5 Budget Issues to be Brought up by BN MPs

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Umno Youth leader Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has underlined five main issues that will be brought up by Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in the Dewan Rakyat debate on the 2021 budget.

The five issues are:

  • EPF Account 1 withdrawals
  • Loan moratorium
  • Helping the M40 income group
  • Student problems
  • Jasa budget allocation

The 2021 budget was tabled at the Dewan Rakyat on Friday and will be debated by MPs over the next 18 days.

Asyraf said withdrawals from Account 1 of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) should be allowed up to a maximum of RM10,000.

The government has proposed allowing EPF contributors who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic to withdraw up to RM500 a month for 12 months, or a maximum of RM6,000, from their EPF Account 1, which comprises the pension fund portion of EPF savings.

Asyraf said the withdrawals should not be limited to a target group, as withdrawals were made voluntarily.

The larger withdrawal amount of RM10,000 would have a financial impact of about RM40 billion or 4% of the EPF’s total current assets of approximately RM940 billion, he said.

Asyraf said BN MPs would support an automatic extension of the moratorium on bank loans, as this matter had been brought up by the rakyat who have said they were facing economic difficulties because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Party MPs would also speak up in support of assistance to the M40 (middle 40% income group) so they will not be sidelined, he said.

MPs would also raise various issues affecting the 1.3 million university students from both public and private higher learning institutions. This included financial problems involving student accommodation and online teaching and learning.

“An early suggestion by Umno Youth was to provide RM50 a month for 12 months in the form of e-wallet credits for purchasing mobile internet data, bringing back book vouchers and special student cards, and to implement the MyBrain15 programme again, as one of the initiatives to recover and stimulate the economy.”

MyBrain15 is a sponsorship programme for students wishing to pursue their PhD or master’s degree, which was introduced under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Asyraf added that the controversy about the RM85.5 million allocation to re-establish the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) would also be brought up.

Umno leaders have been critical of the move to set up the department, which was shut down in May 2018 after Pakatan Harapan took over. They said the government owes an explanation to the taxpayers. – FMT