What CEOs say

  • Economy
  • Saturday, 03 Nov 2018


Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir

Group CEO

AMMB Holdings Bhd 

BUDGET 2019 reflects the government’s commitment to stronger governance and transparency. Despite the fact that the projected fiscal deficit in 2018 is expected to be higher at 3.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) compared with the target of 2.8%, we do not expect to see a downgrade by key international rating agencies.

Even in 2009 with a fiscal deficit of 6.7%, Malaysia was not impacted by a downgrade due to the nation’s resilience and broad-based economic structure.

Indeed, this budget is laudable as there is no hint of opaqueness.

This transparency provides clear visibility on the full extent of the government’s fiscal deficit.

With this drive towards instilling fiscal discipline and financial prudence coupled with Malaysia’s solid fundamentals, we expect a recovery in the coming year.

Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli

Group Managing Director

RHB Banking Group 

WE laud the government’s commitment towards disciplined fiscal management, targeting fiscal deficit to reduce to 2.8% by 2021.

Emphasis on improving the economic well-being of the middle and lower-income groups, and the measures being introduced to support growth and transform businesses and SMEs through a more holistic ecosystem is most welcomed.

RHB is also honoured to play its role by participating in the affordable housing financing for houses costing RM150,000 and below.

Tan Sri Azman Hashim


Malaysian Investment Banking Association

THE government’s plan is to reintroduce the Malaysia Incorporated Policy by streamlining and improving the administrative rules and regulations, establish a new version of the public private partnership (PPP) where the land swap approach will be revised, having open tenders, widening the export markets, and encouraging green FDI investments.

This policy is seen to have a new mindset, where the public sector will focus on value add contribution to the commercial and economic values and serve as a constructive facilitator by providing a more enabling policy environment which includes investing in human capital formation and education, raising the quality of public delivery services, the timely dissemination of information, market liberalisation and strengthening institutions while the private sector will need to discard the “business as usual” mindset.


Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan

Managing Director

Khazanah Nasional Bhd

KHAZANAH believes this budget to be timely and necessary, providing a clear direction for markets, society, public policy and the nation, moving forward while charting a path towards a healthier fiscal position for the government. We welcome Budget 2019’s 12 strategies which cover a wide range of measures that cumulatively look to drive Malaysia towards a path of long-term inclusive and sustainable growth.

Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz

Group Chief Executive

CIMB Group 

BUDGET 2019 has been carefully crafted to balance fiscal discipline and growth. There is a sharper focus on addressing bread-and-butter issues, as well as better public healthcare for the B40 segment, through assistance such as petrol and electricity subsidies, cost of living allowance, the B40 National Health Protection Fund and free medical screening for those above 50.

With such holistic support, they should be in a better position to improve their livelihoods and live more productively.

The government’s commitment to facilitate home ownership is evident in policies that will benefit both the B40 and M40 segments. As an alternative form of financing for homebuyers, the property crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending for home ownership has its own unique risk-return paradigm, which, if properly regulated and monitored, could work well.

Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow

Chairman of Public Bank

IN promoting housing for all, we welcome the various measures proposed in Budget 2019.

These measures would benefit the low-income group, first-time home buyers, government servants and also address the current overhang situation in residential properties.

We note that the government is exploring property crowdfunding under the peer-to-peer financing framework as an alternative source of financing for first-time home buyers. In this respect, Public Bank will explore its possible role in participating in this innovative mechanism to continue supporting first-time home buyers.


Datuk Abdul Farid Alias

Group President and CEO Maybank & chairman of the Association of Banks in Malaysia 

WE see the property sector as the biggest winner of this budget with a variety of measures, ranging from specific allocations for supply - and financing of first-time purchases - of affordable housing, as well as stamp duty exemptions and property crowdfunding to help the industry clear the supply overhang and place it on the path of sustainable growth. We expect the banking sector will also see respectable growth, especially across the consumer and SME segments. The challenge for the government now is to execute the budget well and be able to react to changing market circumstances very quickly.


Datuk Ong Eng Bin



AS anticipated, Budget 2019 highlighted the operating constraints brought about by the fiscal position of the government.

We are heartened by the approach taken to spend more wisely and the much-needed, single-minded focus on the cross-section of society that deserves the most attention.

Overall, Budget 2019 balances prudence with realistic spending in the current uncertain economic climate of rising global interest rates, as well as tensions from the trade war between the US and China.


James Wong

Managing Director

VPC Alliance Malaysia 

THE proposed airport real estate investment trust (Reit) is an innovative way for the government to raise funds and defray the cost of future airport expansion and refurbishment.

We eagerly look forward to how the government is going to implement the Airport Reit and how they arrived at the value of RM13bil. The success of the airport Reit will lead to the creation of other hospital and infrastructure Reits as the vehicle to raise funds.

The RM1bil fund to assist those in the lower-income group to own a home priced up to RM150,000 at a concession rate of 3.5% per annum is commendable.


The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED)  

MED welcomes Budget 2019 and the specific focus it has accorded to the development of entrepreneurs and SMEs in Malaysia, in particular the B40s and M40s.

This will help MED to capitalise on and formulate growth programmes that are inclusive and targeted for the year 2019. MED is pleased that the government has allocated financial resources through various mechanisms, with a view to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. MED hopes to see more opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMEs in the services sector as a result of the government’s initiative to impose taxes on imported services.

Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum

Group Managing Director

Mah Sing Group Bhd

MAH SING lauds the government’s commitment in addressing the need for affordable homes, for example, the special RM1bil fund by Bank Negara which can be accessed by purchasers of homes below RM150,000.

The mortgage guarantee for buyers with a household income of up to RM5,000 will enable them to enjoy substantial savings of between 7% and 11%.

Many measures pertaining to stamp duties are also favourable for first-time home buyers of properties below RM500,000 and those looking for homes for immediate occupation below RM1mil.

With the newly announced initiatives of Budget 2019 and the impending National Housing Policy, we foresee that these new policies and incentives will continue to drive the momentum of the property industry and contribute to the nation’s economic growth ultimately.

Abrar A. Anwar

MD and CEO

Standard Chartered Malaysia

BUDGET 2019 reflects significant strategies and initiatives to address the needs of the rakyat, especially those in the Bottom-40 category.

While the nation’s GDP-to-debt ratio and deficit has increased, we are encouraged by the measures to promote growth, attract investment and reduce the cost of mega-projects, and the focus on private-public partnerships to drive the economy.

We see the government continuing to prioritise Islamic financing. Standard Chartered is the first international bank to offer Islamic products in the country, and we laud the move to grow this sphere via an extension on tax deductions when issuing sukuk. We also welcome the setting up of a special committee for Islamic finance, to be led by the Finance Ministry.

These will ensure that Malaysia continues to lead the way in Islamic financing.


Nik Amlizan Mohamed

Chief Executive

Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera 

LTAT is particularly pleased with the allocation of RM400mil for the upgrading, repair and maintenance of government housing, including quarters for the Armed Forces.

Given the focus to support Armed Forces members and their families, LTAT’s wholly owned subsidiary Perbadanan Perwira Harta Malaysia (PPHM) hopes to continue contributing to this effort, as per the allocation that has been set aside for this. With tangible measures such as these, LTAT is confident that Budget 2019 will pave the way for a strong future for Malaysia.


Dr Carmelo Ferlito

Senior fellow and economist

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) 

IN general, I see the government still active in affordable housing, but my (positive) impression is that the action is limited to really the lowest income people. So, it seems like a gradual step back from direct intervention, and this is welcomed.

Good that the government has reverted to a plan of relaxed loans.

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Business , Budget 2019


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