SEBERANG PERAI, Sept 1 — The national Budget 2024 that will be tabled in October is expected to focus on strengthening the middle income group and small medium enterprises (SMEs), Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim Chee Keong said today.
He said the middle income group known as the M40, were the ones most affected during the Covid-19 pandemic and still in need of assistance.
“We need to look at how to empower the middle income group and the SME because the SMEs create jobs and generate income,” he told reporters at the Jelajah Belanjawan 2024 here.
“In our focus to reduce the costs of living, the government is not only looking at reducing the costs of goods but also to increase the revenue of businesses,” he said.
One of the strategies under the Madani government was to also focus on domestic direct investment (DDI) instead of only focusing on foreign direct investment (FDI), he said.
“This new strategy is to look at DDI as the main KPI for investments,” he said.
He said many local companies had complained to the Finance Ministry during its nationwide Budget tour about how they felt left out in the government’s Madani economy efforts.
“We still need external demand and FDIs but in getting in FDIs, we must not forget to encourage more DDIs,” Sim said.
On luxury goods tax, Sim said the government will be conducting dialogue sessions on the matter with stakeholders.
“We will hold a dialogue session with stakeholders to discuss the details before any announcement on this,” he said.
He said the dialogue session will discuss all details including the threshold price of luxury goods that will be taxed.
In his earlier speech, Sim said the Budget 2024 will restructure the country’s economy and raise the people’s quality of life.
He said the government’s goal is to focus on economic growth, fiscal sustainability, competitiveness and regional integration, good governance, inclusive growth, meaningful employment, and equal opportunities.
About 300 participants took part in the Jelajah Belanjawan 2024 in Penang today.
This is the third state under the Jelajah series and the Finance Ministry will continue to hold these engagement sessions in all states until September 22.
Sim said the engagement sessions will allow the ministry to collect feedback and wish lists directly from the civil service, private sector and the civil society.