Tuesday, July 23

Govt to set up 2 committees to reduce fiscal deficit – Guan Eng


Lim Guan Eng

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Government will set up two committees to help reduce the country’s fiscal deficit to 2.8 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

He said the setting up of the Public Finance Committee and the Tax Reform Committee was also part of the continuous fiscal consolidation agenda without undermining the economic growth and prosperity of the people.

“Yesterday, I chaired the first focus group discussion that dwelled on ways to improve the financial condition of the Federal Government.

“Among the specific topics discussed were ways to diversify government revenues, optimise government spending and rationalise the debt and liabilities of the Federal Government which has soared to RM1.087 trillion due to irregularities and weakness of governance in the previous government.

“To achieve the goal, the two new committees will be established by the government,” he said in a statement today.

Lim said the Public Finance Committee would provide a medium-term fiscal plan, while pursuing a fiscal consolidation agenda by taking into account the government’s needs to improve the well-being of the people and support economic growth through its expenditure.

He said the committee would be chaired by him, as chairman, and joined by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Yunus as members.

Lim said that the Tax Reform Committee would review the overall tax system to make it more efficient, neutral and progressive to help spur high-quality economic growth without burdening the people.

“Among the measures to be taken are ways to minimise tax leakages and evasion,” he said.

He said the government was considering several proposals such as releasing its stakes in some non-critical and non-strategic companies without compromising market stability, while conducting public land auctions through a planned system and open tender.

Public lands had been sold at very low prices to parties with political connections by the previous government and this act has reduced the government revenues, he said.

In terms of macroeconomics, he said the government would always ensure that the economy and local markets would be developed in a stable manner.

“However, it need to be emphasised that, as with other countries, the performance of the local capital market, as well as the strength of the ringgit is affected by global development,” he said.

On Budget 2019, Lim asked all Malaysians to participate in its preparation process by posting their proposals on belanjawan2019.treasury.gov.my website, or by sharing their ideas with the government on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using hashtag # budget budget2019 from Aug 28 until Sept 30.

Budget 2019 will be tabled in Parliament on Nov 2. – Bernama