KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak marked his 100th day as Prime Minister by announcing 11 people-friendly measures - including a toll discount for frequent users and a new trust fund - to address some longstanding public grievances.
Thousands of people packed a hall at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre to listen to Najib announce the 11 "goodies":
- a 20% toll discount for frequent users who pay toll 80 times a month or more via the Smart Tag or Touch 'n Go, effective Sept 1;
- some 44,000 low-cost houses under the Program Perumahan Rakyat in the Federal Territory offered for sale to existing tenants;
- a 50% discount on licences for petty traders in the Federal Territory;
- a RM150mil (S$61,470,000) allocation for the Tekun scheme, which is a fund for entrepreneurs, and another RM15mil specifically for young Indian entrepreneurs;
- more than 7,000 individual taxi permits approved, with another 3,000 to be approved in the coming three months;
- crime prevention (details to be announced at the end of the month);
- expediting birth registrations, with 92% of the 36,000 applications in Sabah, and 80% of the 19,000 in Sarawak approved since 2005;
- clearing the backlog of citizenship applications, with 46% of the 34,000 cases already resolved;
- improving connectivity and access to basic utilities in the rural areas;
- reducing the cost to obtain a B2 motorcycle licence (under 250cc), including riding lessons, to RM211 effective Sept 1. It currently costs around RM500 to RM700 to attend lessons and the test; and
- setting up a new trust fund, Amanah Saham 1Malaysia, with a maximum size of 10 billion units. Those above 18 are eligible to invest. Under the Amanah Saham Wawasan scheme, 10,000 poverty-stricken urban households under the E-Kasih list would receive 10,000 units per household by 2010.
Najib said the toll discount was only an interim solution as the toll rates were being comprehensively reviewed.
On halving the licensing fee for petty traders, he said 69,000 traders in the Federal Territory would benefit from it. It used to cost between RM10 and RM700 a year.
"I urge other states to emulate this move to reduce the burden on petty traders during the economic crisis," he said.
For Sabah and Sarawak, Najib said the Government would double the 750km of roads built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to 1,500km under the 10th Plan.
"The piped water supply, which covers 52% of Sabah and 61% of Sarawak currently, will also be increased," he said. -The Star/ANN