Is There A lack Of Vision And Detail In Budget 2022?

By Iffah Salleh

Many applaud the government’s efforts with all of the initiatives offered in Budget 2022, but some believe the budget allocates a large sum based on a great speech by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, but they didn’t see the details on how the funds will be spent.

Titled “Epilog: Budget 2021” Dr Lee Hwok Aun Senior Fellow of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Datuk M Nizam Mashar Chairman of IDRIS, Dato Dr Madeline Berma Honorary Professor UNIMAS, and Prof Madya Dr Mohd Yusof Saari Economy Analyst as the panellist had a serious discussion on the Budget.

In general, they say the Budget focuses too much on recovery but fails to tackle the previous problems that remain unsolved.

They also believe the budget did not disclose in detail where the money goes.

According to Nizam, “The budget ignores or downplays five structural issues identified in the RMK12. I don’t see where the government prioritises them in the big picture.

“So, can this year solve the problem that is mentioned in the RMK12, and with this year’s budget 2022 depicting Malaysia as a third-world country, for example, providing sanitary napkins to the B40 group, are they implying that our country is regressing?

“What’s more, our nation’s structural problems have yet to be resolved, and this year’s budget is the same as last year’s, so what’s new?”

Madeleine agrees to say she didn’t see anything new in the budget as well. But she is emphatic that PerantiSiswa’s education aid, in which students will be given tablets to help them comply with the new norms, is not helping education and should be labelled as “Lost Learning Generation.”

“Simply providing gadgets is not enough. Quality education is required.” The government’s intentions are good, but in terms of higher education quality, it is regressing rather than progressing.

“The concept of continuity is lacking in the government. The previous budget did offer an internet cafe in a remote location. It’s still there now, but I don’t see anyone maintaining it. I’m afraid this is yet another one-time assistance”, she explains.

The budget this year, according to Lee, is mostly a rebranding of the previous budget with a few enhancements, particularly in the Bantuan Keluarga, which he applauds.

As stated in the speech, the initiative to help with the unemployment rate does not guarantee that people will secure a job.

“Malaysia’s job guarantee aid for 600,000 people appears to have been stuffed at the last minute because it is more like an employment subsidy for employers than a “Must Guarantee Secure A Job” requirement”, Lee says.

Meanwhile, Yusof agrees that the budget does not disclose everything, but he did see the budget’s vision. As he demonstrates, the budget prioritises fixing the country’s economy.

He also states that the budget supports the RMP12, but he agrees the Budget presentation this year was vague.

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