gross domestic product (GDP) achieving a growth of 7.1% during the first quarter of thisyear, and 6.3% for the second quarter of 2008. GDP growth for the first half of this yearwas, therefore, 6.7%. Although the nation will be somewhat affected by globaldevelopments, the Government is confident that Malaysia’s economy will continue toremain stable with a GDP growth of 5.7% this year.
THE 2009 BUDGET
8. The 2009 Budget is focused on enhancing the well being of all Malaysians. Forthis purpose, it is crucial to further strengthen our nation’s economic resilience to mitigatethe adverse impact of an increasingly challenging external environment.9. With the theme
A Caring Government
, and in line with the five thrusts of theNational Mission, the 2009 Budget will focus on three specific strategies, namely:First: Ensuring the Well Being of Malaysians;Second: Developing Quality Human Capital; andThird: Strengthening the Nation’s Resilience.
FIRST STRATEGY: ENSURING THE WELL BEING OF MALAYSIANS
10. The Government will ensure that all Malaysians continue to benefit from thecountry’s economic growth. In this regard, the Government will implement a broad rangeof measures to reduce the impact of the higher cost of living, particularly among the lowerincome group and the vulnerables.
Social Safety Net
11. The Government empathises with the difficulties faced by the lower incomegroup, arising from the higher cost of living. In this regard, the Government has raised theeligibility criteria for welfare assistance under the Welfare Department, from a monthly