Dr M: Where’s Source of Funds for Budget 2021?

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Dr Mahathir Mohamad today questioned the source of funds for the RM322.5 billion Budget 2021 and the unnecessary allocations to certain agencies.

Debating the spending bill in the Dewan Rakyat today, the Langkawi MP said unlike the previous budgets, no new taxes were introduced to fund the budget.

“We don’t need this big of a budget, unless it is to overcome social, economic (challenges) or to contain the spread of Covid-19. There are expenditures which can be held back temporarily while we spend to fight Covid-19 and economic downturn.”

The former prime minister also drew attention to the bloated cabinet and the 520% increase in allocations earmarked for various ministries and agencies, including for office upgrades.

“Many have been appointed as ministers, deputy ministers. They are ministers, but they cannot work because of the virus. We can reduce their numbers without disrupting the administration process.”

Putrajaya’s revenue will take a hit with the absence of a new tax regime, especially amid a backdrop of economic downturn.

In addition, the budget will also be a deficit one.

“If there are not enough funds, the government will have to take (on) debt. The government’s debt will increase to RM1.3 trillion,” he said, adding that it won’t be able to pare down debts if it borrows more to service existing debts.

The RM160million to upgrade the premises of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the RM231million for the Home Ministry’s office are among the unnecessary expenditures.

“The allocation for the Prime Minister’s Department was increased from RM7.9 billion in 2020 to RM11.7 billion (and) RM1 billion for special projects.

“What is the need to spend RM125 million for the Angkasapuri project? We should postpone this project.”

He said Malaysia still needs to clear the debts linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd to the tune of RM39 billion.

The RM3billion allocation for Covid-19, which is less than 1% of the Budget, also goes to show that the government is not serious about the pandemic, he said.

Although Budget 2021 saw the highest allocation in history, it doesn’t address the problems faced by the people, he said. – TMI