compared with RM260.8 billion in the 2017 Budget.

27. Of which, RM234.25 billion is allocated for Operating Expenditure (OE), while RM46 billion for Development Expenditure (DE). This allocation does not include Contingencies which amounts to RM2 billion.

28. Under the OE, a total of RM79.15 billion is for Emolument and RM33.62 billion for Supplies and Services.

29. Meanwhile, a sum of RM119.82 billion is allocated for Fixed Charges and Grants. A sum of RM1.08 billion is allocated for Other Expenditures, while RM577 million for the Purchase of Assets.

30. Under the DE, the economic sector will receive the highest share of RM26.34 billion. The social sector is allocated a sum of RM11.72 billion. Meanwhile, the security sector will be allocated a sum of RM5.22 billion and the general administration RM2.72 billion.

31. For 2018, the Federal Government’s revenue collection is expected to record RM239.86 billion.

32. Of significance, the Government is committed to implement fiscal consolidation measures and to ensure that the Government’s financial position continues to be resilient, and debt level remains low in the medium- and long-terms.

33. This Budget is most vital as it summarises all the initiatives that has spurred the economy since I took office in 2009.

34. Indeed, it is one of my main report cards to the rakyat and the Government under my leadership during my two-term administration.

35. Hence, this document will chart the course in building a Malaysian Nation for the next 30 years crafted on a new canvas based on SHARIAH REQUIREMENT FRAMEWORK.

36. Since we declared Independence, we have been fortunate as our forefathers have governed and administered this country embedded with shariah requirements. This framework emphasises on five aspects, namely religion, life, intellectual, lineage and wealth in each of Government’s plan and policy.

37. This was clearly mentioned in Surah al-Mumtahanah verse 12, of the importance to provide basic necessities for the rakyat (Dho’ruriyat).

38. Meanwhile, through interpretation of Surah al-Hajj and Hadith Riwayat Ahmad, Haajiyat refers to matters relating to easing the burden of the rakyat and providing a comfortable life. Third, Tahsiniyat means luxurious needs.

39. Therefore, for the past six decades, all Barisan Nasional’s efforts have been inspired by Allah SWT to ensure that leaders are guided by the shariah requirement framework.

This framework is further solidified with Federal Constitution; Rukunegara; 1Malaysia People’s

First, Performance Now philosophy; and the latest TN50 aspiration.

These reflect the continuity of Government’s administration, practising moderation and rejecting extremism.

40. Hence, the alternating leadership of this Party has structured its entire policies and strategies based on the shariah requirement framework.

41. While this framework has not been written in any Government documents, but its practices are reflected in all inter-related national philosophies and policies.

42. In a nutshell, the shariah requirement framework adopted by the Government is targeted to benefit the rakyat as a whole, taking into account of Government’s capabilities, following the three priorities namely Dho’ruriyat, Haajiyat and Tahsiniyat.

43. It is then proven that the Barisan Nasional Government has the wisdom and experiences of 60 years, which are fundamental in developing and building a proud nation state.

44. Therefore, based on these principles and philosophies, and with the blessings of Allah, I present you the 2018 Budget.

45. The 2018 Budget was formulated in line with the 11MP and this is the third Budget under the Plan. In order to ensure the nation’s wealth and prosperity to be enjoyed equitably and inclusively through strong economic growth and competitiveness, this Budget with the theme “PROSPERING AN INCLUSIVE ECONOMY, BALANCING BETWEEN WORLDLY AND HEREAFTER, FOR THE WELLBEING OF RAKYAT, TOWARDS TN50 ASPIRATION” is based on Eight Main Thrusts.

FIRST THRUST: INVIGORATING INVESTMENT, TRADE, AND INDUSTRIES

46. Total investment in the country is expected to increase by 6.7%, accounting for 25.5% of GDP in 2018.

47. In this regard, the Government will continue to emphasise on high-impact investment, focusing on industries related to petroleum, logistics, aerospace, rail, robotics and automation, and export-oriented industries.

48. Private investment has continued to outpace public investment with a ratio of 70:30. Private investment is estimated to reach RM260 billion in 2018 compared with only RM81 billion in 2009.

49. Meanwhile, public investment is estimated to record RM109 billion compared with RM75 billion in 2009. In this in line with the objective of Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) to propel the private sector as engine of growth.

50. This includes a sum of RM1 billion allocated for the Five Main Corridors. The Government will develop the South Perak Region comprising Proton City, Educity and Youth City in Tanjung Malim as well as Bukit Kayu Hitam Duty-Free Zone; construction of port and industrial park in Tok Bali, Kelantan; and access road to Baleh Dam, Sarawak.

51. At the same time, in order to place Malaysia as a preferred investment destination, the Principal Hub tax incentive will be extended until 31 December 2020. The Government will allocate RM200 million to the high-impact strategic fund under MIDA.

52. Malaysia is committed to economic information sharing introduced by the OECD. These include implementation of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Plan of Action as well as the Automatic Exchange of Information commencing September 2018.

Enhance Small and Medium Enterprises

53. Malaysia will progress further through inclusive participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Currently, we have Jeruk Pak Ali, Sydney Cake House, Satay Haji Samuri and Telekung Siti Khadijah which have established their brands, with some having presence in international markets.

54. We welcome them to Parliament and congratulate them for their hard work and achievements.

55. It is targeted that SMEs will contribute 41% of GDP by 2020, through the following measures:

First: A total of RM7 billion is allocated under the Skim Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP), of which, RM5 billion for working capital and RM2 billion with 70% guaranteed by the Government for services sector, including Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0);

Second: An unprecedented amount of RM1 billion is provided as loans to companies with 70% guaranteed by the Government. These loans are provided under SJPP to enable SMEs to automate production processes and reduce employment of foreign workers;

Third: An additional RM1 billion is provided to the Shariah-compliant SME Financing Scheme, increasing the fund size to RM2.5 billion. A subsidy of 2% will be provided on profit earned to ease the costs of financing;

Fourth: A sum of RM200 million is allocated to SMEs for training programmes, grants, and soft loans under the SME Corp; and

Fifth: About RM82 million is allocated for the development of halal industries and products under various agencies.

Micro Financing

56. The Government also includes micro entrepreneurs such as the popular coconut shake seller in Klebang, Melaka in this Budget.

57. For this purpose, the Government provides the highest allocation to TEKUN, amounting to half a billion ringgit.

58. In addition, to appreciate Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia’s (AIM) borrowers of which the majority are women and good paymasters, the Government will allocate an additional RM200 million to the fund. With this, total fund size will be RM2.7 billion, benefitting nearly 400,000 borrowers.

59. One success story is on Kak Wan Azizah Wan Salleh who started her business in 1993 with a loan of RM500 from AIM became a successful millionaire in poultry farming.

Accelerating Exports

61. The country’s exports will be further accelerated by focusing on high-impact export sectors, through the following measures:

First: A sum of RM150 million is provided to MATRADE, MIDA and SME Corp to implement promotional programmes, and expand export markets including Market Development Grant;

Second: A sum of RM1 billion is provided by EXIM Bank for insurance coverage credit facilities and RM200 million for credit financing facilities to SME exporters; and

Third: A sum of RM100 million is provided as loan with 70% guaranteed by the Government to automate production of local furniture for exports.

Boosting Agricultural Sector

62. The Government cares for paddy farmers, farmers, smallholders, fishermen and others in the agriculture sector.

63. As such, for the first time in the history of the nation’s Budget, a large allocation of RM6.5 billion is provided to assist farmers, fishermen, smallholders and rubber tappers. Among the various programmes to be implemented are:

First: A sum of RM2.3 billion is allocated to provide assistance and incentive such as fertilisers and input to paddy farmers, rubber smallholders and fishermen;

Second: About RM500 million is allocated to improve irrigation infrastructure and upgrade plantation roads;

Third: About RM200 million is allocated for rubber replanting programme and provide infrastructure to increase production of latex instead of cup lump as this will raise the income of smallholders;

Fourth: About RM140 million is allocated to developing and replanting of oil palm as well as enhance marketing programmes;

Fifth: A sum of RM200 million is allocated for the agricultural programme as new sources of income, particularly the development of dairy industry through the establishment of Lembaga Tenusu dan Ruminan. Others include the development of corn, coconut, durian and culinary industry. For example, in Hong Kong it is said that the price of a Mawsang King durian is sold at RM800.

Sixth: For the first time, a special scheme will be implemented to increase the production of coconuts through replanting of new varieties, namely CARECA and MATAG. This scheme will be implemented with an allocation of RM50 million, benefitting 10,000 smallholders.

Meanwhile, the management of coconut, pineapple and fruits industries will be placed under one Board; and

Seventh: For the first time, I would like to announce a monthly assistance of RM200 for three months to paddy farmers while waiting for the harvest season with an allocation of about RM150 million.

Boosting Tourism Industry

64. The tourism sector is one of the key sources of income to the nation’s economy.

65. According to the World Tourism Organisation Report, in 2016 Malaysia was ranked at 12th position in terms of tourist arrivals.

66. It is estimated that there will be 28 million tourist arrivals in 2018. As such:

First: I am pleased to announce that 2020 is declared as the Visit Malaysia Year. In 2020, Malaysia will also host series of international meetings, namely APEC, WCIT and CHOGM;

Second: A sum of RM2 billion is allocated to SME Tourism Fund to provide soft loans to tour operators with an interest subsidy of 2%;

Third: An additional RM1 billion is provided to the Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund as soft loans;

Fourth: A sum of RM500 million is provided to develop and promote tourism through upgrading infrastructure facilities as well as promoting homestay and eco-tourism programmes;

Fifth: Expand eVisa regional hub by facilitating visa application worldwide, especially for expatriates, foreign students, and Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H);

Sixth: Extend tax incentive for investment in new 4-and 5-star hotels until 31 December 2020; and

Seventh: Extend tax incentive for tour operators to year of assessment 2020.

67. The health-tourism industry will be strengthened as one of the country’s sources of income. This includes providing end-to-end service for medical tourists coming to Malaysia.

68. In this respect, the Government is allocating RM30 million to Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) to implement the following initiatives:

First: Promote Malaysia as the Asian Hub for Fertility Treatment, including IVF and Cardiology. The eVisa facility will be extended to cover other specialised medical services and high-value healthcare packages;

Second: Introduce Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme, which offers special incentive to private hospitals to attract medical tourists;

Third: Extend the investment tax allowance (ITA) of 100% for medical tourism until 31 December 2020;

Fourth: Provide double tax deduction on expenses incurred in obtaining certification from healthcare services accreditation bodies for dental and ambulatory services registered with MHTC; and

Fifth: Increase the special tourism healthcare incentive from 50% to 100% of the incremental value of exports, for private healthcare services, beginning year of assessment 2018 to 2020.

Driving Logistics Sector

69. In order to ensure a more balanced economic spillover between urban and rural areas, the Government will improve logistics and transport infrastructure, through these measures:

First: East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) Project which connects Port Klang to Pengkalan Kubor, Kelantan has the capacity to transport cargo and passengers within four hours. The construction work of this project will begin in January 2018; A sum of RM110 million is also allocated to provide an alternative road to Port Klang to smoothen and complement the transportation network;

Second: MRT2 Line from Sungai Buloh – Serdang – Putrajaya Project, spanning 52 kilometres, covering 37 stations with an estimated construction cost of RM32 billion.

Meanwhile, the Government will expedite the construction of MRT3 or Circle Line to be completed by 2025, earlier than the initial target in 2027.

Furthermore, the construction of LRT3 project which will connect Bandar Utama to Johan Setia, Klang is expected to be completed by February 2021.

Third: High Speed Rail Project connects Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with a distance of 350 kilometres in 90 minutes, is expected to benefit rakyat by 2026;

Fourth: West Coast Highway from Banting, Selangor to Taiping, Perak is under construction with an estimated cost of RM5 billion.

Fifth: For the Central Spine Road, a sum of RM230 million is allocated in 2018 to continue the construction work, among others, road from Raub to Bentong and Gua Musang, Kelantan to Kampung Relong, Pahang;

Sixth: Declare Pulau Pangkor in Perak as Duty-Free Island. However, the duty-free status excludes products such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco and motor vehicles; and

Seventh: To stimulate the economic growth in the northern area, a Special Border Economic Zone in Bukit Kayu Hitam will be developed.

This development includes Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) which will be a new attraction for both domestic and foreign investors.

70. Furthermore, the Government will take a holistic approach to meet the basic needs of the rakyat by providing efficient and safe public transportation system through the following measures:

First: A sum of RM3 billion is allocated to Transportation Development Fund to procure vessels as well as develop aerospace technology industry and rail;

A sum of RM1 billion is also allocated to Public Transportation Fund for working capital and procurement of assets such as buses and taxis;

Second: A sum of RM95 million is allocated to upgrade and construct jetties as well as dredge river estuaries;

Third: Following many express bus accidents, a sum of RM45 million is allocated to develop a biometric control system to monitor the bus drivers; and

Fourth: A sum of RM55 million is provided to subsidise train services in rural areas, from Tumpat to Gua Musang;

71. The Government will implement various initiatives to safeguard the welfare of rakyat irrespective of political differences and geographical locations to enhance economic growth.

First: Upgrade Pulau Pinang International Airport and Langkawi International Airport;

Second: Construction of a new airport in Mukah as well as expansion of airports in Kota Bharu and Sandakan;

Third: A study is being undertaken by the Government on a new airport in Pulau Tioman; and

Fourth: To stimulate development in Labuan, the Government will conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a bridge connecting Labuan with the mainland in Sabah.

Strengthening Financial Market

72. Malaysia is renowned as the leader in Islamic finance. As such, to strengthen Malaysia’s position as a comprehensive and competitive financial centre, the Government will continue with the following measures:

First: A sum of RM1.5 billion is allocated under SJPP, using intellectual property as an instrument of financial collateral with up to 80% financing guarantee; and

Second: Provide tax exemption on stamp duties imposed on contract notes for sales and purchase transactions of Exchange-Traded Fund and Structured Warrants for 3 years, effective January 2018.

73. To stimulate capital market and provide access to investment, the Alternative Trading System will be introduced subject to compliance to all requirements and regulatory standards. This will enable efficient and significant transactions.

74. The Government understands the constraints of small companies such as start-ups in obtaining financing to expand their market.

75. Therefore, the Government encourages venture capital activities through the following measures:

First: A sum of RM1 billion is provided by major institutional investors for investment in venture capital in main selected sectors, coordinated by Securities Commission (SC);

Second: Expand income tax exemption to include management and performance fees received by venture capital management company, effective from year of assessment 2018 to 2022;

Third: To facilitate venture capital companies to invest in venture companies, it is proposed that the minimum investment in venture companies be reduced from 70% to 50%, effective year of assessment 2018 to 2022;

Fourth: Companies or individuals investing in venture capital companies is provided tax deduction equivalent to the amount of the investment made in the venture companies, limited to a maximum of RM20 million annually; and

Fifth: Extend the income tax exemption incentive equivalent to the amount of investment made by an angel investor in venture companies to 31 December 2020.

76. The Government will continue to invigorate the sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) through the following measures:

First: Income tax exemption for recipients of the special Green SRI Sukuk grant totalling RM6 million; and

Second: Income tax exemption on income from management fee to be expanded to approved conventional SRI fund managers from year of assessment 2018 to 2020.

77. The Government will promote a cashless society economy through effective employment of foreign workers. Beginning 2018, Bank Negara Malaysia will monitor salary payment through local bank accounts for foreign workers, excluding domestic helpers.

SECOND THRUST: TOWARDS TN50 ASPIRATION

78. The 2050 National Transformation (TN50) was announced in the 2017 Budget. TN50 will

chart a proud nation state, to be in the top 20 countries in the world.

79. Using the bottom-up approach, I have held series of TN50 engagements and dialogues with various segments of society such as youth, graduates, civil servants, artists, educators and private sector to obtain aspirations, views and ideas.

To date, more than 80,000 aspirations have been received, involving 1.8 million rakyat representing various segments of society nationwide.

Childcare and People with Disabilities Welfare Centres

80. Moving towards TN50, in achieving work and life balance, the local authorities are required to ensure that childcare facilities are provided in all new office buildings, starting with Kuala Lumpur.

81. In addition, the TN50 vision emphasises the aspects of safeguarding all groups, including the welfare of People with Disabilities (PWDs).

Hence, additional tax deductions are extended to cover employers hiring workers affected by accidents or critical illnesses and certified by Social Security Organisation’s (SOCSO) Medical Board that they are still fit to work.

Inculcating the Culture of Savings in TN50 Generation

82. In order to ensure the bright future of the TN50 generation, the Government together with Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) has agreed that every Malaysian baby born from 1 January 2018 to 2022, be provided with an Initial Savings Fund of RM200 through PNB’s Unit Trust Scheme.

83. This new scheme will be named as Amanah Dana Anak Malaysia or ADAM50.

Education for TN50 Generation

84. With regard to education for TN50 generation, a total of RM250 million is allocated for the following:

First: Set up a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centre to develop the latest learning methods to train STEM specialist teachers utilising existing facilities at teachers training institute in collaboration with Academy of Science Malaysia;

Second: Enhance Computer Science module including Coding programme in primary and secondary school curriculums, which exist in Form One and Form Three;

Third: Allocate a sum of RM190 million to upgrade 2,000 classes into a 21st Century Smart Classrooms in order to enhance creative-based learning and innovative thinking;

Fourth: Towards TN50, the Government acknowledges the role of artists to increase the quality of culture to a higher level. For this, a sum of RM20 million is allocated to Cultural Economy Development Agency.

85. I am proud with our recent achievements in higher education, which include:

First: According to 2017/2018 QS University Ranking Report, five local Research Universities improved their ranking and are among the top 300 best universities in the world, which is top 1% in the world;

Second: In fact, University of Malaya’s ranking has improved by 19 places to 114, nearing 100 best universities in the world;

Third: In terms of world’s higher education system, Universitas 21 ranked Malaysia as 25th best in the world, improving by 11 positions over the past six years; and

Fourth: With 134,000 foreign students in local higher learning institutions, we are nearing the target of achieving as the Regional Higher Education Hub.

86. Since 2009, the cumulative scholarship provided by the Government amounts to RM44 billion. For 2018:

First: A sum of RM2.2 billion is allocated for scholarships provided by Public Service Department, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Health;

Second: A sum of RM400 million for research and development grants is provided to Public Higher Learning Institutions (IPTA), compared with RM235 million allocated in the previous Budgets, including a special allocation for University of Malaya to achieve the status of Top 100 Universities in the World in the near future; and

Third: A sum of RM90 million is allocated for MyBrain Programme for 10,600 individuals to further their studies in Masters and PhD; and

Fourth: Students in Higher Learning Institutions (HLI) and Form Six will be provided with Book Voucher Assistance of RM250 each, benefitting 1.2 million students.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the new line of leadership of the Student Representative Council at all Public Universities. With a majority of them undergraduates from the Pro-Aspirasi group.

Talent and Careers of TN50

87. Malaysians need to be ready, alert and swift through training and retraining in meeting the job market requirements. To address this issue, the Government will continue…

88. For example, SL1M Apprenticeship Programme which have trained 138,000 graduates will be continued with an additional 5,000 graduates to total 25, 000 graduates next year. Meanwhile, open interview programme by the SL1M Unit in EPU will be continued with an allocation of RM40 million.

89. To expand SL1M, private companies awarded with Government contracts are mandated to allocate 1% of their total project value to SL1M.

90. In addition, the Government will create a one-stop centre incorporating agencies such as JobsMalaysia, SL1M, SOCSO, Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (TERAJU) in Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) to provide professional advisory services in seeking employment and training.

91. To identify best talents, the Government will create a ‘talent file’ programme National Leaders Circle under the TalentCorp. This programme will identify and shortlist suitable and credible candidates to fill critical and senior posts.

92. The Government is very concerned on the social ills in the society. To address this, a matching grant of RM50 million will be provided to social enterprises and NGOs to resolve daily social issues and challenges in innovative ways.

Sports Development

93. Last August and September, Malaysia was declared as the Overall Champion at the 29th SEA Games and ranked second in the 9th ASEAN Para Games.

94. Hence, on behalf of the Government, let’s give the most roaring applause to all our heroes and heroines.

95. To continue the momentum towards becoming sports powerhouse, the Government allocates RM1 billion to implement various initiatives including FitMalaysia, National Sports Day, training for athletes, grassroots programme and national football development programme.

96. The Government also announces to build 14 new sports complexes nationwide with a cost of RM112 million.

97. In addition, the Government allocates RM20 million to Bukit Jalil Sports School to upgrade its facilities as the premier sports school.

THIRD THRUST: EMPOWERING EDUCATION, SKILLS AND TRAININGS, AND TALENT DEVELOPMENT.

98. On average, the Malaysian education expenditure is doubled from the amount of other ASEAN countries. For 2018, a sum of RM61.6 billion is provided for this sector.

Of which, RM654 million is allocated for construction of four pre-schools, nine PERMATA centres, including two new centres for autistic children; 48 primary, secondary schools and vocational colleges as well as one matriculation centre.

Upgrading and Maintaining Schools

99. Every year, priority is given to the Special Fund for School Upgrading and Maintenance. A total of RM550 million is allocated for this purpose, including:

• National Schools – RM250 million;

• National-type Chinese Schools – RM50 million;

• National-type Tamil Schools – RM50 million;

• Missionary Schools – RM50 million;

• Boarding Schools – RM50 million;

• MARA Junior Science Colleges – RM50 million; and

• Government-aided Religious Schools – RM50 million.

100. The Government realises there are 2,000 dilapidated schools nationwide that needs upgrading and refurbishing.

101. For these repair works through Industrial Building System, the Government provides the largest allocation of RM2.5 billion for a period of two years, of which RM500 million to schools in Peninsular Malaysia, RM1 billion in Sabah and RM1 billion in Sarawak.

Schooling Assistance

102. A total of RM2.9 billion is also allocated for food assistance, textbooks, per capita grants and Federal Scholarships for schools.

103. Meanwhile, Schooling Assistance worth RM100 per student from the low-income household will be continued with an allocation of RM328 million, benefitting 3.2 million students.

104. The Government recognises the role of teachers in strengthening the education and moulding the future generation.

105. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all teachers nationwide who have strived in building our future generation.

Higher Education Funding

106. As we are aware, the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) was established to manage funding for Malaysian students pursuing tertiary education.

107. Concerning PTPTN, we need to understand as stated in hadith, debt remains as debt and must be paid.

108. The borrowers of PTPTN loans must be responsible to pay back in order for future generation to continue to borrow.

109. To all PTPTN borrowers, the Government agrees to extend the discount for repayment of PTPTN loans until 31 December 2018 as follows:

20% on the outstanding debt for full settlement;

10% for repayment of at least 50% on the outstanding debt made in a single payment; and

10% for repayment through salary deductions or scheduled direct debit.

110. In addition, I would like to announce additional flexibility for PTPTN loans as follows:

First: For students from B40 households undergoing highly marketable courses, an additional RM200 million is provided to increase the maximum loan amount; and

Second: The grace period for loan repayment is extended to 12 months upon completion of study compared with six months currently.

111. In addition, for borrowers intending to pursue their studies to a higher level, for example from diploma to undergraduate, they may combine both loans into a single loan and to repay upon completion of their studies.

112. Clearly, the Government has provided various means to assist students in repaying their loans.

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