Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today outlined the major themes of the 2017 Budget that he will deliver to Malaysia’s parliament tomorrow.
Noting that some commentators have said this will be a General Election Budget, the Prime Minister instead stated:
“This is a commitment Budget. Others may put short-term political gain first, but this government will not.
“We commit to ensuring that the economic fundamentals of the nation remain resilient and strong – including policy on deficit targets, spurred economic activity, and the long-term health of the financial system.
“We commit to being prudent and creative in optimising expenditure, to ensure delivery for the people.
“And we commit to a comprehensive, inclusive Budget that will fulfil our promises to the people.”
Noting that during a year when advanced economies are expected to register growth of only 1.6 percent, Malaysia’s economy is on course to grow between 4 and 4.5 percent, the Prime Minister said:
“Despite the challenging global environment, the measures we introduced in last year’s Budget have helped ensure that the economy remains resilient and continues to grow. We have a plan, and it is working.
“We will continue to ensure economic indicators – such as inflation levels, growth rates and debt levels – remain strong and resilient, reflecting the core fundamentals of the economy.
“Despite fiscal pressures, inflation has been kept at low levels, and the Malaysian people as a whole are better off today than they were a year ago. Indeed, we are now an upper middle income country.
“We continue to fulfill our promises to the people in a manner that is fair and inclusive. We are on the right trajectory, with the economy expected to improve still further in 2017 with growth of up to 5 percent.
“At the same time, we recognise that there are challenges. We must put in place policies that address long-term structural changes, and will continue our efforts to improve the Bottom 40 as well as the Middle 40. Our focus is on both the people economy and the public economy. The overall happiness and welfare of the people is key objective.”
The Prime Minister said he would make further announcements on infrastructure, development, public transport and health, fiscal incentives for small and medium enterprises, and human capital and skills training. He said:
“In line with our commitment to put the people first; we intend to accelerate economic growth, empower human capital, drive education, increase connectivity, strengthen inclusive development and improve public service delivery.”
In order to do so, the Prime Minister said that a major focus of the 2017 Budget will be on raising the disposable income of the rakyat; encouraging upscaling, reskilling and entrepreneurship training; mitigating the rising cost of living; providing more affordable houses, and funds for maintenance; substantial measures on education; and allocations for the provision of quality healthcare services.
The Prime Minister concluded by saying:
“The safety and security of all Malaysians remains my biggest priority. We will intensify our efforts and allocate more resources to our fight against extremism and crime.”
PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE