Daily Express Sabah, October 9, 2011
By Mary Chin
KOTA KINABALU: Managing Director of YTL Corporation Berhad, Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh Sock Ping, said he does not see much lacking in the Budget proposals announced by the Prime Minister on Friday.
"I Like the budget. This is a people's budget, especially the poorer section of our people. We are living in a difficult world where inflation is the way of life, which I think just produces much more money and the money gets inflated through higher prices of oil, then higher prices of fertiliser and then higher prices of food," he told Daily Express, Saturday.
He noted that while there is focus on development projects, the well-being of the rakyat was also taken into consideration. On Friday, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that RM13.6 billion would be allocated to the social sector, including education, training, health, welfare, housing and community development.
"Yes, the Government as you can see continues to subsidise on food but we cannot go on like that forever. That's one big thing at least for now to mitigate what's going on in the external factor without which there will be real problems," Dr Yeoh said.
Secondly, he noted the relief for civil servants and pensioners through the introduction of the New Civil Service Remuneration Scheme (SBPA) to replace the current scheme "That's all very good... salary increment and bonus payment."
The PM had announced that with the implementation of SBPA, more than 600,000 government pensioners would benefit from a pension adjustment involving an allocation of RM600 milliion. The third part that Dr Yeoh liked is the provision for an innovative way to do low-cost housing. Najib had said the Government would identify areas in the vicinity of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), light rail transit (LRT) and other public transport system to be developed by 1Malaysia People's Housing (PRIMA) for housing projects.
Very good idea. People who live around there will have easy public transport. Quite clever. We must continue to build affordable houses.
YTL started to build affordable houses where we had three bedrooms, instead of two bedrooms, in walk-up flats. That is important for the family because poorer people have bigger families. "You know one room for the parents and seven kids one room would cause quite a lot of social problems."
We like the Government to continue to focus on providing low-cost houses for a while for the people. That's also very good, he said. Dr Yeoh also welcomed the introduction of tax relief for church contributionns "That will help the churches a bit more on the tithes and offerings. It is an interesting concept."
From the budget, he realised that the Government actually cannot afford and should tax higher, saying "Even the Americans are being taxed higher." He felt that the introduction of value-added tax or consumption tax is important "so that we can widen our tax base and won't continue to subsidise."
We must catch more people who consume so they can contribute more. And then hopefully in that process, with the tax base enlarged, we can then bring down the corporate tax."Right now, we have to play our role to pay our share of taxes at a time like this," he opined. So we like the Government to continue to focus on providing low-cost houses for a while for the people. That's also very good.