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Zafrul: Budget 2023 may see some adjustments based on economy at time it is retabled

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SINGAPORE: Budget 2023 may see some adjustments based on the economy during the time it is re-tabled, Caretaker Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said on Tuesday (Nov 1).

Nonetheless, Tengku Zafrul stressed that the budget, which was tabled on Oct 7, is not only a “responsible budget” but is also “inclusive, more progressive” and most importantly it is “sustainable”.

Speaking at The Straits Times’ inaugural Asia Future Summit here, Tengku Zafrul highlighted that the budget would see a deficit going down.

“There may be some adjustments based on economies during the time. I must be frank with you. We have to see (the situation of) the global economy that would affect the Malaysian economy,” he said.

He noted that the budget not only prioritises spending in the most important sectors for the economy to grow but also develops the right groups to move upwards and also areas that are under-developed than others.

His segment was pre-recorded and moderated by Malaysia bureau chief of The Straits Times, Shannon Teoh.

Tengku Zafrul was asked whether Budget 2023 would be re-tabled as “it is” or “close to what was presented last month” if Barisan Nasional (BN) wins the upcoming 15th general election (GE15).

To a question on whether the BN government would introduce a “less populist” policy after the general election such as targeted subsidies or re-introducing Goods and Services Tax (GST), Tengku Zafrul replied: “We will obviously not commit ourselves to any drastic measure that was not outlined for fear that choking the growth momentum.”

“We need to increase our revenue collection as it is quite low. This needs to be addressed,” he added.

The federal government’s revenue collection is envisaged to decrease by 4.4% in 2023 to RM272.6 billion or 15% of gross domestic product (GDP) due to anticipated lower non-tax revenue collection.

The non-tax revenue in 2023 is expected to decline by 23% year-on-year to RM67 billion, due to lower dividends from government entities.

This is according to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in its Fiscal Outlook and Federal Government Revenue Estimates 2023 report released on Oct 7.

Budget 2023 was tabled three days before the Malaysian Parliament was dissolved.

Source : The Edge Markets

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