Focus on growth, safety net in Budget 2009

  • Nation
  • Monday, 21 Jul 2008

GEORGE TOWN: Growth and a social safety net are two important concerns that will be given emphasis in Budget 2009, said Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

“Budget 2009, in the context of the present circumstances, will be a budget that will have to make sure we continue to grow and also provide a social safety net for those who require government support,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Preparing for Budget 2009: Nor Mohamed (right) having a discussion with (from left) Khazanahvice-president K. Gopalan, Nor Mohamed’s senior confidential secretary Johan Mahmood Merican,Khazanah executive director Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi and Finance Ministry adviser Datuk Siti HadzarMohd Ismail in George Town yesterday.

Earlier, Nor Mohamed and officials from his ministry and its investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, met with 18 companies from the technology-based industry at Khazanah Nasional's office here.

Nor Mohamed said the meeting was one of many in preparation for Budget 2009, aimed at gathering feedback from various sectors for the Government to take steps to address issues and problems faced by the industries.

He said some of the issues discussed at yesterday's meeting included problems related to human capital and infrastructure that were also relevant to other industries throughout the country.

He said the most pressing issue faced was a lack of human capital.

“I have asked the industry to come up with proposals for the Government to assist in ensuring that university-leavers had the necessary knowledge and skills required for their jobs.

“The industry agreed to look at and replicate existing training modules and the Government will give aid in terms of incentives and grants to enable this to happen.”

Nor Mohamed said other issues raised included infrastructure such as high-speed broadband and logistics, incentives and grants for SMEs and opportunities for them to expand their activities overseas, and priority for Made-in-Malaysia products.

Khazanah Nasional managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the 18 companies at the meeting, consisting of multi-nationals and local SMIs and SMEs, had achieved a total export of RM23bil, had more than 31,000 employees and an annual payroll of RM1.1bil.

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