KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the tabling of Budget 2022 will be a “litmus test” for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government as to whether it is addressing Malaysia’s economic woes or just another feel-good “mini election” Budget.
The Bagan MP said that the government should abandon overly optimistic aspects of Budget 2022 or risk repeating what happened to Budget 2021.
“Budget 2022 will be a litmus test as to whether the Ismail Sabri government is realistic and committed to address the economic woes plaguing the Malaysian economy or a wildly optimistic “mini-election” budget to generate a feel-good factor to face the coming Melaka state general elections.
“Budget 2022 should abandon the overly optimistic economic projections in the 2021 Budget, which not only failed to pull the economy out of its recession but affected economic confidence by missing many economic targets,” he said in a statement today.
He said that last year’s economic performance was filled with missed targets after the country suffered a budget deficit of 6.2 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) as compared to the initial projection of 6 per cent, unemployment rate at 4.5 per cent compared to the projected 4.2 per cent and GDP growth at (-5.6 per cent) compared to the projected (-5.5 per cent).
“With continued ministerial incompetence, political instability, constitutional crisis and the surge in the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia’s economic targets projected under Budget 2021 is likely to be a repeat of the missed targets of 2020,” he added.
Lim also mooted that the government should focus on both raising the average household income to RM10,000 over the next four years as well as raising the current median income of RM2,000 per month.
He said that relying on the average household income could be deceptive, by ignoring the huge divide between the rich and the poor.
“With a median salary of RM2,000, this means that half of the population is making less than RM2,000 per month,” he said.
Yesterday, national news agency Bernama reported that the economic sector recovery strategies will be realised through Budget 2022 that has been formulated based on the country’s current scenario, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
He said the country is now undergoing a recovery period from the Covid-19 pandemic which had almost paralysed the whole business ecosystem.
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