Budget 2019 Wishlist: Here’s What Millennials Expect From The New Government

Budget 2019 Wishlist: Here’s What Millennials Expect From The New Government

Pakatan Harapan is set to table its first ever budget; having won the historic elections back in May 2018. Malaysians are currently consumed with anticipation of what the national budget under a new government will hold, and how different it will be from all the previous budgets.

Having said that, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has already warned the people not to get their hopes up as this will be a ‘belt-tightening’ budget, aimed at addressing the national debt that currently stands at RM1 trillion. The minister has made it clear that there will be no handouts or freebies this time around.

We are just as curious to know what people really want from the impending budget announcement. So, we have come up with a Budget 2019 wishlist series where we speak to different groups of people in the weeks leading up to the budget announcement.

This week, we speak to millennials in the Klang Valley to find out what their main concerns are. It comes as little surprise as most of their answers revolve around allocations for affordable housing, public transport, and education.

Sukesh, 28, Blogger

I’m not very financially literate, but here’s my take on the 2019 national budget under Pakatan Harapan. I would like to see more initiatives and affordable schemes for housing to help bring the prices down.

As a non-smoker who is health conscious, I would also like to see a higher tax on cigarettes or some other measures to reduce smoking in Malaysia. Aside from that, tax exemption for those earning below RM5,000 would be very helpful, especially with the rising cost of living.

I would also like to see more support and initiatives to ease the burden of the lower income groups (the B40). Definitely more funding on health care and education. Finally, more allocations to develop grassroots sports program for young and aspiring athletes.

Farooq, 27, sales executive

For the 2019 national budget, I would definitely like to see cheaper homes to rent or buy that are closer to the city centre (Kuala Lumpur).

For those of us who need to constantly travel, perhaps some fuel vouchers to ease our burden. Malaysians pay a lot for petrol and toll.

As someone who uses the computer a lot for both work and personal reasons, I’d like to see wider and faster internet access with areas obligated to have at least three different Internet Service Providers. Also, higher tax exemption for electronic products, including internet and mobile subscriptions – because I’m also a tech junkie.

Darren Teh, musician, age withheld

As a musician, my answers are leaning towards the performing arts scene in Malaysia. I would like to see more grants for international travel. Perhaps the government can allocate at least RM30,000 to RM40,000 to cover flights, accommodation, food and ground travel, so it will be easier for local musicians to perform overseas.

Aside from that, a grant of RM10,000 for music video productions and RM15,000 for album productions will be great. I think this will help push the music scene forward.

It will also be nice to have a more central venue where shows happen all the time. We also need enhancement programmes to educate musicians to improve and equip themselves with the necessary skills – not only for performances, but also for the business side of things.

Thani, diving instructor, age withheld

My wishlist for the Budget 2019 is simple. I would like to see more home ownership regulations and I hope the government can control increasing property prices. I think there should also be more budget allocation for training in the service industry to encourage more tourism in Malaysia.

I’m also all about talent retention. I think we should control the influx of foreign talent coming in and focus on developing our youth who are just as skilled and capable. In addition to that, young adults who are starting out and struggling should also be given tax breaks.

Sandy, 29, dentist

My wish for the 2019 national budget is reduction in individual income tax rates. Apart from that, I’d also like to see the government channel more funding into improving our public transportation system – increase the number of shuttle buses, build more routes for LRT/MRT/KTM so more people can have access to public transport.

More vocational training institutes for Malaysians should be set up with an increase in allowance for the differently abled.

Jen, writer, age withheld

For the Budget 2019, I would actually like the BR1M subsidies to remain. I know that Lim Guan Eng said we should do away with cash handouts, but I think they can be helpful if allocated only to lower income groups.

I’d also like to hear something about more affordable housing schemes. Aside from that, I would like the government to tighten pro-environmental law on corporations to reduce waste and pollution.

Amy, PR executive, age withheld

I know it’s a long stretch, but I would like to see the government come up with a ‘one family one home’ policy – meaning everyone gets to own a house. The houses will be priced according to their means and annual income. A lot of young adults want to buy a house, but the prices are crazy.

Channel funds into training young adults to carry themselves well during job interviews. I think there are a lot of jobs available in the market, but young graduates just don’t know how to sell themselves. They don’t appear confident, and they don’t say the right things.

I would also like the new government to go towards a car-free nation. Traffic in KL is crazy and that wastes a lot of time and causes a lot of stress. Instead of building more highways, increase train routes so EVERYONE has access to public transport and can stop saying things like “There’s no train or bus near my place”.

Yvette, 28, journalist

My biggest wish for the 2019 budget is increased funding for healthcare, because the state of government hospitals is abysmal. Also, more funding for better welfare and easier access to welfare for the impoverished.

I also want to see more funding in education for kids with special needs, especially those from low income families.

As for wishful thinking, I wish more funding could go towards performing arts centres, so they don’t have to rely on donors and sponsors to keep going. For example, the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center (KLPAC), Penang PAC, Georgetown Festival and so on. Right now, it looks like they’re fighting just to stay afloat.

Bala Ganapathi William, 28, TV presenter, actor, film director

Wishlist for budget 2019? Personally, I want to see more support for young artists and filmmakers.

I know that the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) has some grants for filmmakers, but right now there’s too much bureaucracy involved which makes the process difficult.

I would like to see some incentives given out to young filmmakers to encourage them to pursue their craft – especially for filmmakers below 30. That way, we can also get more young people involved and see filmmaking as a viable career path, rather than just a hobby. Filmmakers below 30 are new to the game and they need all the help they can get. I firmly believe there should be increased opportunities for local artistes as well as local production companies. The youth are the future of the country, and the government should prioritise and invest in them.

Are you a millennial in Malaysia? Does your 2019 budget wishlist echo the sentiments of young Malaysians above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The 2019 national budget announcement will take place on November 2 2018.

Watch our discussion with a panel of experts on Budget 2019 below.

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