FMT Interview on Budget 2022: A Step Forward for Transparency and Accountability
Updated: Mar 1
Budget 2022 themed “Keluarga Malaysia, Makmur Sejahtera” allocates the biggest expenditure ever (RM332.1 billion) in Malaysia’s history, in a bid to boost economic resilience and safeguard the wellbeing of Malaysians. With a core focus on recovery and catalyzing reform, Budget 2022 has been evaluated by many analysts and economists.
Recently, Benedict Weerasena, Economist of Bait Al-Amanah was interviewed by Jason Thomas, Free Malaysia Today reporter on his thoughts on the newly announced budget.
Weerasena highlighted the reforms promoted in Budget 2022 which are necessary for good governance, accountability, and transparency. For instance, the Pre-Budget Statement encourages meaningful discussion between ministries and stakeholders and also helps set appropriate public expectations of the budget. In addition, the Ministry of Finance released 4 Public Consultation Papers covering topics on improving Government procurement, cash assistance, tax incentives and fiscal responsibility.
Besides that, the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) was introduced, which aims to improve governance, accountability, and transparency in the country’s fiscal management as a way to ensure fiscal sustainability and to support macroeconomics stability. The Government is also collaborating with the World Bank in conducting the Public Expenditure Review in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of public spending without undermining public service delivery. With that, the Government hopes to improve the productivity in public spending in order to optimize every ringgit of the rakyat’s money.
Weerasena also highlighted how measures such as the RM25 million set aside for orphans of parents who died from Covid-19 under the Yayasan Keluarga Malaysia also contributed to Budget 2022’s inclusiveness. “The other examples of inclusivity are the RM70 million allocation for mental health programmes and the free monthly personal hygiene kits for around 130,000 teenage girls from B40 households,” he added.
Weerasena also hailed the new mechanism of the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) scheme which takes into account household size, instead of applying a one-size-fits-all approach. “This is highly important to prevent concealing the different economic realities faced by households with a higher number of dependents.”
“However, the cash assistance should be disbursed based on the latest available household income classification data and on a revised poverty line income, accounting for the effects of the pandemic. This is to prevent exclusion error of outliers trapped in poverty which have long fallen through the cracks and also households that have recently fallen into poverty”.
For a brief overview of the interview, please refer to Free Malaysia Today youtube channel.
*Please refer to the attachment below for the full Free Malaysia Today Article:
**For more information, please refer to the attachment below for Benedict Weerasena’s Budget 2022 Presentation at the recent Budget 2022: Recovery, Resilience, Reform Webinar by Higher Education Malaysia Association (HEYA)