Enhancing The Welfare Of Employees
  • Travel allowance for commuting to work provided by employers be given full tax deduction, while the employees receiving such an allowance be given tax exemption of up to RM2,400 per year.
  • Tax exemption be given to employees on:
Interest subsidies on housing, motor vehicles and education loans. The tax exemption will be limited to total loans up to RM300,000;

Mobile phones, as well as telephone and internet bills paid by the employer;

Staff discounts of up to RM1,000 a year on company traded goods;

Staff discounts on services rendered by the company, such as private schools providing free education to children of their employees; and

Childcare allowance of up to RM2,400 per year.
  • Tax exemption on medical benefits provided by employers to include expenses on maternity and traditional medicine, namely acupuncture and ayurvedic.
  • Effective Jan 1 2009, civil servants with a monthly household income of RM3,000 eligible for a subsidy of RM180 per month.
####################

Improving Public Transportation

  • A sum of RM35bil will be expended during the period 2009 to 2014 to improve public transportation.
  • The existing LRT system in the Klang Valley will be extended by 30km, that is 15km respectively, for Kelana Jaya and Ampang lines. Upon completion in 2011, the extensions are expected to benefit 2.6 million residents in the Subang Jaya-USJ and Kinrara-Puchong areas, compared with 1.9 million currently.
  • A new LRT line will be built along a 42km route from Kota Damansara to Cheras; to be completed in 2014.
  • The commuter rail services of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) will be upgraded. Rehabilitation works are being undertaken on the existing 20 Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) and are expected to be completed in 2009. An additional 13 new units of EMUs will be acquired and be operational by 2011.
  • To reduce the operating costs of public transport operators:
government will provide a soft loan facility of RM3bil under the Public Transportation Fund, administered by Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad (BPMB), to finance the acquisition of buses and rail assets; and
reduce toll charges by 50% for all buses, except at border entry points, namely Johor Causeway, Second Link and Bukit Kayu Hitam, for a period of two years, effective Sept 15 2008.
  • Road tax will also be reduce to RM20 a year for all bus, taxi, car rental and limousine operators.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Dr Mahathir said: "The prime minister has taken a ride on the commuter train and the LRT. I suppose he knows what the position is like."

The former prime minister said he used to take the train ride for fun and could find a seat then, but now he could not get one because there were too many people using it. This happened even before the fuel price hike.


He was speaking after launching a pre-Ramadan blood donation campaign, jointly organised by Pusat Darah Negara, Mara Junior College Alumni, Aeon Co (M) Bhd, and Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd at a shopping mall in Bukit Tinggi here.

##################

Food Security

  • Sum of RM5.6bil is provided under the National Food Security Policy, for the period 2008 to 2010. This allocation is to provide incentives to agriculture entrepreneurs to reduce production costs and encourage higher agriculture output.
  • RM300mil allocated to increase fish landings. Of this, RM180mil is in the form of cost of living allowance to fishermen and fishing boat owners, as well as RM120mil as incentive for fish landings.
  • RM1bil allocation as incentives for 220,000 padi farmers throughout the country to increase padi production.
The Muda Agriculture Development Authority (MADA) Farmers Organisation Area which represents some 70,000 padi farmers has promised to increase padi production.

Coordinating chairman Ahmad Radin said this when commenting on the 2009 budget tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi which abolished import duty on fertilisers and pesticides.

He said the move would help farmers increase padi production and quality as it would save them planting cost as they could buy fertilisers and pesticides at affordable prices.

“Quality fertilisers and pesticides will be translated into quality padi,” he told Bernama here today.

Ahmad said the padi farmers were thankful to the government for easing their burden as the price of fertilisers and pesticides had doubled.
Abdullah said some RM475 million had been allocated to provide padi farmers with fertilisers and pesticides.