Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

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.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More