Budget 2024 is generally comprehensive as it included the shift to a low-carbon economy and forms of sustainable energy.
The Budget also touched on wildlife conflict, environmental conservation and preservation besides the extension of stage bus services to low-passenger routes in rural areas.
Plans are afoot to provide clean water supply particularly in Kelantan, Sabah and Labuan. This is the way to go because in 2002, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted its general comment No 15 on the right to water, defining it as the right of everyone “to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses”.
We support the proposed excise duty on sugary drinks to be increased from 40 sen to 50 sen because, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, 3.6 million adults (aged 18 and above) had diabetes with 49% (3.7 million) cases undiagnosed. Proceeds from the excise duties will be used to treat diabetes and support dialysis centres, which is a good move.
The tightening measures to prevent the smuggling of liquor products by restricting their transhipment to certain ports is commendable just as the imposition of cigarette imports for the domestic markets being allowed with full container loads.
Budget allocations, however, must be spent efficiently without any leakages. There must be effective overseeing and monitoring of the way the budget allocations are spent to ensure the planned outcomes are achieved.
We look forward to seeing the success of the implementation of the Budget which is crucial. This year’s Budget is well thought out, covering most critical aspects of the Malaysian society.
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Mohideen Abdul Kader is president of the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)