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Malaysia Crowdsources 2014 Budget

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Prime Minister Razak (Wikipedia)

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is crowdsourcing the 2014 National Budget. A dedicated website has been set up for the initiative, where citizens can log in through their Facebook or Twitter accounts and submit their suggestions and requests. Other users can then thumbs up or thumbs down a suggestion.

The Prime Minister announced the initiative in a blog post, in which he wrote, “As a government elected by the people, I believe everyone deserves a say on how we as a nation will progress next year.”

He elaborated:

With the current state of the world economy, it has become even more important for us to come up with an ambitious yet sensible budget that sets the right pace and direction of our country’s growth. This is a daunting task but I fully believe that we can achieve the best results by working together as a nation.

On the 26th of August, we will be providing a platform for the rakyat to come together and share their views on the 2014 Budget. The discussions will focus on several topics including cost of living, housing and urban living, healthcare, public safety and other issues close to the hearts of the people. We will continue collecting your input until the 8th of September, after which they will be sent to the Finance Ministry for consideration.

Last year the Malaysian government also solicited suggestions from the people, and sifted through more than 2,500 contributions as they put together the 2013 budget.

Razak is actively promoting the initiative on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag #Bajet2014.

The Malaysian news outlet The Star collected some of the popular suggestions people have made on Twitter:

Most users were concerned with the cost of living, with many suggesting that personal taxes are reduced.

User @balqishnasir said that subsidies should be handed out based on the income level.

"Rakyat can spend more and wisely," he said.

Some asked for the introduction of the infamous goods and services (GST) tax that had been mooted by the government for some time.

Users like @dannyseel hoped for speedy implementation so that the taxation system was fairer.

@chaixx also suggested its implementation, but hoped there was an increase in personal relief and revision of income tax brackets.

User @AminuddinA wanted the GST to be applied and fuel subsidies to be stopped, but to reduce car and personal taxes and abolishment of road tax.

A few others, who may or may not have their priorities straight, asked for a reduction of so-called 'sin taxes': “@afifplc hoped cigarettes would cost RM100 per stick while @comrademattvh asked the government to lessen tax on alcohol and cigarettes.”

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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