KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Ministry of Finance said that the tabling of the 2023 budget last week was not in vain as it will be retabled again after the upcoming general elections.
In a statement on Wednesday (Oct 12), the ministry also said that the budget can be an important policy reference to business and investment sectors to plan their next steps for the year ahead.
The budget tabled by former Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Friday (Oct 7) unveiled a budget of RM372.3 billion (US$80.06 billion) for 2023.
About RM272.3 billion is allocated for operating expenditure and RM95 billion for development expenditure.
On Monday however, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the dissolution of parliament, paving the way for the 15th general elections (GE15).
With the dissolution of parliament, the budget also known as Supply Bill 2023 is now deemed to have lapsed and will have to be retabled once the new government is formed after GE15.
The tabling of the budget just days before parliament was dissolved led to criticisms by many quarters which saw it as a waste of time.
In its statement, the ministry however said that the tabling of budget 2023 was important so that the ministry could share the various measures that have been planned by the government to help it tackle the short-term challenges faced by the country.
The budget included many initiatives and programmes to assist segments of the population as well as tax reductions and long term development plans to help the country navigate coming challenges.
“With the tabling of the 2023 budget, the government can implement it in Jan 2023 as soon as the government has been formed after the 15th general election.
“Additionally, the presentation of the 2023 Budget is also important as a policy reference to business and investment sectors to plan their next steps based on the content of the 2023 Budget, especially with regard to the economic outlook of the country,” the ministry said.
Malaysia’s biggest budget was in 2022 when it was tabled last year at RM332.1 billion. It has since expanded to an estimated RM385.3 billion, after factoring in the fiscal support to protect people and businesses from rising inflation and cost of living.
For 2023, a total of RM55 billion is allocated for government subsidies, aid and incentives.
The ministry added that if Budget 2023 was not tabled, this would only increase the sentiment of uncertainty, and would have negatively impacted investor confidence.