PETALING JAYA: M40 individuals want the government to ease their financial burden, review salary scales and provide more incentives and subsidies for businesses, with many expressing hope that Budget 2023 would address their concerns.

Procurement executive Faizah Norsiah Jaafar said Bank Negara Malaysia has raised the overnight policy rate twice by 25 basis points (bps) to 2.5%.

“This means we have to pay higher interest on loans and most of us in the M40 bracket have more than one loan commitment.”

Faizah called on the government to provide assistance to overcome some of the financial burdens faced by the M40 group.

“A targeted tax exemption scheme or (programme to help with) our expenses such as child care and transit centres for children up to 12 years of age would be a good idea.”

Currently, the government allows declared income deductions of up to RM3,000 for nursery and kindergarten expenses.

“For M40 who are married and have children, they get (deductions), such as RM2,000 for each child below the age of 18. But what about those without children and who have other commitments?”

A mother of five, Faizah said her family feels necessities are still affordable and her children’s school needs are within her budget as the government provides textbooks, while school fees are affordable.

“We save up throughout the year for our children’s school uniforms and other needs, but it is the other financial burdens that are hurting us,” she said.

Meanwhile, accounts executive Robert Hoe wants the government to take another look at the country’s salary scale.

“When the minimum wage was announced, we didn’t hear anything about salary increases for those in other income brackets. However, when the announcement was made, the prices of goods increased almost immediately.”

Hoe said the constant increase in the cost of living is widening the financial gap between the T20, M40 and B40 groups.

“Many talk about how the people still cannot afford a house, which indicates they don’t see that there are many people who are struggling to put food on the table,” he added.

Entrepreneur Jamal Hassan expressed hope the budget would include lower fees for many of the documents and processes needed for businesses.

“As a business operator, I worry about licensing, halal certifications, local authority approvals and charges by many other government-linked agencies that cost me a lot of money just to stay open. This is on top of overhead costs involved in operations, acquiring materials and paying salaries, all of which affect my earnings,” he said.

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