BUDGET 2019 | Although the income group of the B40 was considered the winner in the 2019 Budget, the government is not neglecting the income group of the M40, says Ramon Navaratnam, president of the Center for Public Policy Studies of the Asian Strategy and Leadership.
"I'm not sure. I think Pakatan Harapan's government has reached the point where possible and focused on category B40 first, which shows its priority. The average income group can wait a bit longer to get more concessions.
"Rome was not built in a day. You can not make radical changes in the budget in one year when the restrictions are so severe, the revenues have fallen, the expenses and the debts have risen and we must see the budget deficit so it will take some time," he said Bernama.
He commented on concerns about rising income inequalities in the country, issued by the Malaysian Consultative Council (MPM).
In a statement yesterday, the MPM said that the 2019 Budget did not address the large disparities in income between Bumiputera and non Bumiputera, between urban and rural groups, and between income groups B40, M40 and T20.
With regard to MPM Economic Consultant Akhbar Ali's observations that the divestment of government assets in non-strategic companies was questionable, Ramón described it unfair because the sale could generate revenues for the benefit of the poor.
In the 2019 budget, the finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, proposed four steps to take advantage of government assets, including the reduction of their participation in non-strategic companies and the introduction of models of public-private partnerships for public projects on exchange operations of lands through an open bidding mechanism.
Ramon said that through the 2019 budget, the rich could do much more to help B40 and M40 income groups, such as the increase in income tax, death tax and inheritance tax.
"We want a better distribution of income, a more balanced growth and a more equitable society … and this is the way forward … then we will have more stability and national unity," he said.
The government proposed allocating RM314,500 million to the 2019 Budget compared to RM290,400 million in the 2018 Budget.
Of this number, RM259,800 million correspond to operating expenses and RM 54,700 million for development expenditure.