Wait for Budget 2024 tabling to learn Govt's plans to generate revenue, says Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR: Wait for Budget 2024 to be tabled in October to find out measures the government will adopt to generate revenue for the country, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"I will explain this during the tabling of the budget regarding taxes and generating income for the country so we can spend according to our ability and to reduce the (fiscal) deficit," he told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Sept 19).

Anwar was responding to queries by Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam), who had asked if the government was planning on introducing a new tax regime and how Putrajaya plans to generate more income.

Dr Wee also asked if a plan to tax the rich would be implemented on Jan 1, 2024.

"For the 12th Malaysia Plan, we need to spend RM90bil yearly plus RM15bil. I am worried about our source of income. How do we generate income?

"On consumption tax which we previously called GST (goods and services tax), is there a willingness on the government's side to look at this as a source of income?

"And are there plans to address shortcomings from before such as reducing the rate from 6% to 4%?" Dr Wee asked.

In March this year, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said the government had not ruled out the possibility of reintroducing GST.

He said the government was still studying the impact of implementing the GST in the current economic situation and assessing the appropriate time for it to be reintroduced.

On Sept 13, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said the government favoured non-regressive forms of taxation rather than the controversial GST.

He said although the GST is the most efficient and transparent tax system, its reintroduction would further hurt poor households.

With the twin shocks of increased spending and economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic, economists had voiced out saying that Malaysia was in need of funds to replenish its depleted coffers.

Economic experts said while reintroducing GST might be a good idea, improvements and corrections must be done first before its second outing.

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