AP

Malaysia helps poor, raises taxes for rich in 2023 budget

Feb 24, 2023, 4:40 AM | Updated: 4:44 am

In this photo released by Malaysia's Department of Information, Malaysia's Prime Minister and Finan...

In this photo released by Malaysia's Department of Information, Malaysia's Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim delivers his 2023 budget speech at the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. (Malaysia's Department of Information via AP)

(Malaysia's Department of Information via AP)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia will raise development spending and plans new taxes for the wealthy in a smaller budget plan this year, as the new government seeks to balance between spurring economic growth and reining in the budget deficit.

Three months after his election victory, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim unveiled a 386.1 billion ringgit ($87 billion) national budget in Parliament on Friday that focuses on helping people grappling with the rising cost of living amid an economic slowdown.

Fuel and other subsidies, along with cash aid for the poor, farmers and industries are being retained, and new incentives will aim to tackle youth unemployment and bolster foreign investment. Anwar said the income tax system will also be rejigged to lower taxes for some 2.4 million middle-income earners but raise taxes for those in the high-income group.

Anwar, who is also finance minister, said the government plans to introduce a luxury goods tax this year and is considering a capital gains tax. The budget also proposed 97 billion ringgit ($21.9 billion) in development spending, up from 71.6 billion ($16.1 billion) last year.

But Anwar said the country faced key challenges including a high national debt, global economic slowdown and slow recovery in foreign investment.

He said Malaysia’s economy is forecast to expand at 4.5%, down sharply from 8.7% last year. He said the country needs to improve its public finances, as national debt and liabilities had surged to over 1.5 trillion ringgit ($338 billion), or 80% of gross domestic product.

While spending by previous governments rose to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Anwar said billions of dollars were also lost due to corruption and leakage. He said projects awarded by the previous government without public tenders have been canceled and that new tenders will be called to ensure transparency. His government is aiming to narrow the budget deficit to 5% of GDP this year, from 5.6% last year.

“A major shift is needed … a shift to fight corruption that has denied our people opportunities to enjoy a more meaningful life, to good governance in our spending and to socio-economic empowerment,” he said. “We may have different political views, but don’t let our differences prevent us from making real changes.”

Anwar’s alliance formed a unity government with other smaller parties after November’s election led to a hung Parliament. He faces another test with elections due in six states in the next few months that would determine the strength of his government against a strong Islamic-dominated opposition.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

2 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

3 days ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

5 days ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

6 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

6 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Malaysia helps poor, raises taxes for rich in 2023 budget