KUALA LUMPUR: Budget 2017 was formulated to drive a healthy economy on a long-term basis and not for short-term political gains, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Government, he said, needed to pare down the fiscal deficit from 3.1% this year to 3.0% next year while having to maintain a GDP growth of above 4%.
In doing so, he said some expenditure would be optimised for greater efficiency, ensuring that the resources were allocated to areas that would bring the most benefits.
“This is a commitment budget that seeks to create a sustainable and inclusive future for all Malaysians, particularly those in the lower income groups,” he wrote on Facebook.
Dr Wee also lauded the initiative to stimulate private investments by developing major projects such as the Pan Borneo Highway, Mass Rapid Transit and High Speed Rail.
“No less vital is the doubling of fixed line broadband Internet speeds as we push for more digital connectivity in the economy, a modernising infrastructure that is contributing nearly 16% to our GDP with great potential for much more,” he added.
Dr Wee, who is overseeing the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Chinese new villages, said it was fitting to dub 2017 the Start-Up and SME Promotion Year, with an allocation of RM75mil for the SME Master Plan to support industry players.
“In doing so, the budget provides incentives, rebates and measures to develop this important sector, which makes up 97% of all businesses in Malaysia.
“Particularly noteworthy is the new scheme for the assessment years of 2017 and 2018 to provide a reduction in income tax based on a company’s percentage increase in their income, which is a way to reward companies that perform well,” he said.
He also welcomed the RM50mil allocation for the development of Chinese new villages and an additional RM50mil for SMEs loans through Kojadi, saying these would go a long way to help the people and businesses in the coming year.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said Budget 2017 had looked into the welfare of the people and the nation’s economic development.
He described it as a comprehensive budget.
“The absence of new taxes proves that the national economy and finance is in a stable condition,” he said in a statement.
Chua said that the absence of any tax hike like the Goods and Services Tax reflects the Government’s policy which is people-centric.
“Amid global uncertainty, improving the people’s welfare remains a priority of the government,” he said.
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