Why The 2017 Malaysian Budget Is Good News For Parents

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Any perk, discount or rebate is great news to a parent's ear. This is how the recently tabled Malaysian Budget for 2017 is good news for parents.

Having children enriches our lives in many ways. Sadly it has no positive effect on our financials, with the opposite being true. Like everything else in life, the cost of bringing a child up grows every year; the bigger they get, the more expensive they become.

In the first year alone, parents may spend up to RM30,000 and this is a figure that keeps growing with every year. All parents, working or not, will definitely feel the pinch especially when news hits of a lackluster economy and calls for belt-tightening amid rising costs of living.

Naturally, the parental instinct is to do our best to provide. So any little perk, discount or rebate is great news to a parent's ear. This is how the recently tabled Malaysian Budget for 2017 is good news for parents.

Breastfeeding Tax Relief

Good news for breastfeeding moms - they can now claim tax relief up to RM1,000 for breastfeeding equipment! It can be claimed once every two years. This acknowledgement by the government of the importance of breastfeeding is great step forward to providing families with much-needed support.

Early Education Tax Relief

Children learn at a rapid pace in their first 8 years. To encourage parents to provide education for young children, a tax relief of up to RM1,000 per year can be claimed when they enrol their child to registered nurseries and preschools.

Start saving for college with SSPN-i

It's really never too early to start saving for their tertiary education. The Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) is providing the SSPN-i for parents to save for tertiary education. It offers annual dividend returns of 4%, and parents are also given annual tax relief of up to RM6,000, as well as Takaful coverage.

Schooling Assistance Programme

Expected to benefit 3.5 million students nationwide, the Schooling Assistance Programme offers RM100 in financial aid to students from families earning up to RM3,000 a month.

1Malaysia Supplementary Food Programme

In addition to aid from the Schooling Assistance Programme, primary school students will also benefit from 1Malaysia  Supplementary Food Programme with an allocation of RM300 million.

Aid for disabled children

Raising a special needs child is even more challenging. The Government has allocated RM150 monthly cash aid for 67,000 special needs students to alleviate their parents' burden. Students who attend 21 special education schools will also benefit from new school buses.

Hostel Meal Assistance Programme

A survey conducted by student group Muslim Volunteer Malaysia (MVM) found 74% of students do not have enough money to eat at times. 365,000 students are expected to benefit from a RM1.1 billion allocated under Hostel Meal Assistance Programme.

Quarantine leave for civil servants

Public servants can now take quarantine leave of up to five days without record to tend to ill children. This is a welcome move for parents as it can be a real nightmare when children fall sick.

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Penulis

Hanna Lee