The Malaysia Budget 2017 was recently announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and while this year’s announcement did not significantly impact Malaysian road users, the Prime Minister did announce a new twist on the ongoing debacle between taxis and ride-sharing services in Malaysia.
The following is a summary of how the upcoming budget will affect Malaysians in the motoring and transportation segment.
1. Boost for Ride-Sharing Services
The Malaysian government is encouraging those with a household income of up to RM3,855 (B40 group) to increase their income via ride-sharing services. It’s believed that part-timers can make up to RM1,500 if they invest a minimum of 10 hours a week, while full-timers can take home up to RM4,300 per month.
The government also will provide RM4,000 rebate for the purchase of a brand new Proton Iriz, specifically for those who does not have a car to provide such services. Surely enough, this move not only benefits current ride-share players such as Uber and Grab, but also Proton. However, it’s puzzling why the government incentivises just the Iriz when other, smaller but more affordable sedans like the new Saga and Persona would better suit the cause.
Meanwhile, this is a big slap to taxi drivers whom have lately expressed their dissent verbally, physically and also through public “road blocking” protests. Perhaps the main reason why this came to pass was through the recent investments in Uber, made by two government linked companies.
2. Taxis to get a helping hand
All hope is not lost for the taxi drivers, as they are entitled to the long-awaited individual permits. At the same time, a RM5,000 grant will be allocated to each taxi driver to purchase a new car. This will benefit 12,000 taxi drivers who have ended their lease with taxi companies.
3. Increased loans to buy motorcycles
Government staffs can now request for loans up to RM10,000 to buy motorcycles. This is a 100 percent increase from the previous RM5,000 limit. This one is rather timely, considering how a good number of Japanese bikes now cost above the RM5,000 figure.
4. Infrastructure upgrade
As always with budget announcement, the Prime Minister announced projects to build and improve existing infrastructures. This includes the motorcycle lane along Federal Highway, new major roads for East Malaysia and installation of street lamps across the country.
5. Unknown up to this point
Nothing was announced on the “first-time car buyer scheme“, one that would apparently waive excise duties for qualified individuals. The move should encourage fresh graduates to buy themselves brand new cars at much cheaper prices, stimulating car sales which have been on a downward trend.
There was no mention on the incentives that would benefit hybrid and electric vehicles, though. In any case, any revisions made to this regard will definitely be addressed in the next National Automotive Policy (NAP). Till then, it will remain as per last year’s instalment.