As a journalist, I've covered the Budget since1984. Most journos from my time didn't look forward to this Octoberfest. Same thing, year in and year out, and most of the Budgets didn't really affect us, except when the prices of drinks and smokes went up, and they always did. The politicians, they said the same things, too, year in year out. If it's not an election budget, it's a people's budget. There were gems, of course, Anwar Ibrahim called his budgets "caring". Don't remember how many he tabled but they weren't really more caring the previous - or latter - budgets. Dr M coined the word "Bajet", further enriching - or corrupting - the beloved language.
Last night, an Opposition MP described to me Najib's budget as "a flawless budget". Another gem. But is it really flawless? Of course it isn't. There are many flaws in the 2012 budget. It is too rural-centric. Felda, Felda, Felda! It tries to do too much for the lower-income. It does't do enough for middle-income urbanites, only cabbies. Too many handouts, see HishamH's quick analysis.
One thing for sure, Najib's 2012 Budget can't be a bad budget as his rivals from Pakatan Rakyat have claimed that he stole Anwar's ideas in the PR's budget; see Anwar: Copycat budget; see also, The Mole's Opposition leaders criticize.
Having covered 27, 28 budgets in my journalism career, I look at Najib's Bajet 2012 as a great follow through of a series of well-planned economic strategies that the Malaysian government has been renowned for. Where the proposed Felda listing is concerned, 2012 is a long-awaited follow-up to Dr M's last budget in 2003; see Revisting a sterling idea. The lost years for Felda (2004-2011). But now there's no doubt, and in good hands, Felda will be one of the biggest news next year (planned listing by March 2012). There are plans to turn it into Malaysia's latest global player, too, as you might have guessed.
In the morning-after analysis, however, it's always the little things for the small people that reflect well on every Budget. In the case of Najib's latest Budget, there are many, for cabbies to housewives and free education for primary and secondary schoolers. Even the sinners rejoice as there's no increase in drinks and smokes taxes!