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New Straits Time: More allocations needed for M40, say experts

By November 11, 2021November 2nd, 2023No Comments

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) Dr Hezri Adnan said there is not enough being allocated to the M40 group compared to B4, and this is something the government needs to look into.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government needs to do more for the M40 group as this group is usually sidelined when it comes to budget allocation, said experts.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) Dr Hezri Adnan said there is not enough being allocated to the M40 group compared to B4, and this is something the government needs to look into.

“The emphasis in the M40 group is not as clear cut as the B40 group, and in fact some of the members of M40 have actually slipped down to B40.

“I would agree there’s not enough being allocated for them and they have to deal with the issue of mortgage and such that hasn’t been addressed, and this is something the government needs to look at for future budgets,” he said.

Hezri spoke at an MIER webinar on “Post-Budget 2022: Towards Recovery?”, along with panelists Malaysian Timber Certification Council chairman Datuk K. Yogeesvaran and Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd’s Malaysia tax markets and global compliance and reporting leader Farah Rosley.

According to Yogeesvaran, one of the measures that could provide a social safety net for both B40 and M40 groups is national insurance, with which equitable insurance would be available for all.

“The government has been considering national insurance for some time; the pandemic actually exposed some weaknesses, but if you look at the pandemic it’s a real outlier, and I think we addressed it quite well.

“National insurance would be very useful as it gives equitable access to medical care for all, and if we have this kind of insurance it would reduce the gap in terms of healthcare,” he said.

He added that besides healthcare measures, social migration and liveability should also be looked at, and put an emphasis on having discussions revolving around a living wage.

Meanwhile, Farah said the general affordability of healthcare is also an important area to look at, and it should be ensured expenditure allocated for healthcare is spent on the right resources.

“We’re already talking about shortage of healthcare workers, and many are also struggling with mental health and heavy workload. Having an insurance scheme is good as it allows for comfort, but we need to look at the affordability of healthcare itself.”

She said having a tax reform map is a good move in finding a way to generate revenue for the country while encouraging economic growth, as well as attracting quality foreign direct investments (FDIs).

“Tax proposals are aligned to boost economic growth, and this is the principle and intent behind 2022 Budget. There’s also a significant emphasis on healthcare, and also reskilling and upskilling of the workforce; for businesses to be successful, having talents and skills is so important,” she added.

Adding to that statement, Yogeesvaran said it is important to consolidate the budget in order to achieve the goal of four per cent inflation by 2024.

“It’s a very difficult time when the deficit is over six per cent, and I think the most important thing we need to look at is commitment to consolidate the budget.

“We need details on how the revenues will be raised to bring inflation down to four per cent by 2024, and make sure the money is spent efficiently with minimal leakages,” he said.

Hezri concluded by saying that while the budget is good, the government also needs to look closely at implementation, and that it’s taking the right step in increasing transparency.

“We’re moving in the right direction in terms of transparency from the government with the pre-budget documents and consultation papers. If the government pushes for more transparency, investors will be more open to working with the government,” he said.