PUTRAJAYA: The thrust of Budget 2004 is to make Malaysia truly a trading nation and Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who will table his last budget as Finance Minister today, believed the people would welcome it.
The Prime Minister said the Government would encourage entrepreneurs, especially small and medium-scale industries (SMIs), to manufacture goods using more local materials.
“We hope the FDIs (foreign direct investment) will still be there but we want local investments to grow, particularly SMIs.
“We also hope the SMIs will not only supply to big industries but also try to export their components overseas.
“The thrust is to make Malaysia truly a trading nation,” he said here last night after having a look at the final Budget preparation at the Finance Ministry here.
Dr Mahathir said although Malaysia was already a trading nation, the earnings from trade were considered low as many exported products still used imported components.
“We do not earn much because every time we export RM1, maybe about 80 sen was imported (components).
“We want to stress more on local entrepreneurs to produce more goods and use more components from Malaysia so that the added value will be more and our earnings will increase,” he added.
He said the Government would give a lot of encouragement including having roadshows and assisting the promotion of local goods in other countries through the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp.
Dr Mahathir said the Budget was prepared according to the Government's priorities.
“If the priorities are low, we have to postpone them. Some ministries have asked for allocations, which if we are to fulfil, will result in us having to provide triple the budget sum.
“We are also trying to avoid having a supplementary budget next year,” he said.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis and Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen were present.