Budget 2022 to set Malaysia on path to post-pandemic recovery, biggest allocation for education and health

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob with Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz at Parliament building for the tabling of the Budget 2022, October 29, 2021. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob with Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz at Parliament building for the tabling of the Budget 2022, October 29, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Putrajaya tabled a RM332.1 billion Budget for 2022 today that focuses on recovery, building resilience and stimulating growth in a country badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The biggest allocation will go towards education with Ministry of Education receiving RM52.6 billion and its Higher Education counterpart with RM14.5 billion, as millions of students in Malaysia saw their normal schooling disrupted since early 2020.

This is followed by the Ministry of Health with RM32.4 billion with a further RM2 billion for vaccine strengthening as well as RM4 billion for enhancing the public health for Covid-19, after the sector almost buckled under the pressure of a spike in pandemic-related hospitalisations at the start of the year.

According to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the funds will come from income tax at 35.7 per cent, followed by borrowing and the use of government assets (29.5 per cent). Non-tax revenue (18.9 per cent), indirect tax (13.3 per cent) and other forms of direct tax (2.6 per cent) will make up the rest.

Meanwhile, the breakdown of the Operating Expenditure is said emoluments at RM233.5 billion or 26 per cent, Debt Service charge (13 per cent), Supplies and Services (9 per cent), Retirement Charges (8.5 per cent), Subsidies and Social Assistance (5.2 per cent), Grants and Transfers to State government (2.4 per cent) and others (6.1 per cent).

As for Developmental Expenditure, MoF said it has allocated RM75.6 billion or 12.1 per cent for economic matters, followed by social concerns (6.8 per cent), security (2.7 per cent) and general administration (1.2 per cent).

Meanwhile, 6.9 per cent of the Budget will be channelled into the Covid-19 Fund.

MoF also admitted that the actual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2021 is between 3 and 4 per cent, lower than the initial 6.4 to 7.4 per cent forecast.

The government has set a forecast for 2022 at a more realistic 5.5 to 6.5 per cent and expressed optimism that this can be reached.

The Budget was tabled by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz at the Dewan Rakyat this afternoon.

It is expected to be debated and passed next week with little resistance from main Opposition bloc Pakatan Harapan following a memorandum of understanding with the government and active engagement with the MoF for pre-Budget sessions.

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