Saturday, November 27, 2021

Govt announces RM332.1 billion in biggest budget ever

Themed 'Keluarga Malaysia, Makmur Sejahtera', this is Putrajaya's second pandemic-era budget.

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The government today announced its largest ever budget of RM332.1 billion for the year 2022.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, who tabled the budget in the Dewan Rakyat, spoke of three main goals: strengthening recovery, building up resilience and driving reform.

Of the total, RM233.5 billion is intended for operating expenditure, RM75.6 billion for development, and RM23 billion for the Covid-19 fund.

RM2 billion meanwhile has been allocated for contingency savings.

“Although this is an expansionary budget, the fiscal deficit of 2022 is projected to shrink to 6% of GDP from 6.5% in 2021,” Zafrul said.

Zafrul said initiatives for direct cash assistance would be enhanced next year, adding that the government will introduce a reformed version of the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) assistance to ensure that the affected groups receive the necessary focus.

For 2022, he said, RM2,000 would be channelled to households with three children or more with a monthly income of less than RM2,500 – an increase from the maximum RM1,800 given under the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) assistance.

The government will also give additional aid of RM500 to single parents with a monthly income of RM5,000.

This means that single parents with three children or more will be eligible for a maximum of RM2,500 in BKM aid.

Meanwhile, RM300 in aid will be given to households with senior citizens.

As a whole, the BKM aid is expected to benefit more than 9.6 million recipients with an allocation of RM8.2 billion – an increase from the RM7 billion allocated under BPR.

In terms of assistance channelled by the social welfare department, the conditions for eligibility will be raised to the 2019 Food Poverty Line, that is RM1,169 compared to RM980 previously.

A total of RM2.4 billion has been allocated for welfare assistance, which is expected to benefit more than 440,000 households in need.

Another RM25 million meanwhile will go to the Malaysian Family Foundation to lead efforts to protect the welfare, education and future of those orphaned by Covid-19.

Meanwhile, RM16 billion has been set aside for the defence ministry and RM17 billion for the home ministry.

In terms of helping businesses recover, RM40 billion has been set aside under the Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia Programme (SemarakNiaga) for direct loans, financing guarantees and equity injections to help entrepreneurs.

This is Putrajaya’s second pandemic-era budget and the first tabled by Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration, which came to power after the resignation of Muhyiddin Yassin in late August.

The 2021 budget, also tabled by Zafrul, had involved a total allocation of RM322.5 billion – RM10 billion (8.59%) more than the revised budget for 2020.

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