‘Not an easy budget to formulate’
KUALA LUMPUR: Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani says Budget 2017 was not an easy budget to formulate due to the challenging economic times globally,
He said the budget was drafted based on the Brent crude oil price assumption of US$45 per barrel, which is a realistic figure amidst the tentative recovery in global oil prices.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said there is an increase of about 13% to the budget for his ministry this year, much of which would go towards the upgrading of railway lines and purchase of new car sets.
“We want to improve our services, especially our doubletrack Express Train Service from KL to Padang Besar. That is an important stretch and we don’t have enough car sets,” he said.
Liow, who is also MCA president, said the ministry wants to see improvements to the ports and logistic sector.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the government will appoint 2,600 medical, dental and pharmacy graduates to serve in the government sector on a contractual basis from December.
He said the government decided on the contract system to solve graduates’ woes of waiting too long for placements.
“We will suggest that doctors work for the government for at least four years while dentists and pharmacists can work for up to three years under the contract,” said the MIC president.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said he appreciated the government’s RM132 million allocation for preschools, including 50 Tamil ones. He also commended the RM600 million allocated for school maintenance.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim was pleased that an allocation for free cancer screening had been included for the first time in the budget.
She said the allocation would help women tackle breast and cervical cancer.
“Since we have the mobile clinic which is available through the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN), it can be used for those living deep in the rural areas too,” she said.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was delighted that an allowance for rubber tappers had been introduced, whereby they would receive RM200 for three months.