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SETIA ALAM, Oct 18, 2015:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the coming Budget 2016 will be difficult one to present due to limited funds as the price of oil had slumped.

The national budget will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 23

He said Petronas paid dividends of RM26 billion to the government this year but it has requested to pay only RM9 bilion next year.

Najib described it as a difficult request as it would be an uphill task to make up the shortfall of RM15 billion.

“Everywhere I go, there are requests for development projects such as schools and hospitals and these projects cannot be carried out by borrowing money,” he said while addressing Gerakan delegates at the party’s 44th national delegates conference here.

The Barisan Nasional chairman added that there will be even less money for other things especially BRIM (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia) if the government compensated highway concessionaires who recently announced toll hikes.

The government had previously compensated the concessionaires to delay the scheduled hikes.

Najib said there was no way to avoid the increase as the toll agreements were signed 20 years ago, but insisted he would not pass the buck as he was also part of the government then.

He pointed out that even in Penang and Selangor, many things had increased in price such as water tariffs, development charges and parking.

“Fortunately we have GST (Goods and Services Tax) which I know the rakyat is cursing at, but without it, the government will have to increase other taxes as only one out 10 Malaysian are paying tax.

“Yet people only pay RM1 for medical treatment and RM500 for surgery at government hospitals, have access to free education and subsidised university fees.

“It’s easy for people to say that the government is not sensitive, but something has to give.”

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