Malaysia’s Budget 2016 to ‘ensure economic growth stays on strong, stable path’ - PM Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 20): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he would unveil initiatives to sustain Malaysia's economic growth during the Budget 2016 announcement this Friday.

Najib, who is also finance minister, said this via Twitter today.

"Several measures to ensure economic growth stays on a strong and stable path will be announced in Budget 2016," Najib said.

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's economy, as measured by gross domestic product, grew 4.9% in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) from a year earlier.

This compared to the 5.6% expansion in 1Q15.

Ahead of the Budget 2016 announcement, the government had earlier undertaken a survey to find out what Malaysians hoped to see in the budget.

Cost of living, urban housing and livelihood, besides education topped the list of Malaysians' concerns, according to the survey.

The survey involved 15 categories. These included economic development, employment, besides youth and sports segments.

Budget 2016 will be closely watched as it will test policy makers' commitment to fiscal discipline amid the pressing need to spend to deliver economic results.

The Edge Malaysia business and investment weekly (Edge Weekly), quoting economists, reported in its Oct 12–18 issue that the task to balance an expanded budget while maintaining financial prudence would be challenging for the government.

"First, government revenue has to meet government spending. Then, there is the overarching need for fiscal discipline for Budget 2016. This means that it has to spend efficiently to achieve the desired fiscal outcomes.

"At this juncture, I would prefer the government to preserve fiscal ammunition when economic pressures are much worse," Edge Weekly quoted Malaysia University of Science and Technology business school dean Dr Yeah Kim Leng as saying.