KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 2): Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has assured that the bigger budget allocation of RM314.5 billion for 2019 is within the Federal Government's means.
"We will (be) very careful of how the money is going to be spent. Although the budget is more than the previous year, but you must remember that we also carry the burden of having to pay (additional) debts incurred by (the) previous government," Dr Mahathir said to reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
The 2018 budget was a smaller RM290.4 billion and given Putrajaya's tight fiscal constraints, many had expected Budget 2019 would be trimmed.
However, Dr Mahathir said the government was reluctant to cut the development expenditure as it could affect economic growth.
"We could reduce (the budget) or by not having any development expenditure, but we want to carry out development as well. We are not borrowing money just to have a big budget. You can see in the [Budget 2019] speech, there are measures taken to address the impact of that deficit," he said in reference to the fiscal deficit which will enlarge to 3.7% of GDP this year from an earlier projected 2.8%.
Of the RM314.5 billion allocated, RM259.8 billion is for operating expenditure and RM54.7 billion for development expenditure.
In 2018, the development expenditure was RM54.9 billion, while in 2017 only RM44.9 billion was allocated.