KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia unveiled a leaner budget of RM372.3 billion (US$80.06 billion) for 2023 on Friday (Oct 7) amid an uncertain global environment and an expected slow growth.
The 2022 budget was touted as its largest when it was tabled last year at RM332.1 billion, but 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.
The country’s economy is forecast to expand between 4 per cent and 5 per cent in 2023, slowed from this year’s 6.5 and 7 per cent, according to the economic and fiscal outlook reports released ahead of the finance minister’s speech in parliament.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the 2023 budget is guided by 3Rs – responsive, responsible and reformist.
“As part of the Malaysian Family, we need to act immediately in facing every upcoming global challenge, and at the same time be responsible in building a bright future for the children of the legacy generation,” he said when tabling the budget.
With an expected revenue collection of RM272.6 billion, the fiscal deficit in 2023 is projected to decrease to 5.5 per cent of the gross domestic product, compared with 5.8 per cent in 2022, said Mr Tengku Zafrul.
He said that based on the medium-term fiscal framework, the deficit level from 2023 to 2025 is expected to continue to decrease to an average of 4.4 per cent of the GDP.
“The government will continue to intensify efforts to improve the financial position in the medium term to achieve the deficit target of 3.5 percent of GDP as projected in the 12th Malaysian Plan,” he said.
Of all ministries, the Education Ministry will receive the biggest slice of the pie, with RM55.6 billion allocated.
Allocation for the Health Ministry will increase by 11.4 per cent to RM36.1 billion.
To tackle floods and natural disasters, the government has set aside RM15 billion for the Flood Mitigation Plan, a long-term strategy to adapt to climate change.