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Budget 2020: don't forget the M40 group

  • It is generally believed that the government will continue to help the B40 group, but that does not mean the M40 group should be neglected again this year.

Sin Chew Daily

The Budget 2020 to be tabled at Dewan Rakyat this afternoon has drawn tremendous concerns among the general public with a lot of expectations from all parties. Malaysians hope that the government will come up with some people-friendly and business-friendly measures to stimulate the sluggish economy and revitalize the market.

As a consequence of global economic slowdown, the on-going Sino-American trade war and a lackluster domestic market, it is believed that the government will table an expansionary budget to stimulate the national economy.

It has been widely expected that an economic stimulus package will be introduced to boost the local market.

The previous BN administration spent RM60 billion on stimulus packages in 2009 and 2010. However, judging from the current economic circumstances, it is very likely for the government to introduce a small-scale stimulus package. More importantly, this package must be effectively implemented to spearhead the country's economic development.

Different sectors have very different expectations from the Budget, but overall speaking, the government must strive to lower the cost of doing business, encourage industrial transformation and create a vibrant economic environment.

According to the World Bank's Doing Business 2019 report, Malaysia was ranked 15th out of 190 countries and territories. Nevertheless, the country ranked very low in the parameter of starting a business, at 122nd. It is therefore essential for the government to step up its effort in this area and introduce effective measures to reduce the cost of doing business.

At the same time, as a developing country, Malaysia also needs to have a set of effective policies to lure foreign investments in a bid to boost our economic growth and free ourselves from the middle income trap.

Businesses aside, ordinary citizens also have a lot of anticipation from the Budget. Given the poor economic outlook and mounting financial pressure, they hope the government will bring some positive news to them when tabling the Budget to lessen their heavy financial burden.

Simply put, ordinary citizens hope to have “less tax and more subsidies”. Prime Minister Tun Mahathir has said it is impossible for the government to cut taxes and provide more subsidies, as the government is unable to make allocations for subsidies without revenue. However, to the general public, in particular those in the lower and middle-income groups, the government has an irrefutable obligation to help them deal with the challenges of financial difficulty.

In the past 2019 Budget, the B40 group received a lot of attention from the government. The M40 group, by comparison, was largely overlooked.

It is generally believed that the government will continue to help the B40 group, but that does not mean the M40 group should be neglected again this year.

As a matter of fact, the M40 group is currently facing tremendous economic pressure, especially the urban middle class. Although this group of people earn higher salaries than the B40, they also hive higher expenditures and heavier financial burden, and therefore require the government's help, too.

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