Budget 2019: 5 Things You Need To Know and 1 That Najib Was Surprisingly Spot On About!


If you didn’t know, last Friday (2nd November 2018) the Pakatan Harapan Government tabled their very first Budget!

It was a historical event as it was the first time a non-BN government has tabled the Budget. Plus, our Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng, who tabled the Budget was the very same man who was jailed under the ISA 31 years ago!

Dem feels.

But aside from all that emotional hoohaa, Budget 2019 was filled with surprises – some nice and not so nice depending who you are.

Jagdev Singh

Part of one of the Big 4 of the Accounting world, Jagdev Singh, PwC Malaysia Tax Leader, had this to say about the overall Budget 2019;

Finance Minister YB Lim Guan Eng has decided to take the bull by the horns and present a budget that is not only comprehensive and inclusive but also deals with current and future issues…

Broadly, whilst there are no changes in tax rates or reliefs (other than the reliefs provided for EPF contributions and life insurance premiums), there are a number of initiatives to assist the lower and middle-income groups. Continuing the previous trend, there are a number of measures to help people get onto the home ownership ladder. Subsidies will be more targeted going forward, and cash handouts in the form of Bantuan Sara Hidup are to continue. It is also timely to see specific measures on employing those above 60 years old.

So what are the 5 things you need to know about Budget 2019? Well, we break it down.

  • Taking the public transport is going to save you money. A LOT of money!

Yup, that’s right, starting 2019 you will be better off taking public transports as the Ministry of Finance has allocated a huge amount of money to encourage the adoption of public transports. RM240 million to be exact.

Starting 1st January 2019, you will be able to buy a monthly pass worth RM100. The best part is that the number of rides you get is unlimited, thus saving you a tonne of money. However, it’s important to note that the pass will only work on RapidKL facilities.

Too bad, KTM users. 

There is also a monthly RM50 unlimited pass available for Rapidkl bus services only. So remember to snap up one of those passes once they are available in January!

  • Petrol subsidies for ALL – well with terms and conditions lah!

When Pakatan Harapan ran for election they pledged to provide targeted fuel subsidy to individual car owners with engine capacity of 1,300cc or less and motorcycle owners of 125cc or less.

Subsidies apply to RON95

Luckily for us, the government has decided to increase that scheme to cover car owners of 1,500cc (aka 1.5Litre) and below; and motorcycle owners of 125cc and below!!

For those of you who don’t speak car terms, 1.5Litre cars are those run-of-mill small to medium size cars like MyVi, Perodua and Proton Saga – to name a few. 

Owners of these vehicles will enjoy up to;

100 litres and 40 litres of RON95 petrol per month with a subsidy of at least RM0.30 per litre, depending on the market price of petrol.

However, not everyone who falls under that category will be subsidized. Owners with multiple cars will not receive this benefit.

And as for owners of luxury cars, Lim Guan Eng had this to say;

  • Time to say goodbye to those sugared drinks (Or is that all non-plain water drinks in general?!)

Rejoice health enthusiast and haters of all carbonated drinks! The Government is planning to start an excise duty on ‘sugar-sweetened beverages’ starting 1st April 2019.

In a bid to tackle the increasing statistics of overweight and obese Malaysian, a duty of RM0.40 per liter will be imposed.

  1. For non-alcoholic beverages containing added sugars of more than 5gm per 100ml drink; and

  2. For fruit or vegetable juice containing added sugars of more than 12gm per 100ml drink.

So based on the above criteria it’s safe to say that all your carbonated drink – i.e. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and so on – will have an additional RM0.40 stuck on them come next April.

But do you know that your other favorite drinks are included too?!

Yup, that’s right, as the criteria specifically state ‘non-alcoholic beverages containing added sugars of more than 5gm per 100ml drink’, your fav bubble-tea drinks Chatime, Ocha and even Tealive are in too!

And yes, this also includes your go-to Mamak drinks as well!!!

So wave bye-bye to your Milo-Ais, Nescafe Panas and Tea Limau Ais.

  • Your NETFLIX and Chill Sessions Will Likely ‘Kena’ Potong STEAM!

Yes yes, we know that we are heading toward Vision 2020, and online services are the way to go. But it’s likely going to be pricier as well.

In announcing Budget 2019, our darling Finance Minister stated that effective 1st January 2020, foreign online service providers will be required to register with the Royal Malaysian Customs.

Those services – which includes popular sites like STEAM, NETFLIX and Spotify (which LGE literally pointed them out!) – will be charged with the relevant Service Tax.

While this might not mean much – as it will be implemented only in 2020 – you can expect higher charges when you have to pay those bills in the future.

The feeling we all had when we heard about the tax

So for now, cherish those 30 days of free streaming on NETFLIX, as it might be gone in the future. 

  • Playing games online and earning money is becoming a reality

If you are a fan of online gaming or want to start your journey in gaming, it might be just the right time for you.

 The Government has just allocated RM10million for E-Sports development in Malaysia! And the best thing is, lots of other industry players are chipping in also!!

 ^^ Like the CEO of RAZER

^^ From The Pantheon (E-Sports Centre)

So if you are thinking to get into E-Sport (regardless of the possibility of STEAM prices rising) go for it!!

And that 1 thing that Najib was spot on about?

Najib: “I told you so”
  • PTPTN ain’t handing out goodies anymore.

Yes, that’s right. While the Pakatan Harapan coalition did promise to do away with PTPTN loans until a person earns RM4k per month, it seems that that promise will not be coming true.

According to Lim Guan Eng, the fault lies with the 1MDB fugitive, Jho Low who had siphoned off RM50 Billion. Because of that, the PTPTN scheme that was promised is unable to be implemented.


Anyhow, as things stand, the new criteria of PTPTN are as follows;

  1. Progressive loan repayment schedule with a percentage ranging from 2% to 15% of the borrowers’ monthly income depending on their income level. This repayment schedule 40 will only apply to those with at least RM1,000 in monthly income;

  2. Discounts on the loan will be given to students from B40 households who have successfully obtained first class honors in their studies; and

  3. Writing off the debt of those who are 60 years old and above with monthly income less than RM4,000, benefiting up to 350 debtors and costing RM4.2 million.

While we are relatively okay with the new criteria, there are some questions that our Former PM, Najib have asked that got us thinking.

In regards, to the automatic salary deduction of PTPTN; and

The fact that there will be no more 1st Class Honour rewards for borrowers  – unless of course, you fall under the B40 category.

What do you think about the new Budget 2019? Did it get your wallet into a twist?

Tell us in the comments below.