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Ensure accurate revenue projections in budget, Tengku Zafrul told

By FMT Reporters (15 September 2022) PETALING JAYA: PKR MPs have urged finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz to ensure that the government’s revenue projections for 2023 in the annual federal budget are accurate and realistic. Subang MP Wong Chen said this was conveyed to Tengku Zafrul during a pre-budget meeting, which was also attended by PKR MPs Nurul Izzah Anwar and Fuziah Salleh, on Sept 13. He said they urged Putrajaya against repeating past mistakes of making revenue projections that were illogical and too optimistic. “A wrongful projection on revenue will not only disrupt operations of the government next year but also cause a negative cascading effect on the overall expenditure,” he said in a statement. The MPs also called on the government to explore other sources of revenue like the progressive capital gains tax and inheritance tax, in view of subsidy costs surging to RM77.7 billion this year. They also suggested directing Petronas to revamp and reduce vendors’ high profit margins, and called for a more competitive and transparent policy on vendors. “By doing so, PKR believes that Petronas’ profits should dramatically improve. We argued that these increased profits will be crucial to help reduce the unsustainable national debt level” Wong Chen, who is also a PKR central leadership council member, said they also wanted the government to “tighten up” on mega projects, whether directly funded or through private finance initiative, and to only pursue ongoing projects or those deemed necessary. Those that go ahead should be strictly awarded via open tender and must be able to generate a multiplier effect on the economy, he said. “On currency and inflation, we asked that Bank Negara Malaysia be given freedom from undue influence of politics, to pursue a prudent monetary policy. “We also asked the government to direct government-linked investment companies to reduce their foreign equities portfolio and to return this money to Malaysia, so as to defend the ringgit,” he said. The three MPs also proposed 12 policies for the finance ministry to consider including in the budget, namely to:

  • Expedite approval of migrant workers;

  • Address students’ learning loss amid the pandemic;

  • Aid the tourism industry with workers and capital;

  • Be friendlier with foreign residents in Malaysia;

  • Address food insecurity, improve supply chain logistics;

  • Boost technical and vocational education and training (TVET);

  • Prepare for floods, allocate sufficient funds for relief efforts;

  • Improve on gender responsive budgeting;

  • Prepare for Parliamentary Services Act;

  • Ensure rollout of human papillomavirus (HPV) jabs for schoolgirls;

  • Further promote the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDG) in Putrajaya; and

  • Allocate funds for climate change and to prepare for carbon trading.

Budget 2023 will be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 7, three weeks earlier than initially scheduled.