$33 goes a long way for middle income earners, say parents in Malaysia

$33 goes a long way for middle income earners, say parents in Malaysia
PHOTO: Reuters

JOHOR BARU - Middle income earners are feeling the pinch already knowing that they are not going to get the RM100 (S$33) schooling assistance for their children next year.

The aid will only be offered to households with less than RM3,000 income a month.

Insurance dealer Mohd Shuhaimi Mazlan, 41, is against the new ruling.

Although people might think that those who earned over RM3,000 monthly could afford their children's school expenses, he said "they are wrong".

"There are a lot of other fees that schools ask for from time to time," he said.

"My 16-year-old daughter is in several clubs and in the school band - we need to pay the fees, for uniforms and other related activities, which can go up to RM100 each time.

"I have three children who are still in school and as the only breadwinner for the family, the RM100 per child helped lessen my burden previously," said Mohd Shuhaimi, who earns about RM4,000 a month.

Housewife Chua Hui Che, 45, said the RM100 was "a lot" for those who had received the aid.

"Although my husband earns around RM4,500 a month, he is the sole breadwinner," she said.

"It is difficult for us to get by in the current economy.

"Two of my children are now in boarding school and the expenses are getting higher," she added.

In Ipoh, factory manager K.C. Kong, 34, said the Budget had yet again sidelined the middle income group.

"I know the Government is trying to close the gap between all levels of people but I feel disappointed that the middle income group did not get anything again.

"More has been allocated to the lower income group again.

"The only thing significant is the tax relief for families with children below 18 years which has doubled from RM1,000 to RM2,000," he added.

Johor Consumers Movement Association chairman Abdul Majid Kayat defended Budget 2016.

He acknowledged that parents should not be burdened as they had to pay PIBG and school fees every year as well as provide their children with stationery and uniforms.

However, Abdul Majid said parents should be able to control themselves, spend wisely according to their needs and adjust their lifestyle instead of just complaining.

In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah parents earning just over RM3,000 are also furious over losing the RM100 aid.

The cost of living in the state is higher than in the peninsula.

A clerk from Penampang, Susanah Brenda, 39, said she and her husband earned RM3,500 a month combined, and had been getting the RM100 annual schooling aid for their two children the past few years.

"Though RM100 may seem like a small amount for many people, to us, it helps with registration fees," said the mother of two.

Accountant Suhaimi Abdullah, 40, said he was the sole breadwinner earning about RM4,000 a month and the new cap would increase the family's burden.

"So now, without the RM100 schooling aid, I have to fork out more to register my three children.

"RM100 per child is not a huge sum for the rich but for us middle income earners, it helps," Suhaimi said.

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