The health ministry has received the lion’s share of allocations in Budget 2021, a total of RM31.94 billion, up RM1.32 billion from what it received in the previous budget as the country continues its battle against the spread of Covid-19.
The transport ministry also received a sizeable sum of RM6.05 billion, an increase of RM2.43 billion from Budget 2020 for use in ventures such as the Gemas-Johor Bahru Rail Project, the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System, and the second phase of the Klang Valley Double Track project.
The rural development ministry meanwhile received an allocation of RM10.2 billion for projects such as connecting roads especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
Budget 2021 also saw additional allocations to address the spread of Covid-19 under the country’s Covid-19 Fund. However, matters such as a vaccine for the virus received no provisions despite the government’s participation in the Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access or Covax facility which saw its commitment of RM580 million.
At the recent Dewan Rakyat sitting, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin estimated that the government would need to spend RM3 billion to enable Malaysians to receive the Covid-19 vaccine for free.
The finance ministry may need to adjust allocations in this regard once a vaccine is found.
The communications and multimedia ministry was allocated RM2.3 billion, over RM500 million of which is for the National Digital Network (Jendela) project to expand the reach of high-speed fibre internet for schools and industrial parks.
Eight ministries, considered as non-essential, received reduced allocations: the ministries of unity, agriculture and agro-based industry, international trade and industry, works, federal territories, environment and water, youth and sports, and home affairs.