PKR says first Pre-Budget 2023 meeting with MoF over, at least one more to go

Subang MP Wong Chen speaks during an interview with Malay Mail at his office in Puchong on May 14, 2022. – Image by Yusof Mat Isa

By Ashman Adam

Thursday, September 15, 2022 11:28 GMT

KUALA LUMPUR, September 15 – PKR has outlined 12 economic, political and social policies that it says will help Malaysians recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as improve livelihoods in general, so that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is planning to include as part of the 2023 budget.

Subang MP Wong Chen said the policies were presented at a meeting with Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz on Sept. 13 in Putrajaya, where Wong, along with Permatang MP Pauh Nurul Izzah Anwar and Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, also shared their views. on more important fiscal and economic issues.

“The meeting was presented as a pre-budget meeting of Pakatan Harapan (PH) with the Ministry of Finance. The request for this meeting was actually initiated by YB Wong Chen who contacted the MoF on August 29, 2022.

“At the conclusion of the meeting, the parties agreed to have at least one additional meeting prior to Budget Day scheduled for October 7, 2022,” Wong said in a statement today.

Wong said the 12 policies include accelerating the approval of migrant work permits to help SMEs; addressing student learning loss; helping the tourism industry with workers and capital; adopt a friendlier approach towards foreign residents who bring capital into the country; fight food insecurity by empowering farmers and fishers through improvements in their supply chain logistics; and boosting technical and vocational education and training (TVET) while tackling the problem of underemployment.

Other considerations put forward by PKR were improved flood rescue and relief efforts; improve gender responsive budgeting; prepare for the adoption of the Parliamentary Services Act and the Constituency Development Act; ensure full roll-out of HPV vaccines for all girls in schools; further promote the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at all levels of government; and allocate adequate budget to properly monitor climate change and prepare for carbon trading.

Wong said PKR had also urged the finance ministry to be realistic with revenue projections and not be “overly optimistic or illogical.”

“PKR has urged the government not to repeat previous mistakes of projecting revenues too optimistically or illogically.

“PKR is very firm on this subject; an erroneous revenue projection will not only disrupt government operations next year, but will also have a negative cascading effect on overall spending,” he said.

Wong said his party had also asked the government to look at other sources of revenue, such as graduated capital gains tax or inheritance tax, while asking Petronas to cut profit margins. high from all its suppliers.

“By implementing a more competitive, transparent and accountable supplier policy, PKR believes that Petronas’ profits should improve significantly.

“We have argued that these increased profits will be crucial in helping to reduce the unsustainable level of national debt,” he said.

The PKR trio also warned the government to tighten up all megaprojects, whether funded directly or through private finance initiatives, and only pursue those that are already nearing completion or deemed absolutely necessary.

“These projects must be carried out on a strictly competitive and open bidding basis, at a fair price and, above all, ensure that they are able to generate real economic multiplier benefits.

“For too long, the costs of megaprojects have been corruptly inflated, resulting in no or, at best, minimal economic multipliers,” he said.

They also said they were aware of the government’s limited ability to pursue new policies and urged Putrajaya to focus more on subsidies in 2023.

“We are aware that a significant portion of most grants is lost to abuse and smuggling activities.

“We are of the view that the current universal petrol subsidy is unsustainable and benefits the wealthy far more than the B40, and as such we have suggested the government explore tiered pricing and transfers in cash as possible solutions,” he said.

They also called for Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to be freed from undue political influence as it pursues a prudent monetary policy.

Meanwhile, Wong said PKR recommends the government to order government-linked investment companies (GLICs) to reduce their holdings of foreign stocks and return the money to Malaysia, to shore up the ringgit. .

The highly anticipated 2023 budget was originally due to be tabled on October 28, but was brought forward three weeks to October 7 after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob exercised his authority as Prime Minister under Rule 11(2). ) of the standing order of the Dewan Rakyat. .

No reason was given for the date revision.

Ismail Sabri said on August 30 that he could table the 2023 budget himself in parliament on October 7, while the task has traditionally been carried out by the Minister of Finance.

Political analysts have suggested that the reason Ismail Sabri pushed for the 2023 budget to be tabled early is that he will dissolve parliament the next day under pressure from leaders of his party, Umno.

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