COMMENT | Budget 2018 which will be tabled in the Parliament on Oct 27 will no doubt be the mother of all budgets as this is the last budget before the mother of all general elections is called.
Malaysians can expect many goodies from the government in this budget, at least at the perception level - budgets are one of the political tools for BN to prepare them for the general election.
At the same time, we should ask, “What is next after all the sweets are distributed”?
If we were to speak strictly from election strategy, we can almost tell what Budget 2018 will look like. There are a few groups of voters BN will never want to leave out; Felda settlers, civil servants, unemployed graduates and the B40 group.
The B40 group refers to the bottom 40 percent of households with a monthly income RM3,900 and below.
There are 54 out of 222 parliamentary seats that contain Felda settlements and traditionally, the vast majority of Felda voters have voted in favour of BN.
In July 2017, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak announced RM1.4 billion aid to Felda settlers in the form of cash handouts and debt waivers.
Currently, several forms of incentives or aids are now on their way to the settlers, after complaints from the settlers that their debts owed to the government lack transparency, and in some cases increased without notice.
The same goes for civil servants, unemployed graduates, and B40 group. We can now expect perennial goodies like higher end-of-year bonus for civil servants, BR1M for the segments of the population, unemployment benefits, and PR1MA.
But what is next after the budget? What happens after the general election is over?...