In Malaysian First, Ministry of Finance Issues Pre-Budget Statement to Show Government Spending Plan for Next Year | Malaysia

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said today’s release of the PBS for the Malaysian government’s 2022 budget is part of efforts to improve the annual budget preparation process. – Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, August 31 – The Ministry of Finance today released its very first Pre-Budget Statement (PBS) ahead of the government’s parliamentary proposal on the country’s spending for next year in an attempt to be more transparent.

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said today’s release of the PBS for the Malaysian government’s 2022 budget is part of efforts to improve the annual budget preparation process.

“This PBS is the first in the history of the country,” he said in a statement.

Tengku Zafrul said the PBS could also help boost investor confidence in the way the country manages its finances.

In the 19-page PBS for the 2022 budget, the Ministry of Finance said that transparency and the strong involvement of Malaysians in the preparation of the annual budget is one of the basic principles of good governance, which builds the confidence of the public, especially among investors.

The ministry also said that the inaugural PBS is in line with the Fiscal Accountability Bill aimed at improving “governance, transparency and accountability” in the country’s fiscal management.

“Therefore, the public is able to get a preliminary overview of the direction, approach taken and expected initiatives that will potentially feature in the 2022 budget,” the ministry said in the PBS.

The ministry noted that the PBS would also improve Malaysia’s position in the Open Budget Index (OBI), this global index compiled by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) determined by a survey that measures transparency in the process. preparation of the annual budget.

“Based on the IBP report for 2019, Malaysia scored a relatively low score of 47 for budget transparency compared to countries in the region, such as the Philippines (76), Indonesia (70) and Thailand (61), ”the ministry said.

Commenting on the PBS preliminary outline on the 2022 budget direction, Tengku Zafrul said next year’s government budget will be developed based on three goals or themes.

These three themes would revolve around national recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, rebuilding national resilience and catalyzing reforms, he said.

“Protect and promote the restoration of lives and livelihoods: Budget 2022 will lead the national recovery process to ensure the nation successfully emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, as well as to continue the post-crisis recovery program to help lives, livelihoods and poorly affected economic sectors.

“Efforts to help vulnerable groups and generate new employment opportunities will continue to be a priority,” he said of the first theme.

Additionally, the PBS highlighted tourism and retail as among the hard-hit economic sectors that the government will help recover, while stating that the 2022 budget will make protecting and creating new jobs an ongoing priority. .

“Budget 2022 will also focus on efforts to help vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of society, women, indigenous peoples and people with disabilities, so that no one is left behind on the development and recovery agenda. country, ”PBS said under the first theme.

Regarding the second theme of rebuilding national resilience, Tengku Zafrul said that the 2022 budget will focus on “rebuilding the resilience and capacity of the country’s public health system, improving infrastructure digital and technological sectors, especially in the education sector, and facilitating the country’s transition to high productivity industrial sectors based on automated technology and high skills ”.

Additionally, the PBS, addressing the second theme, said the 2022 budget would also assess ways to rebuild fiscal resilience, which has been affected by the high level of government commitments required to fund economic stimulus packages and government assistance to individuals and businesses.

On the third theme, Tengku Zafrul said that the 2022 budget will ensure the implementation of reforms while focusing on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the 12th Malaysian Plan and the Vision of Shared Prosperity 2030.

“The Ministry of Finance is confident that the publication of the PBS will provide more means for stakeholders to provide feedback and contribute to the formulation of a budget that is well aligned with the needs of the Rakyat, as well as with the country’s policies and requirements. national goals, ”he said. .

Malaysia’s 12th plan is expected to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat on September 27, while the 2022 budget is expected to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat on October 29.

Among other things, the PBS said that the third theme of the 2022 budget would involve government efforts to improve the efficiency of the public delivery system and to emphasize environmental, social and governance (ESG) elements in the delivery system. civil service, statutory bodies and government-related companies.

“These efforts reflect the country’s determination to develop a more sustainable and inclusive economy, which will be an attraction for investors seeking to make the country a major investment destination,” the ministry said.

In the PBS, the Ministry of Finance also highlighted the importance of civil society organizations as the government’s development partner to address various issues on the ground, stating that the government will strengthen this partnership in areas such as eradicating poverty, livelihoods and improving the quality of people’s health.

The full PBS is available here on the Ministry of Finance website.

Dorothy H. Lewis