If you were born in the era of cord phones and have grown into this era of phones being smarter than you, then you’re probably part of the millennial generation that sees more and more influence in today’s economy.
And judging from Budget 2018, the higher-ups know it.
According to statistics, your monthly income probably ranges from approximately RM1.5k to RM3k and you have a few major decisions to make about your future—especially in regards to housing and starting a family. Your generation is said to “work hard, play hard”, and your top concerns are said to be unfavourable economic conditions, high living costs, GST, weak currency and lack of job opportunities.
If this sounds familiar to you, then buckle up and check out all of these #Bajet2018 things as they may pertain to your specific interests in navigating Malaysia’s economy in 2018.
Najib has paid a lot of lip service to his intention of making Malaysia a more transportation-friendly place, and that comes across in the budget through:
1. Getting rid of tolls in 4 locations:
- Batu Tiga, Selangor
- Sungai Rasau, Selangor
- Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah
- Eastern Dispersal Link, Johor
iMoney estimates that this could save frequent travellers somewhere between RM46.20 to RM346.50, assuming you’ll be travelling 21 days in a month. Seemingly good news for those who travel in and out frequently of the city for work.
2. Continuing development on the transportation circuit in Malaysia.
Quite a few public transportation initiatives are either being envisioned or expedited. The next phase of the nationwide MRT development is expected to be completed by 2025, two years earlier than originally planned. Meanwhile, the expansion of the LRT lines (which connects Bandar Utama to Johan Setia, Klang) will be completed by February 2021.
Furthermore, a project connecting KL to Singapore is set for a 2026 finish, and a Highway from Selangor to Perak is underway.
2018 seems to be a good year for those planning to start a family (or have already started) because:
3. Babies born between 2018-2022 are eligible for the start of a trust fund.
Under the The Amanah Dana Anak Malaysia 2050 (or ADAM), all Malaysian babies born between January 1 2018 to December 31 2022 will be getting a RM200 starting point for a trust fund under Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd. This will be automatically credited into their account after their parents or guardian completes the child’s registration process.
4. Extending maternity leaves.
The budget proposes that the private sector increases maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days so that they are in line with the public sector. This raises the total leave allowed to 360 days.
Somewhat related, public servants who are more than 5 months pregnant can leave work an hour earlier. Their husbands can join them too, provided that they work in the same location.
5. Tax exemption for women returning to the workforce.
Najib proposed that women who are returning to work after a 2-year absence be granted a year-long income tax exemption. This is a part of the Government’s move to declare 2018 as a year of women empowerment.
The budget gives a lot of focus on affordable housing, in a bid to reduce the high cost of living and help youths face what they’re calling the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
6. More affordable housing plans being offered.
So the government pumped in RM2.2 billion into affordable housing plans such as PPR, PR1MA, Rumah Mesra Rakyat and PPA1M. According to iMoney, this means that more units will be available for first time home owners within the next two years.
7. You can talk to these multiple agencies for job hunting advice.
If you’re in the midst of job hunting, the government will be creating a one-stop centre that brings agencies together to give you advice on job seeking and training. The agencies involved include JobsMalaysia, SL1M, SOCSO, Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (TERAJU) in Urban Transformation Centre (UTC).
Civil servants get some extra perks, including:
- A special payment of RM1.5k; RM1k will be given in January of 2018 and the remaining RM500 during Raya Aidilfitri of the same year.
8. Your income tax decreases.
For those earning an annual income between RM20k to RM70k, you’re looking at a 2% decrease for your individual income tax rates. According to the report, this will increase your disposable income between RM300-RM1,000.
9. An increase in loans for small businesses.
Budget 2018 allocates its funds into quite a few initiatives that support small local businesses, including:
- Half a billion ringgit into Tekun, which provides financing facilities for bumiputras to kick-start their businesses.
- RM200 million into Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM), growing their fund to RM2.7 billion. The fund has benefited 400,000 borrowers, of which the budget states to be majority women and good paymasters.
10. No increase in the BR1M allocation.
BR1M allocations in 2018 will remain capped at RM1.2k per household in 2018. This is the first time that this allocation has not increased in seven years, and a total of 7 million recipients are expected to receive a maximum payout of RM1.2k each in 2018.
If you’re a millennial who’s still studying, these are some benefits you can look forward to:
11. PTPTN Borrowers
- If you still have a score to settle with PTPTN, the government has extended the discounted repayments of PTPTN until December 31 2018. You get 20% for full settlement, 15% of outstanding settlement and 10% for direct debit from salary.
- They’re even extending the grace period before you’re required to pay for PTPTN to 12 months after graduating.
- Loans for those furthering their studies can be combined for the first time.
- RM2.2 billion is going into scholarship grants under JPA, Higher Education Ministry and Health Ministry.
- RM90 million will be pumped into the MyBrain Programme for 10,600 people to further their studies at Masters and Doctorate level.
Overall, while there aren’t too many developments that hold millennials at heart during Budget 2018, there are at least schemes and plans that benefit us in some way. Those who are looking to start their families would be pretty well taken care of this time around. The government has also doubled down on the strength of millennials (primarily Bumiputra millennials) into pursuing a small business, which is often touted as the backbone of the economy.
It will be interesting to observe how these proposals will be implemented in the coming year.
Feature Image Credit: EduSpiral Consultant Services