PETALING JAYA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled Budget 2017 in Parliament on Friday.

The following are the highlights of the Finance Minister’s Budget speech:

* Budget 2017 allocates RM260.8bil, up 3.4% from 2016 Budget Recalibration.

* Government expects to achieve 3% fiscal deficit in 2017.

 * Only 2.1 million income tax payers out of 14.6 million of country’s total workforce.

* No increase in Goods and Services Tax (GST) for 2017.

* A nation’s economy is highly related to perception, as without confidence there will be no investment to drive economy.

To appreciate the contribution of civil servants, the following was announced:

– To extend the Fully Paid Study Leave with scholarship to the Support Group, which is currently limited to the Management and Professional Group.

– Quarantine leave up to five days without record for public servants whose children are ill and are quarantined.

– Computer loan facility extension for the purchase of smartphones. Public servants can utilise this once every three years, limited to RM5,000.

– An increase to the limit of motorcycle loan facility available for public servants from RM5,000 to RM10,000.

– To increase the civil servant’s housing loans to RM200,000 and RM750,000 from RM120,000 and RM600,000 respectively.

– To complete 30,000 units of Perumahan Penjawat Awam 1Msia at a selling price of between RM90,000 and RM300,000, which is 20% below market price.

– To extend the contract of service and contract for service officers, expiring at the end of this year, for at least one year.

– To address the issues of specialist doctors exiting and promotion delays, Grade 56 introduced between Grade 54 and JUSA C for medical and dental specialists.

– To appoint the first group of doctors, dentists and pharmacists on contract latest by Dec 2016 due to constraint in permanent post. In other words, nearly 2,600 doctors without housemanship will now serve on contract.

For the rakyat’s well-being, the Government remains committed to implement rakyat-centric projects and programs in urban and rural areas, as follows:

– To brighten villages at night, a total of 97,000 street lights and 3,000 LED lights to be installed at crossroads for 7,500 villages nationwide.

– To enhance connectivity of villages, towns and cities, 616km of village roads and bridges will be built and upgraded with an allocation of RM1.2bil.

– To maintain state roads, a total of RM4.6bil is allocated to all states under the Malaysian Road Records Information System.

– To build and refurbish 17,000 units of destitute and dilapidated houses in remote villages and orang asli settlements with an allocation of RM350mil.

– To increase the supply of clean water with an allocation of RM732mil, targeting 5,200 houses and upgrading the Felda water supply system. A water supply fund is to be established immediately with an allocation of RM500mil to address water supply issues throughout the nation.

– To provide electricity supply in rural areas, targeting approximately 10,000 houses with an allocation of RM460 million.

– The Government is concerned about the welfare of urban residences, especially flats. These rundown flats lack maintenance and functioning lifts.

* The Government will implement people-friendly projects with an allocation of RM800mil, with priority given to local G1 & G2 contractors.

* A total of 69 flood mitigation plans will be continued nationwide with an allocation of RM495mil.

* Government to implement MyBeautiful New Home, especially for the B40 group, with an allocation of RM200mil. At the initial stage, a total of 5,000 units will be built with prices ranging from RM40,000 to RM50,000 per unit. The Government will finance RM20,000, while the remaining will be paid as instalments by each owner.

* A total of 9,850 units of houses to be built under the People’s Housing Program with an allocation of RM134mil.

* A total of 11,250 PPR houses are being built with an allocation of RM576mil. The PPR houses are to be sold at between RM35,000 and RM42,000.

To assist in improving the rakyat’s income opportunities, especially the B40 group, RM275mil is allocated for the following:

– Expanding the MySuria Prog nationwide with allocation of RM45mil. Solar panels will be installed in more than 1,600 houses.

– Expanding the Mobileprenuer Programme by Giatmara with an allocation of RM30mil, targeting 3,000 participants using motorcycles.

– Introduction of agropreneur programs to produce 3,000 young entrepreneurs with an allocation of RM100mil.

– Revitalising eUsahawan and eRezeki programmes under MDEC, comprising 300,000 participants with an allocation of RM100mil.

* RM10bil allocated for subsidy, comprising of fuel subsidies including for cooking gas, toll charges, public transport and various incentives.

* To assist paddy farmers, the Government will allocate RM1.3bil to subsidise price, seeds and fertilisers including hill paddy.

* As an incentive to registered rubber smallholders, the Government will allocate RM250mil for rubber production.

* Government to introduce Rainy Season Assistance with an amount of RM250 monthly for three months in November, December and January.

* Monthly cost of living allowance of RM200 to RM300 for fishermen will be continued, benefiting 57,000 fishermen.

BR1M’s assistance for next year, which will benefit 7 million recipients with an allocation of RM6.8bil, will be increased as follows:

– For households in e-Kasih database with monthly income below RM3,000, it will be increased to RM1,200 from RM1,050 and RM1,000.

– For households earning RM3,000 to RM4,000, it will be increased from RM800 to RM900.

– For single individuals earning below RM2,000, it will be increased from RM400 to RM450.

* Bereavement Scheme to be continued with RM1,000 compensation given to the next of kin of BR1M recipients from households and those in the elderly category.

* RM4.6bil allocated for TVET educations. Four TVET intuitions to become polytechnics, another four vocational colleges and one more become a training institute for TVET trainers.

* RM220mil allocated to upgrade educational equipment in TVET institutions, as well as RM360mil for Skills Development Fund Corporation.

* Double tax deduction to be given on expenses incurred by private companies to provide Structured Internship Programmes for students under TVET.

* RM50mil is allocated to extend the SL1M programmes by GLCs to 20,000 graduates in 2017 compared with 15,000 graduates in 2016.

For housing, the following was announced to enhance first home buyers’ affordability:

– To provide government vacant lands at strategic locations to GLCs and PR1MA to build more than 30,000 houses at a selling price or RM150,000 to RM300,000.

– To build around 10,000 houses in urban areas for rental to eligible youths with permanent job including young graduates entering the labour market.

– To build 5,000 units of People’s Friendly Home, with the Government subsidising up to RM20,000 per unit. RM200mil will be allocated to SPNB.