Budget 2020 addresses economic growth, narrowing gaps

-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 14): The 2020 Budget tabled on Friday (Oct 11) has principally addressed ways to drive the country’s economic development in the midst of global economic uncertainties.

Ministry of Finance, National Budget Office director Johan Mahmood Merican said the government had taken pre-emptive measures to ensure that the country’s growth momentum would continue.

“In terms of the Shared Prosperity vision, this budget emphasised on narrowing the gap whether it is the employment rate within the youth community, development in Sabah and Sarawak, rural development, as well as assisting those in need like the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), women and disabled people, amongst others.

“We see that the acceptance of the budget is good so far as it is comprehensive in the perspective of ensuring growth and narrowing gaps in Malaysia,” he told reporters after the 2020 Post-Budget Debate organised by the Malaysian Economic Association here, today.

Johan Mahmood also said that measures that were announced such as tax, for example, were also made to support the strategies of ensuring economic growth, namely through customised incentives, investments, real property gains tax (RPGT), additional tax deduction to support women to return to work and so on.

On producing more unicorn companies in the country, he said it was a long-term trajectory but more details would be outlined when the government issues the 12th Malaysia Plan next year.

Meanwhile, a panellist Dr Veerinderjeet Singh suggested the Sales and Services Tax (SST) to be gradually and slowly extended to more goods and services items with the exemption for essential items.

“Generally, SST covers about 38 per cent of the goods and services while the Goods and Services Tax (GST) covers almost 70%.

“There are ways and means to actually increase, to match the revenue under SST (now RM22 billion) to GST (RM47 billion)…if we can double it, provided there are enforcement and education,” said Veerinderjeet, who is Axcelasia Inc non-executive chairman and also a member of the Tax Reform Committee.

One of the ways, he said, was by adopting the use of an advanced technological device to track every transaction of items that was similarly used during the implementation of the GST.

On another note, the World Bank country economist Shakira Teh Sharifuddin said Malaysia was projected to achieve 4.6% growth for this year, 2020 and 2021, compared with the government’s forecast of 4.7% for 2019 and 4.8% in 2020.

This, she said, would be backed by private consumption that would continue to be the main driver of growth.

“However, we also need to be cautious of challenges from the external environment as well,” she added. — Bernama