Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz recently presented the Budget 2023 at the Dewan Rakyat, and it is the biggest budget in the country’s history, with spending of up to RM372.3 billion.
While many are optimistic that the budget will help address the issues that the country is currently facing, Subang MP Wong Chen pointed out that the budget seems to benefit the rich and the elite more than the ordinary Malaysian.
Speaking in an interview after the Finance Minister’s presentation, Wong shared that he noted the budget has slashed subsidies for the poor and middle class people by RM17 billion. On the other hand, the government’s development expenditure doubled to RM97 billion.
Wong said that under Budget 2023, the government intends to cut subsidies and social assistance in 2023 to RM42 billion from RM58 billion this year, which constitutes a 29% drop.
Elaborating further, Wong said that these increases in spending would have the government contractors and tycoons linked to those in power “celebrating”.
“To what extent will it benefit workers employed in these projects?” he asked.
Meanwhile, he also shared that in a typical year, the government’s expenditure would be between RM 50 to 60 billion.
Wong then suggested that the significant increase in the government’s expenditure was to fund certain political parties ahead of the next general election (GE15).
“I am sure that many of these tycoons and contractors will be opening their cheque books to make political donations soon for GE15,” he said.
Funding a concern
Besides, Wong also said that that the budget tabled by the Finance Minister was the “biggest ever” in Malaysian history but was funded by RM97 billion of debt, which he thinks is unsustainable.
“This has gone through the roof! The government intends to borrow RM97 billion to pay for this highest ever development expenditure.”
“Government contracts only benefit the connected contractors and connected tycoons to the government, they get the contract. Only the super rich and super connected will get these contracts,” he said.
Towards the end, Wong said that this budget means that the average Malaysia will suffer a reduction in subsidies, but the rich would be smiling with more contracts for them. “This is a budget that helps the rich and does not help the poor,” he said.
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