PETALING JAYA: Budget 2018 can be described as pragmatic, balanced and generous, said Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.
He said it was pragmatic because it met some of the basic needs of the people, especially with the coming general election.
“The budget also achieved balance by addressing the challenges of maintaining fiscal prudence and stability, by constraining the deficit to 3% of gross domestic product despite promoting high economic growth.
“I hope the 3% target for the budget deficit will be realised next year,” he said.
Ramon said there was a wide range of goodies for Malaysians across the board, particularly for the lower income groups that deserve more help to counter rising prices and for a better quality of life.
The bottom 40% and middle 40% income groups gained considerably from income tax cuts and other tax concessions.
“Hopefully, absolute poverty will be eradicated.
“However, the long-term proposals to address the structural problems of low productivity, rising unemployment, inflation, the weak ringgit, the brain drain, sustainability, and fight against extremism and bigotry, could have been more effectively addressed in the budget,” he said.
Overall, it was a comprehensive and satisfying budget that would benefit the poor, Ramon said.
“It is hoped the full benefits will go to the people and that leakages and corruption will not be allowed to negate a good budget,” he said.