SHARING prosperity means introducing measures to promote prosperity and growth.
The establishment of the special channel for Chinese investment is laudable. This will stimulate growth from Chinese investment that could otherwise be restrained.
The provision of RM1 billion for Malaysian companies to break into the international market will encourage our businessmen to seek new markets abroad and not depend on the small local market.
Similarly the RM1.1 billion for projects in economic zones in depressed areas will help spread development outside the Klang Valley.
The allocation of RM21.6 billion to expand internet coverage will boost prosperity
The tax increase for those earning more than RM2 million is a progressive fiscal measure.
The allocation of RM445 million for bumi entrepreneurs will help share wealth. But we have to ensure genuine businessmen benefit, and show clear outcomes.
The provision for women entrepreneurs will be specially welcome to ensure the prosperity is better distributed on the basis of gender.
The reduction of the total budget of RM292 billion by 5.6% is a big cut.
It’s not clear whether this serious cut can be sustained and if a supplement will have to be provided next year.
The 2020 Budget was realistic and pragmatic. But it could have been “more progressive” in that it could have taxed the rich more through more progressive taxes and charges like fees for public services like tolls, electricity and hospital charges, etc.
Regrettably no new structural changes were introduced.
Hopefully, the budget proposals will be implemented on needs-based and not race-based policies. Then there will be more national unity and harmony.
The budget is spread thin with a little for many.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies