Enhancing Health Services

  • Excise duty specific on cigarettes increased by three sen from 15 sen per stick to 18 sen per stick. With this, the duty for a 20-stick pack of cigarettes is now increased by 60 sen.
British American Tobacco Malaysia
"We are not opposed to any increase in taxation but we were hoping that the government would seriously consider the impact that high tax will have on the illicit tobacco trade problem that we are currently facing," managing director Jack Bowles said.

"We were not looking for zero tax increase as we understand the government's need to increase tax revenue for its many projects to help the people especially the poor and underprivileged and for development.

"We were just hoping that it would not be double-digit again to ease volumes pressure due to down trading to illegal cigarettes.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations was, however, disappointed that the tobacco tax increase "is far too low".

"We think that an overall 60 sen increase per packet of 20s would not be a deterring factor for tobacco consumption," said chief executive officer Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman.

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Civil Service

  • A bonus of one-month salary, subject to a minimum of RM1,000 for 2008. The bonus will be paid in two instalments, namely in September and December 2008.

CUEPACS

They felt that the bonus of one month's salary announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday fell short of what the public sector expected.

Cuepacs deputy president Husain Mohd Yasin said civil servants were expecting to receive a bonus of 1 1/2 months' salary.

He added that Cuepacs was disappointed because there was no increase in the cost of living allowance (Cola) or the housing allowance for civil servants.

Husain also said the annual free return airfares between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak only benefited those who were from the two states.

Workers in Peninsular Malaysia, he said, should also be given the same privilege, as they too had homes they wanted to go back to.

On the the extension of housing loans to 30 years, he said the pressing issue was not how long the loan was for, but what kind of interest rates were charged.

"All it means is that we will be paying the same interest rates for a longer period, which doesn't mean all that much to us.


"We hoped for a reduction of at least one per cent on the four per cent interest we are paying now," he added.


Husain said on the whole, the 2009 budget was "a disappointing one".

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today Cuepacs can make an appeal for reconsideration of its demands which were not fulfilled in the budget for 2009 tabled in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The deputy prime minister said the government was unable to meet the demands from all quarters, including Cuepacs’ demand for an increase in housing allowance and an adjustment of the cost-of-living allowance.

“We cannot expect to have all demands fulfilled at every budget. Last year, the government entertained Cuepacs’ demand for a salary increase and provided the largest pay hike ever but there was no bonus payment.

“This year, we have given a one-month bonus. We have to consider our capacity to make the payments. Civil servants also benefit indirectly from the other allocations of the government,” he told reporters after presenting aid to mosques and surau in his Pekan parliamentary constituency in conjunction with the approaching Ramadan fasting month.


Cuepacs president Omar Osman had lamented yesterday that some of the demands of the umbrella body for civil service unions had not been fulfilled in Budget 2009.