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6 NOV 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: In facing the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the government today tabled Budget 2021 with the largest allocation in the nation's history to preserve the welfare of the people and country.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the main goal of the budget is to improve the well-being of the people and business community and the country's economic resilience. The government has allocated RM322.5 billion for next year, with RM236.5 billion for operating expenditure and RM69 billion for development expenditure as well as RM17 billion under the COVID-19 Fund, he said when tabling the budget in the Dewan Rakyat.

Malaysia is not alone in facing these challenges as the world has been up against this health crisis since the beginning of this year and is still fighting the pandemic as well as the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In caring for the people, the government proposes to raise the ceiling of the COVID-19 Fund by RM20 billion to RM65 billion to finance the KITA PRIHATIN package, additional aid for the people's welfare, the needs of the frontliners and future procurement of vaccine, he said when presenting the maiden annual budget of the Perikatan Nasional government.

The government has allocated RM1 billion to stem the third wave of COVID-19 as well as a one-off payment of RM500 in appreciation of the contribution of the Health Ministry frontliners, which is expected to benefit 100,000 medical staff.

The budget provides for tax relief, income tax reduction, social protection for the B40 group and people living below the poverty line, targeted financial assistance and withdrawal from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Account 1 as well as hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.

All these to preserve the well-being of the people who have been affected by the pandemic that has caused some people to lose their source of income, others to suffer business losses as well as directly impacted the people's livelihood.

The tax relief is provided for medical treatment expenses covering vaccination expenses for the taxpayer, spouse and children, limited to RM1,000.

Income tax is reduced by one percentage point for those with a taxable income of RM50,001 to RM70,000, which is expected to benefit 1.4 million taxpayers. - Bernama

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