KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — Budget 2017 is not well thought out and is too optimistic as it does not take into account external economic challenges Malaysia may face next year, Opposition lawmakers said today.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a RM260.8 billion budget earlier today, but Najib’s former deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who now leads Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), said that the government budget paints an “unrealistic” picture.
“The people are being given sweeteners but the truth is the government does not have much funds,” he said.
Muhyiddin also said he was “not confident” that the budget can be carried out effectively.
The budget is 3.4 per cent higher than the 2016 revised budget and also projects higher revenue, while allocating a bigger sum for cash handouts such as Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M).
“I think the problem will be bigger next year, because the global economic situation will be the same and there won’t be a new revenue stream for the government,” he said.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been maintained at 6 per cent, while Malaysia continues to have a smaller revenue due to crude oil prices remaining low worldwide.
DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said that the budget was “too optimistic”.
“There is no strategic plan on how Malaysia can weather the storm. There are plenty of programmes without any clarity. I don’t see a clear direction for the year to come,” he said.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said that Putrajaya did not “think through” some of the challenges it would be facing next year.
“We are facing RM30 billion losses in taxes (due to oil prices), how are we going to ensure the revenue?” Charles asked.
Newly registered Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who was also previously in Najib’s Cabinet, said that the budget is “nothing new.”
“What we need is job opportunities. How do you create that? Is it by giving BR1M, or by creating new industries?” he said.