Small Perks For Parents From Budget 2017
We’ve said this many times and we will say it again – being a parent isn’t easy, especially on your wallet.
Raising a child in the Klang Valley comes with a high price tag. Parents can expect to fork out RM30,480.90 with paid childcare in just their child’s first year. This cost is expected to go up over years, reaching its peak at the time when your child is leaving for college.
On average, working parents in Malaysia spend about 55% of their salaries on each child to complete their tertiary education, a survey by the London-based Expert Market found.
So, naturally any financial perk that we can get will help us greatly in providing the best for our children. Here are some goodies announced in Budget 2017 for parents:
1. Breastfeeding Tax Relief
According to a Sinar Harian report in 2012, only 34.2% of babies in Malaysia are breastfed exclusively in their first six months. As a nod to the importance of breastfeeding and also to encourage more mothers to breastfeed their babies, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a new tax relief in Budget 2017.
Mothers can now claim tax relief when they purchase breastfeeding equipment. The relief goes up to RM1,000, and can be claimed once every two years.
2. Early Education Tax Relief
The best time for learning and development in a child is from the time of conception till he or she is eight years old. They learn at rapid pace during these early years.
To acknowledge and encourage this, parents of young children now get to claim tax relief when they enrol their child to registered nurseries and preschools. The child must be 6 years old and below, and the tax relief is up to RM1,000 per year.
3. Boost your child’s college fund with SSPN-i
According to a survey, Malaysia is ranked as the fifth most expensive country to get a university education in relation to household income. Saving for your child’s education must be carefully planned, and one should start saving as soon as possible.
Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) provides a channel for parents to start saving for their children’s higher education through SSPN-i.
The SSPN offers annual dividend returns of 4%, and parents are also given annual tax relief of up to RM6,000, as well as Takaful coverage to all eligible depositors.
In the latest budget, the Government will match grants of up to RM50 for accumulated savings in SSPN-i. This is applicable for students in Year 1 in fully-assisted government schools.
While the grant isn’t much, it functions to encourage Malaysians to use SSPN as it does offer high deposit guaranteed returns plus tax relief. All in all, it’s definitely an account parents should look into investing in.
4. Schooling Assistance Programme
For low income families, putting food on the table to nourish their children can be a problem. The Schooling Assistance Programme catered to students from families earning up to RM3,000 a month can now get RM100 in financial aid.
This is expected to benefit 3.5 million students nationwide.
5. 1Malaysia Supplementary Food Programme
On top of the cash aid from the Schooling Assistance Programme, primary school students will also benefit from 1Malaysia Supplementary Food Programme with an allocation of RM300 million.
6. Parents of disabled children
If raising a child is costly, raising a special needs child can leave a family riddled with debts. Based on our previous article, raising a child with autism can easily cost RM96,700 in a year.
Financial assistance is greatly needed by this group of parents.
This year’s budget, Najib announced a RM150 monthly cash aid for 67,000 special needs students. Students who attend the 21 special education schools will also benefit from new school buses.
7. Hostel Meal Assistance Programme
A survey conducted by student group Muslim Volunteer Malaysia (MVM) found 74% of students had times when they did not have enough money to eat. Parents, academics and university managers were alarmed with the findings.
With RM1.1 billion allocated under Hostel Meal Assistance Programme, 365,000 students are expected to benefit from the allocation.
8. Parents who are civil servants
Every parent’s worst nightmare is when their child falls ill. Understanding their predicament, Najib has announced a quarantine leave for public servants. This leave allows public servants whose children are ill and required to be quarantined to take up to five days of leave without record.
Rising cost of living is especially hard for parents. Hopefully, these benefits are able to alleviate some of their burden.
How helpful are these perks for parents? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, or take our Budget 2017 Satisfaction Survey!