Mahathir: The bigger the budget, the larger the debt

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Irresponsible to render the repayment to the future governments.

Having the biggest national budget is nothing to be proud of as it will also result in larger debt, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad when debating Budget 2022 in the Dewan Rakyat today.

“As the government’s estimated revenue for next year is just RM234 billion, there will be a shortfall of RM98 billion.

“Where will this come from, if not from borrowings?” said the Langkawi MP when debating the RM332.1 billion Supply Bill that was tabled last Friday.

The 96-year-old two-time prime minister said that raising the debt limit to 65% of GDP will not reduce Malaysia’s RM1 trillion debt.

“While it is easy to come up with a budget that everyone likes due to higher allocations, it’s irresponsible to render the repayment to the future governments.

“The government should be more prudent so as to not burden the future generations. And in this respect, it is disappointing that Budget 2022 has not said anything about how it plans to reduce expenditure,” said Dr Mahathir who heads Pejuang.

He said that government could have saved some money by digitising its services and privatisation.

One project that the government should not have gone into is the 5G rollout, which is being handled by a special purpose vehicle, Digital Nasional Bhd.

He questioned the rationale for the government to be involved in a multi-billion-ringgit project that should be handled by existing telecommunication companies.

“It should have allowed the private sector to undertake this project and save billions in the national budget. Moreover, the government neither has the skills or expertise to handle this kind of services.”

Similarly, Dr Mahathir said that the government could save a lot of money in Budget 2022.

“Although the pandemic and economic downturn require extra spending, I believe a responsible government will reduce the budget so that it does not become a burden in the future.

“As such, I hope the government will review the budget as having the largest budget is nothing to be proud of. This bigger the budget, the larger the debt,” said the Pejuang chairman. – TMI