[The original posting can be found at:]

Every year, Malaysians eagerly await the presentation of the national budget. They are looking forward to some good news or at least something small that will increase their quality of life.

On 23 October 2015, the budget for year 2016 took place. The Budget witnessed an increase in the expenditure to RM267.2 billion compared with RM260.7 billion in 2015. It was aimed to ‘has something for everyone’ while ensuring sustainable growth in the face of volatile global economic conditions.

The theme for the Budget entitled ‘Prospering The Rakyat’ outlined 5 priorities with one of them being to empower the human capital by strengthening Malaysia’s education sector.

For example, to ease the burden in the cost of education, the Government will allocate RM 2.446 billion in sponsorship. The Government will also continue giving 1Malaysia book vouchers worth RM250 for each students.

One of the positive announcements was the tax exemption increase to RM8,000 instead of RM6,000 for every child above 18 years of age in an education institution, both local and overseas.

In order to provide more educational facilities, the Government will also build:

  1. 30 primary schools
  2. 27 secondary schools
  3. Four MARA Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) in Sik, Kereteh, Tanah Merah, and Bagan Datoh
  4. Five fully residential schools in Alor Gajah, Pendang, Segamat, Ledang and Jerantut.

We can never be too old to learn. When talking about seeking knowledge, it brings to mind the hadith: Abu Ad-Darda (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: “If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave (no monetary inheritance), they leave only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion.” [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]. This in itself highlights the virtues of seeking beneficial knowledge.

Traditionally, the Government bears the responsible in providing the best education and facilities to the people with the aim of enriching the knowledge of the nation. As such, it is our part to play the role in realizing this goal by fully utilizing the facilities and actively seeking the knowledge through classes, books and avenues available.

One of the most important ways that we can gain knowledge is by reading. We can witness the experiences and thoughts that people have documented throughout the ages. Reading gives us many benefits such as improving general knowledge, enriching vocabulary and enhancing our reading skills. Questions we may ask are: what should we read and where can we get reading material.

In today’s age of technology, knowledge has been made so accessible via the internet from various search engines such as Google, YouTube and Wikipedia that one has to be very careful and selective in the sources that these information are taken from. To ensure that the true knowledge is derived, it is best to check with those who are experts in the relevant field.

Under certain circumstances, seeking knowledge may also involve ‘indirect costs’. For example, if we would like to attend a free seminars or classes, we may have to absorb transportation costs like fuel, toll and parking.

Therefore, the discipline in managing one’s finances should not be taken lightly. Our golden advice is for people to manage their finances properly and ethically. Some money should be put aside for seeking knowledge because investing in knowledge pays the best return.

Finally, Allah says in al-Qur’an: “Say, If the sea were ink for [writing] the words of my Lord, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like of it as a supplement.” [Surah Al-Kahf, verse 109]

Allah knows best.