Deputy minister: Additional amount requested for supplementary Budget worth RM60.17b, biggest in history
KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan has admitted that the additional amount requested for the supplementary Budget worth RM60.17 billion is the biggest in history.
He said this was due to huge amounts of funds used for subsidies, among others the highest was for petroleum subsidies.
“What was said by Kota Melaka (DAP Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong) is true, that the additional amount we are applying is very big, and I admit that it is the biggest in history.
“Among the problems why the amount is big is due to subsidies and we already know what are the subsidies.
“So we are planning to do targeted subsidies (for petroleum), and I would like to say that the targeted subsidies will not involve transportation such as school buses as what was mentioned by Kota Melaka (during the debate),” Ahmad told the Parliament in his winding-up speech for the debate on the Supplementary Supply (2022) Bill 2023.
On March 23, Ahmad tabled the Bill for its first reading.
According to the blue paper circulated in Parliament earlier, the Supplementary Supply Bill (2022) 2023 involves the disbursement of an amount not exceeding RM60.17 billion from the Consolidated Fund for additional expenditures for services and purposes specified in the Schedule for the year 2022 that were not allocated or which were not fully provided for by the Supply Act 2022 (Act A1638).
The additional expenditure will involve 10 services, where the Treasury General Services received the highest allocation of RM52,776,595,400, followed by the Allocation to the Statutory Fund (RM2,241,548,100) and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (RM2,058,146,000).
Upon MPs’ request, the deputy minister listed some items covered by the RM52.8 billion for general services, which included subsidies for petroleum products (RM42 billion), electricity tariffs (RM5 billion, chicken and eggs (RM1.8 billion), emoluments and special assistance for contract doctors’ appointments, and civil servants’ pay adjustments (RM1 billion), among others.
Ahmad said the subsidy for diesel alone had been between RM1.4 billion and RM3.6 billion from 2018 to 2021 — excluding the anomalous prices of 2020 at the start of the pandemic — but rose to RM20.5 billion last year.
He said Budget 2022 was drawn up when crude oil price had been US$60/barrel, but it was now nearly double, at above US$110.
“Imagine it going from US$60 to US$110; that is why there was so much additional Budget for petroleum subsidies,” Ahmad said.
On suggestions that the forecasting for the Budget was inaccurate, he said several unforeseen events took place last year, such as the severe floods that had not been accounted for, which then required expenditure beyond the budget.
Ahmad also said some infrastructure projects could have been funded had the government not needed to spend the amount on subsidies.
“Bayan Baru (PKR Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin) asked about the HSR (high-speed rail); if we didn’t give the RM52 billion subsidies to the rakyat, the HSR would have already been completed, but we prioritised the rakyat over the HSR project,” he said.
“And a reply was already given earlier that the project is public driven, to if there any private companies you’re welcome (to pay for the project), because I am also victim to traffic congestion and we understand how the HSR is able to solve congestion,” he said.