An election budget. Fishing for popular votes?

It is an election budget, a large amount of the allocations are to fish for votes.

This is what one can read on social media after the Budget 2021 speech on Friday.

On Saturday, the social media networks were filled with criticism from the general public.

Their main points were the refusal by the government to allow people to withdraw from their main EPF account.

They are also complaining about the absence of a blanket moratorium for bank loans and hirepurchases.

MALAY-CHINESE-INDIAN ALLOCATIONS

But another segment of the population is attacking the allocations listed as Malay, Chinese and Indians in the budget.

They fall under the Tax exemption and essentials goods section. The contested points are below:

  • RM100 million to empower the Indian community’s socio-economic development
  • RM177 million to the Chinese community for education facilities and new villages
  • RM1.4 billion allocated to the Prime Minister’s Department for Islamic affairs
  • RM4.6 billion allocated to empower Bumiputera entrepreneurs
  • RM6.5 billion to provide access to quality education to Bumiputera institution

Comments in online news portals are also targeting these allocations.

Nevertheless, some Tweeple are saying the government is planning to call for snap polls in 6 months time.

But the conditions are the COVID-19 infections should drop below 4 digits. The Health Ministry’s estimate is the country could take two to three weeks, to flatten the curve.

However, the grudge of some netizens is on the thin allocations for the non-Malays.

Some are also questioning why the Malay community is given the lion’s share of the spoils.

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FEEL GOOD FACTOR

Meanwhile, on the political front, the budget is seen as an effort from the PN to win hearts.

The government, some analysts say, is trying to gain a new mandate and to stay in office for another term.

This is one main motivation behind the huge allocations for the Bumiputera, some analyst says.

It is clear the government will capitalise on the budget as much as it could to gain support from the people.

However, to win the elections, the government will need to win the Malays on its side.

Elections should not be too far away, some netizens believe. Give and take, if Malaysia flattens the COVID-19 curve in a month time, the country could go for polls in 2021.

On the other hand, that could happen before March next year, sources say.

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