KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) shadow Budget 2023 focuses on clusters of the country’s poorest, instead of relying on racial profiling to determine who among the poor receives aid.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that it was only fair for the government to focus on the country’s poorest so that no one is left behind, citing a Unicef report which revealed that the poorest districts in Malaysia are in Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan and Kedah.
“In peninsular Malaysia, of course, the majority of the poor are Malays and Bumiputera, but emphasis must be paid to the fact that the poorest ethnic groups are Indians and the Orang Asal,” he said, adding that Indians are the poorest community in the peninsula.
He said that PH’s shadow Budget was needs-based to eliminate the issue of aid not being received by the demographics which require it the most.
The focus would be on food security, healthcare, the care economy due to Malaysia’s increasingly ageing population and the effects of the climate crisis on the economy, according to Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin.
Chan said that good governance and stability would help the country’s economic recovery in the face of controversies such as the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal.
“Health and agriculture would be given the focus because of the rising cost of living which we feel has not been handled satisfactorily,” Anwar said although he expressed concerns over the MySejahtera controversy which has yet to be addressed by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“Of course, we agree that additional funds should be allocated to MOH but not excessively because of many worries over the lack of transparency in its financial expenditure,” he added, saying that it was the same for national defence.
“We can support it but without transparency we will continue to repeat practices of corruption and looting.”
The PH shadow Budget focused on building economic activity and increasing economic resilience, he said, revealing several stimulus packages for manufacturers, workers, fishermen and farmers.
There was also an emphasis on public transportation, with suggestions of an MRT discount to solve issues of traffic congestion, he added.