10 October, KUALA LUMPUR – Budget 2019, the Pakatan Harapan government’s inaugural budget, should be different and must show the way forward while reflecting the new government’s thinking.
Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, said the new government’s budget strategy must be prudential and pro-poor, fair and equitable, and aimed to restructure the economy with more meritocracy and competition.
“Scheduled for tabling on November 2, the budget must start a new ecosystem that will be fair, just and equitable to all sectors of the economy – labour, capital and the entrepreneurial class.
“Then we will have more enthusiasm for supporting the new budget strategy and higher taxation. There has to be far less corruption too, so that the tax payers feel more confident that their higher taxes will be spent wisely and not frittered away through diversion to corrupt and wasteful channels,” he said in a statement today.
Ramon noted that the government had hinted that among the strategies was the introduction of new taxes, which would be unpopular among the people.
“But if the taxes are imposed on those who can afford to pay, that is, the wealthy and prosperous, and not the middle class or the poor, then I think the new taxes for the well-to-do will be welcomed and popular with the majority of Malaysians,” he said.
He added that a more progressive tax system would be deemed as fair and equitable to most Malaysians as it would reduce the widening income disparities, provide more funds to pay for the nation’s high debt of RM1.0 trillion, reduce budget deficit and help the government to continue providing the basic needs to the society.
He further said that the government should not cut back on policies and programmes relating to health, education, the environment, defence and security, and anti-poverty.
More opportunities could be provided to balance the allocation of expenditure to the poorer states in Malaysia and the many pockets of poverty in places like Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan and Terengganu.
“Hence, the wealthy who will be taxed more should feel a sense of gratitude that they will be able to help the government to enable more of the low income and poor Malaysians to enjoy a better quality of life,” he said.
Ramon also expected the 2019 Budget to introduce socio-economic policies and projects that are related to basic needs and not based on race.