LETTER | Budget 2020 clearly outlines the government’s approach towards elevating youth employability and economic well-being with initiatives that focus on continued funding in education, encouraging job advancement and health development.
From my point of view as a youth and a university student, I appreciate the cost- efficiency measures put into play by the government as it would greatly assist the finances of youths like me. This as youths, and students, in particular, depend on private transportation which includes tolls and petrol expenses.
The initiative by the government to reduce Plus highway tolls by an 18 percent discount will help students who have to drive a distance to get to their campus. I was also quite pleased to hear about the reduced toll rates of up to 30 percent during off-peak hours of the day, which is a great incentive for students.
I also appreciate the initiative taken to help graduates get a job upon graduating and that incentives are provided to those who don’t have a job after 12 months. Given the market conditions, I am grateful that the government has taken this chance to assist unemployed graduates to make the most of the circumstances. However, this is not a free pass and I hope my peers treat it as a safety net as they explore the job market and not treat it carelessly.
While the budget allocated for the Health Ministry is to be celebrated, I notice there has been no allocation for mental health development such as neighbourhood psychiatric rehabilitation centres. As a university student, I have currently seen some university students committing suicide due to depression, stress and poor intellectual health which is worrisome. I would genuinely appreciate if the Health Ministry would look into intellectual health improvement in the coming year.
Personally, as an IT student, I feel that having the digital service tax which will be implemented on Jan 1, 2020, is unsatisfactory for youths as it adds up to our financial expenses. For example, the majority of students subscribe to service providers such as Spotify, Netflix and games distribution companies like Steam.
I hope that the allocated budget for each ministry is used accurately and the plans for the budget as referred to are put to use in good faith. I also advocate that there should be a review on each plan to make sure it achieves its objectives in the upcoming year.
The writer is president, Taylor's University Student Council 2019/2020.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.