Dato’ Speaker Sir,
I beg to move the Bill entitled “An Act to apply a sum from the Consolidated Fund for the service of the year 2023 and to appropriate that sum for the service of that year” be read a second time.
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and good afternoon.
1. Allah decreed in Surah Yusuf, verse 55:
ِِنىِى ََِِظٌ عَِلظٌۭ ۖ ْل ْ َرْض ِ ٱ عَلَى ٰ خَزَ آئِنِ جْعَْلنِى ٱ ََ الَ ق
Nabi Yusuf said, “Put me in charge of the store-houses of the land (Egypt), for I am truly reliable and adept.”
2. This story was recorded when the King of Egypt Raja Al-Aziz was worried about the seven years of economic downturn that was forecasted for the land, after many years of prosperity.
3. According to the great scholar Muhammad al-Tahir Ibn Ashur, this verse describes the situation when the Prophet Yusuf AS offered his service for the benefit of the ummah and the nation.
4. In an expected economic downturn, two major features become prerequisite to the success of budget management.
First: Trustworthiness, honesty, transparency in savings and spending.
During this chaotic time, the question that needs to be raised is how many are stricken with poverty and impoverishment. Are the funds channelled in the right manner to avoid leakages and wastage?
Second: Quick actions based on knowledge; will there be swift, smart and sensible actions in planning and organising the framework of the national budget.
5. Therefore, Budget 2023, which I formulate as Belanjawan MADANI, reflects the principles of accountability and pure value system that can address the current challenges including the highly uncertain global economic challenge.
6. After listening to the rakyat’s grievances and your booming voices in this august Hall, I choose to lay before you a Budget that presents the hard facts and figures, and which does not attempt to delude the people with beguiling facts.
7. I will begin by laying out the facts and challenges that choke our economy, and the challenges that we and the country face. Do we have the political will to make the necessary leap and changes that can drive growth and eradicate greed among those in power?
First: The Government inherited a high debt burden
Second: Malaysia is experiencing a decline in governance
o Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2022 ranking has plummeted to rank 61 when compared to rank 29 in 1998. Transparency International Malaysia attributed this decline to a failure in curbing political corruption.
o The Auditor General's report for 2020 and 2021 recorded leakage of almost RM3 billion, which cover loss of public money, wastage, and irregular payments. For example, regarding the under-collection of import duties for vehicles, the Government suffered a loss of RM72 million due to weak duty import collection processes.
o In addition, there exists leakages in the diesel subsidy implementation with almost RM10 billion worth of diesel subsidy estimated to be misappropriated last year.
o These are proofs of the various transgressions that have badly impacted the country. They must be stopped if we want this country to stride forward with strength and glory. We are the ones who determine whether the country’s future will stagnate, surge, or subjugate.
Third: The country needs to navigate the global economic uncertainty
Fourth: Investments have not recovered to pre-pandemic levels
Fifth: Economic challenges that affect the rakyat
8. These are honest and real snapshots of the economic situation that we inherited together. Therefore, Belanjawan MADANI needs to have the capability to muster the strength and energy to forge a new direction.
9. Ergo, I would like to use this opportunity to call upon political leaders, ministry leaders, civil servants, in addition to businesses and ordinary citizens to believe that our country is capable of making that leap, and be an example not only to our neighbouring countries in the region but the whole world too, and at the same time instil confidence among the rakyat.
10. As affirmed in Al-Quran, when Allah SWT proclaimed in Surah Hud, verse 88:
َُ نْ أُرِ ظدُ َِِّلا اْل ِْصَْل َ حَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ ۚ وَمَا تَوْ فِظقِي َِِّلا بِاللاـهِۚ عَلَظْهِ تَوَكاْلتُ وَ ِِلَظْهِ أُنِظب
I only intend to reform to the best of my ability. My success comes only through Allah. In Him I trust and to Him I turn.
11. We must admit that the culture of waste and corruption needs to be eradicated. Therefore, I choose to present a Budget framework that is based on the spirit of reform to set a new and fresh policy direction — and bury the preconception that we will defend the status quo and interests of the super-rich.
“The night has ended. Put out the lamp in the narrow corner stained with soot.
A new morning dawns for everyone in the East, let its light illuminate our meaningful path.”
12. The 2023 Budget will be the first step in laying the Malaysia MADANI Development framework. Today's presentation will focus on 12 main thrusts based on three pillars, namely:
First: Inclusive and sustainable economic growth
Second: Institutional reforms and good governance to restore confidence
Third: Social justice to bridge inequality
THRUST 1: FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY
13. We are at a critical juncture in history. This administration is determined, based on the principle of accountability, to manage the fiscal position including the debt issues and at the same time continue to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
First: Expansionary Fiscal Policy
14. World Bank and Fitch analyses expect the country’s GDP to grow by 4% in 2023, factoring in the challenging global economic outlook.
15. The Government projects a moderate economic growth of around 4.5%, buoyed by the confidence of a strengthening domestic economy.
16. In fact, taking into account the efforts to implement improvements and reforms under this administration, I am confident that the country will exceed the projected GDP growth of 4.5%. This will certainly be driven by the comprehensive measures in Budget 2023 that will drive stronger sustainable growth, as well as renew international investors’ confidence to stimulate the national economy.
17. The Government expects revenue collection for 2023 to total RM291.5 billion compared to RM294.4 billion last year. This, however, does not consider additional revenue streams which will increase our yearly revenue to a higher level.
18. This administration takes an expansionary fiscal approach in an effort to support economic growth, so that the spillover effects can be enjoyed by everyone.
19. Budget 2023 will allocate RM388.1 billion, with RM289.1 billion for operating expenditure, RM99 billion for development expenditure, which includes RM2 billion as contingency savings.
20. In line with the expansionary fiscal policy, development expenditure will be increased to RM97 billion compared to RM71.6 billion last year. This increase is to focus on programmes to eradicate poverty, as well as improve public infrastructure and rural facilities. Through improved Government procurement processes, we will ensure that this additional expenditure is fully utilised for the rakyat’s interests.
Second: Managing Debt Levels
21. Based on the principle of accountability, the Government will reduce the fiscal deficit in 2023 to 5% compared to 5.6% in 2022.
22. The Government is determined to achieve a sustainable fiscal deficit in the medium term with a target of 3.2% of GDP by 2025, subject to continued strong economic growth.
23. To curb the increase in debt, new loans must be lower and only taken for the purpose of development that brings benefit and impact to the rakyat.
24. The Fiscal Responsibility Bill will be presented to Parliament this year. This Bill is to ensure greater transparency and accountable management of the economy to prevent the possibility of continued transgressions in the future.
Third: Expanding the Government Revenue Base
25. Allah SWT decreed in surah Al-Hasyr, verse 7:
ْ ْ دُ وَْلةً ۢ باي ْ نا اْل ْ اغْ نِياۤاءِ مِ نْكُم ك َيْ َل ا ايكُ وْ نا
“... Whatever (from the possessions of the townspeople) Allah has bestowed on His Messenger belongs to Allah, and to the Messenger, and to his kinsfolk, and to the orphans, and to the needy, and to the wayfarer so that it may not merely circulate between the rich among you.”
26. Taking lessons from this verse, the Government is committed to upholding social justice. Fair revenue distribution does not mean equal treatment across the board but instead, based on needs.
27. The Department of Statistics reported that the top 20% group (T20) own 47% or nearly half of total household income. Whereas from the angle of EPF funds, the T20 group owns 80% of total EPF savings.
28. Considering that the income and wealth of the nation are concentrated amongst the elite and the super-wealthy, it would be reasonable for the distribution of our national resources to prioritise the low- and middle-income groups.
29. The Government will therefore take a progressive approach in the context of targeted subsidy or tax structure, to protect the less fortunate and seek the understanding of the more affluent rakyat to share this responsibility together.
30. Among the measures that have been introduced include:
31. The Government has no plans to implement wide-based consumption taxes, such as Goods and Services Tax (GST). Given the current situation where the majority of the rakyat are still struggling, food inflation exceeding 5%, and low wages, it is evident that now is not a suitable time to introduce and implement such a tax.
32. The Government is taking a more progressive approach as a new step to expand the tax base to those with means.
33. The Government plans to impose an excise duty on liquid or gel products containing nicotine used for electronic cigarettes and vapes. Although nicotine-containing vape products are still illegal under the law, in reality they are widely sold and estimated to be worth over RM2 billion. It would be better if its use is regulated and taxed.
34. The Government supports the Generational Endgame (GEG) initiative and agrees that half of the excise duty collected from this will be re-allocated to the Ministry of Health to improve the quality of health services.
35. To reduce leakages, Government enforcement agencies in collaboration with the industry will intensify enforcement efforts to curb the leakage of proceeds and subsidies due to smuggling syndicates such as diesel, alcohol, and cigarettes.
36. The Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) will reintroduce a voluntary disclosure programme. Through this programme, a 100% penalty waiver will be granted for voluntary disclosures from 1 June 2023 to 31 May 2024.
THRUST 2: FULFILLING THE PEOPLE’S ECONOMIC NEEDS
Dato’ Speaker Sir,
37. I share an excerpt of the letter sent by Saidina Ali Abi Talib to the Governor candidate for Egypt, Malik Ashtar, as a lesson for all of us:
فربما حدث من األمور ما اذا عولت فيه عليهم من بعد احتملوه طيبة أنفسهم
بالعب ر يعوز أهلها إلش ر اف أنفس الوالة عىل الجمع وسوء ظنهم بالبقاء وقلة انتفاعهم به فإن العمران محتمل ما حملته، وإنما يؤت ى خراب األرض من إعواز أهلها وإنما
"...and the circumstances may so be that you may have to ask for their assistance, and they will bear it happily. With their prosperity, they will certainly be able to bear whatever you load on it. Yet the ruin of the land is caused by rulers who are bent feverishly on accumulating wealth at all costs"
38. The Government is cognisant that there are still businesses that have been affected by the pandemic especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Belanjawan MADANI will ensure local MSMEs are again competitive and able to increase their business capacity. Various facilities including tax cuts and financing are made available to support these businesses.
First: Reduction in Tax Rate
39. I am pleased to announce that the Government agrees that from assessment year 2023, the MSMEs’ rate on taxable income for the first RM150,000 will be reduced from 17% to 15%. This reduction in tax rate is expected to provide savings of up to RM3,000 to 150,000 MSME taxpayers.
Second: Facilitating Hawkers and Small Traders
40. I often emphasise the futility of having large buildings, while the plight of the rakyat eking out a living on small scale business activities is ignored. The rakyat’s economy must be dignified, their needs met. This nation is already famous for its mega projects and landmarks, but I also want the nation to be known for small business facilities that are excellent, clean and visually appealing.
41. To manifest this intention, the Government will provide RM50 million to build and upgrade 3,000 stalls and kiosks as facilities for small hawkers at key locations across the country.
42. In addition, RM176 million will be provided to upgrade business premises and facilities among those under MARA, DBKL, Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad (PUNB) dan Urban Development Authority (UDA).
Third: Providing Financing and Guarantee Facilities
43. Government agencies will continue to provide various financing facilities and guarantees for the benefit of MSME entrepreneurs with a total value of up to RM40 billion.
44. Micro entrepreneurs and small businesses will be provided with access to financing through agencies such as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), BSN, and TEKUN with available funds totalling RM1.7 billion.
45. For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), almost RM10 billion is provided by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), among others to reduce SMEs’ financial burden and encourage their business development.
46. Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP) will guarantee up to RM20 billion in SME loans where key sectors such as high technology, agriculture, and manufacturing are provided with a government guarantee of up to 90%. Guarantees will also be expanded to financing by non-banking financial institutions such as credit leasing companies and cooperatives to specifically benefit small businesses.
THRUST 3: FACING DISASTERS
First: Readiness in Facing Disasters
47. I have stressed that direct procurements done in haste without proper scrutiny will only waste the rakyat’s money, especially in relation to the Flood Mitigation Projects. Particularly when these projects are of utmost importance and will incur huge costs. The reckless approval done by the past government has been cancelled and is currently under the investigation and action of the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Attorney General Chamber.
48. To ensure that the Flood Mitigation Projects really achieve their goals, projects that are rakyat centric and have high impact must go through the tender process to ensure the best value and savings to the Government.
49. For example, the country is expected to save RM2 billion from the RM15 billion allocated previously for flood mitigation projects. Therefore, procurements must undergo the tender process.
50. This year, six flood mitigation projects will be retendered without delay latest by June 2023, including:
51. The performance of our rescue team in Türkiye was outstanding and brought us pride. We hope this achievement can be translated into better disaster management and disaster readiness at the national level. As preparation for natural disasters:
Second: Instilling Green Practices
52. Allah SWT decreed in Surah Ar-Rum, verse 41:
ظَرْ جِعُوْ نَ لَعَلاهٌُْۭ عَمِ لُوْ ا الاذِيْ بَعْضَ ِلظُذِظْقَهٌُْۭ النااس ِ اَظْدِى كَسَبَتْ بِمَا وَ الْبََْرِ الْبَرِى فِى الَِْسَادُ ٌَهَرَ
Corruption has spread on land and sea as a result of what people’s hands have done; so that Allah may cause them to taste (the consequences of) some of their deeds and perhaps they might return (to the Right Path). Surah Ar-Rum (Verse 41)
53. Unbridled greed that plunders the earth’s riches and unchecked logging are amongst the main culprits leading to major natural disasters. Aside from pursuing economic development, it is important to shape a quality of life that is sustainable and balances the relationship between humans and nature.
54. The Administration’s promise is to join hands with all parties to protect the country’s natural treasure, towards a greener future for all. This includes preserving nature’s biodiversity and forest management while at the same time reducing the state government’s dependence on timber revenue.
55. The Government will continue to encourage green practices in business operations.
THRUST 4: ACHIEVING HIGH IMPACT INVESTMENTS
First: Facilitating Investments
56. It is worrying to note that the country’s innovation level is still low while investment value has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels. New initiatives are needed to boost the ecosystem, as well as attract more meaningful investments that will catalyse economic growth and job opportunities with respectable wage.
57. To stimulate investment in high-impact and high-technology sectors, in line with the New Investment Policy:
58. A Bank Negara Malaysia study shows that the benefits from foreign direct investments (FDI) have been narrowing following higher incentives against low value-added investments. Malaysia has more than 100 types of incentives and more than 30 investment promotion agencies (IPAs). With changes in global trends following technological advancements and climate change, an evolution of Malaysia’s incentives is needed to support economic activities.
59. Advancing forward, the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030 will be announced in the third quarter of 2023 to outline the future development of the industrial sector, focused on high quality activities and the employment of local talents.
60. Among the main issues facing foreign investors is the lack of local talent that enable them to invest and operate in Malaysia. At the same time, we are providing scholarships to more than 1,000 engineering students every year to study in Japan, Korea, France, and Germany.
Second: Investments in Key Sectors
61. Malaysia has a huge potential in electrical and electronics (E&E) and aerospace sectors. The Government therefore plans to:
62. Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd will allocate up to RM6 billion for strategic financing specifically to encourage the sustainable agenda and automation, aside from equity support and revolving working capital for high potential companies that are still affected by Covid-19.
63. The Government will mandate Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) as Malaysia’s global financial hub. TRX needs to attract the global financial industry to become the main destination for high-value FDI that will strengthen our business ecosystem.
64. The Government also plans to boost the growth of Iskandar Malaysia in Johor through the introduction of special financial zone with a competitive incentive package to attract international investors and knowledge workers to be based in Malaysia.
65. To support and attract inbound investors, business owners as well as tourists, the Government plans to expand and increase the capacity of Penang International Airport and Subang International Airport. This expansion plan, which will be led by MAHB, is expected to translate into economic benefits at much lower costs, compared to the previous proposal to build a new airport in Kulim which was expected to cost RM7 billion.
66. Focus will also be given to support the development of Sanglang Port in Perlis to handle petroleum cargo and bulk cargo which will give value add to the Perlis local economy. At the same time, the Government will build new coastal erosion structures between Kuala Sanglang, Perlis to Kuala Jerlun in Kubang Pasu, Kedah.
67. To support the growth of international trade, the Government supports the proposal to develop a new mega-port in Carey Island by the private sector. The project is expected to bolster Klang Port as a major shipping hub for the Asia Pacific region.
Third: Economy and Islamic Finance
68. Plenty of our family members used to save money under their pillows. From there, I realised the importance of an Islamic bank that operates on the principle of social justice, zero riba’ to convince not only Muslims but also non-Muslims to invest and save in this banking system that is now used globally.
69. Alhamdulillah, Malaysia continues to lead the global Islamic finance sector since it was introduced four decades ago with the operationalisation of Bank Islam in 1983. We also maintained our top ranking in the global sukuk market and lead in Islamic finance expertise.
70. Despite these grand achievements, the Islamic finance sector has still not reached its full potential based on values to fulfil contemporary economic and social needs.
71. The Ministry of Finance, Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia emphasise improving Islamic financing offerings that are based on equity with risk-sharing concepts such as Mudarabah and Musyarakah.
72. BNM has also introduced the Climate Risk Management and Scenario Analysis, Towards A Greener Financial System and Financial Inclusion Framework 2023-2026. At the global level, the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) have also published the Sustainability Guide for Islamic Financial Institutions.
73. With regards to EPF syariah savings, which has been introduced since 2017, syariah savings assets are currently invested alongside syariah-compliant assets
in conventional savings. From 2024, syariah savings assets will be fully separated to give competitive returns to the 1.25 million members who own syariah accounts.
74. In line with the MADANI framework, waqf method is one of the redistributive mechanisms that contribute to universal prosperity.
75. So far, only around 3,500 hectares or 12% of registered waqf land have been successfully developed. Fresh efforts in developing waqf land and assets need to be continuously explored.
76. I am pleased to inform that the Government has received a private commitment to establish Wakaf MADANI comprising assets worth more than RM1 billion. These assets, which comprise land, mosque, building, health and education facilities, will be optimised for the benefit of the poor, low-income earners, and other vulnerable groups.
THRUST 5: PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM
Dato' Speaker Sir,
77. I want to prove that there is a Malay who uses his power to protect and fight for the rakyat of this country. I want to prove that a Muslim will be respected and trusted because his principles uphold justice and truth.
78. The Unity Government will resolutely implement institutional reforms and good governance to eliminate the chances of creating systemic corruption and malpractices.
79. All Government agencies, including IRB, MACC, and the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), are actively investigating corruption, including names linked to the Pandora Papers. These agencies will also continue to probe extraordinary wealth to stop the ills of corruption from spreading.
80. The rakyat is impatient for change; I too am impatient to implement reforms to ensure Government services are expedited, simplified, and transparent.
First: Transparency In Government Procurement
81. Implementation of Government procurement, for example, must be transparent and open, based on good governance practices. There should be no waste of public money and flouting of laws using the direct negotiation method.
82. The fact is, the RM15 billion flood mitigation projects, the RM7 billion Janawibawa and other projects made through direct negotiations have been cancelled.
83. Once some of them are re-tendered transparently, the country is expected to save up to RM3 billion. These major savings can be reallocated for projects that benefit the rakyat.
84. The Government in 2019 had proposed to table the Government Procurement Act in this august House, however it was postponed during the previous administration. This Unity Government intends to expedite the tabling of this Act.
85. All this while, there have been people who become suspicious, afraid, and feel pressured when asked to disclose information. The Government intends to amend and table the Whistleblower Protection Act this year to provide protection to informants, in order to ensure that the effort to combat corruption and misconduct becomes effective.
Second: Accelerating People's Infrastructure Projects
86. It is unthinkable that the rakyat continues to face the issue of dilapidated schools and clinics in this day. I do not want this to persist. If the project is delayed due to adherence to procedures, what is the point of being the Government if we cannot facilitate? This needs to be resolved this year.
87. On the same topic, the issue of increasing road accidents must also be addressed immediately. Especially if they are caused by weaknesses in Government procedures in resolving road safety issues.
Third: Encourage Ministries and Agencies to Innovate
88. We can no longer tolerate outdated work cultures, unreasonable regulations, and delaying procedures. There are still many Government services that utilise agents, which has led to the systemic practice of corruption.
89. Government services must be agile in adapting to technology and digital means to reduce bureaucracy. A mindset shift is also required to enable the public service to best serve the rakyat, without being confined to each respective ministry or agency.
Fourth: Dealing with Rakyat's Issues
90. Online fraud or scams have become critical. In 2022 alone, more than 25,000 of such crimes were recorded with a loss of RM850 million. Although the Government has established the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC), there is a lack of consistent policy in managing this issue due to differing guidelines amongst the banking institutions. In order to strengthen the role of NSRC, a total of RM10 million has been allocated as an operational grant.
91. Bank Negara will also enforce a "kill switch" policy to all banking institutions, to enable users to freeze their accounts immediately, including ATM cards, to prevent unauthorised use.
92. People who are declared bankrupt are entitled to a second chance. As of January, more than 260,000 bankruptcy cases have been recorded involving majority of Malay youths, who have the potential to contribute back to the national economy.
93. Prisoners also deserve a new lease in life. To ensure their successful reintegration into society, ex-prisoners will continue to receive adequate training through the Skill for Inmate Programme. Employers are also encouraged to employ ex-prisoners, including former residents of Henry Gurney School and JKM protection and rehabilitation institutions, and are eligible for additional tax deductions. The Agro Penjara programme, which involves prisoners in agricultural activities on a 70-hectare prison land, will be further strengthened with an allocation of RM10 million.
94. The Unity Government is proactive about the safety of our society, especially women and children. However, problems involving women and children are still
at a worrying level.
95. Companies that provide consumer credit services such as factoring companies and Buy Now Pay Later services need to be regulated to protect the rights of consumers. To ensure fair treatment and protect the rights of the rakyat and businesses, the Government will enact the Consumer Credit Act that is expected to be tabled this year, and establish a Consumer Credit Monitoring Board to regulate credit businesses.
96. To help the underprivileged in obtaining fair and impartial representation, the Legal Aid Department will raise the eligibility limit for total legal aid from RM30,000 to RM50,000. The scope of the Legal Aid Department will also be expanded to cover civil and Syariah cases. Moving forward, the Government will closely examine an initiative to enact a special Act to provide free legal aid for criminal cases so that the underprivileged too have access to justice.
Fifth: Institutional Reform
97. The Government is pursuing efforts to reform public service institutions that are seen to have overlapping jurisdictions and almost similar functions. This effort also includes the possibility of full independence and separation from remunerations for Federal Statutory Bodies that are self-sustaining. This effort is important to reduce dependency on the Federal Government.
98. Centralising government bodies with similar functions aims to make them more effective in carrying out their mandates.
THRUST 6: EMPOWERING PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
99. We must forge partnerships that leverage on each other’s strengths, where the Government facilitates, while the private sector drives economic growth, invests, and creates jobs.
First: Partnership with Industry for the Implementation of TVET
100. Not only is youth unemployment high, in fact, we are also trapped in an underemployment situation whereby people are not paid salaries that are commensurate with their qualifications.
101. The data indicates that 90% of TVET graduates get a job, but 90% earn a low income of only around RM2,000 per month. This is despite the Government spending up to RM6.7 billion for TVET. This is unacceptable and reforms must be implemented to ensure that 90% of TVET graduates receive a salary of more than RM2,000.
102. An initiative that should be emulated is the collaboration between the Penang state government and the electrical & electronic industry players that successfully provide jobs with respectable wages for TVET graduates. Companies such as Intel, Motorola, and Inari have benefitted from the Penang Skills Development Centre to organise training programmes based on their needs.
103. The Government intends to emulate and pilot this model involving Federal TVET institutions with a target involvement of 50 companies, especially among GLCs.
o PETRONAS to lead the oil & gas cluster in Pengerang, Kimanis, Batu Rakit, and Miri;
o DRB Hicom for the automotive cluster in Pekan;
o Sunway for the hospitality cluster; and
o MRCB for the construction cluster.
104. To strengthen industry cooperation, the National Dual Training Scheme (SLDN) was bolstered with an allocation of RM50 million to benefit more than 8,000 trainees. The Academy in Factory programme will be carried out to provide on-the-job training opportunities to more than 50,000 trainees.
Second: Incentives to Provide Jobs with Meaningful Income
105. The Government will continue to encourage the private sector to pay higher wages.
106. The Government also encourages the youth to improve their capability and skills to earn a more meaningful salary.
107. To help address youth unemployment, GLCs will offer 35,000 career opportunities to school leavers and graduates.
108. The palm oil sector has suffered a RM20 billion revenue loss due to policy that limits the employment of workers, especially foreign workers. With the recent amnesty policy, this issue has been almost resolved without involving agents who make high profits.
109. Most high-risk sectors are still reliant on foreign workers. This is due to these sectors offering low wages and worker welfare is not guaranteed.
110. Sime Darby Plantation’s experience has shown that local workers are willing to work in oil palm plantations if the salary is at least RM3,000 and have agile working environment, assisted by mechanisation and automation. They target to employ 100% local workers by the end of 2027.
111. Therefore, the Government will provide RM50 million in matching grants to encourage automation in the plantation sector through the use of robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can employ skilled local workers.
112. Regarding the issue of the oil palm industry, we hold the anti-palm oil movement in contempt, which is still actively perpetrated by international NGOs. It is important for us to act consistently to defend and expand the country's palm industry market. RM80 million is provided to improve the sustainability of the oil palm industry and intensify efforts to counter Anti-Palm Oil Campaigns.
Dato’ Speaker Sir,
113. The Unity Government is sensitive to women’s needs, especially those who have to stop working after their maternity leave to look after their children because the cost of childcare is high.
Third: Matching Fund to Boost the Tourism Sector
114. Our country is rich with an abundance of natural treasures, mesmerising beaches, and diverse flora and fauna. These advantages have the potential to generate significant income through tourism activities in resort islands or heritage areas. To boost this sector, the year 2025 has been announced as Visit Malaysia Year with a target of 23.5 million international tourist arrivals and projected revenue of up to RM76.8 billion.
115. The Government will allocate RM250 million to promote tourism including providing RM115 million matching grant fund to collaborate with the tourism and culture industry.
116. In relation to tourism, traffic congestion has adversely impacted numerous prominent tourist destinations. The Government will implement the following projects:
THRUST 7: PRIORITISING THE DIGITAL AGENDA
First: Internet Connectivity for the People
117. All rakyat have the right to stable Internet access, because it has become a basic necessity in daily life.
118. The Government will accelerate the implementation of the JENDELA project as a national effort to provide access to the Internet. For the year 2023, RM725 million is provided to implement digital connectivity projects at 47 industrial areas and around 3,700 schools.
119. The previous administration has spearheaded the 5G initiative through Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB). By the end of 2022, DNB had achieved 50% coverage of populated areas and is expected to reach 80% coverage by the end of 2023. The Unity Government is now taking an approach where DNB is managed with transparency and inclusivity so that all the industry players will participate. Ultimately, what is important is to achieve comprehensive 5G coverage at an affordable price for the rakyat.
Second: Digitalisation of Business
120. Rakyat’s businesses should also quickly adapt to digital technology so that they can expand the market for their products and services.
THRUST 8: STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT-LINKED COMPANIES AND AGENCIES
121. GLC and GLICs play a huge role as the driving force behind the country’s economy. This year, the cumulative investment value of government-linked companies is estimated to reach RM50 billion. The investment focus includes venture capital in highly innovative startup companies.
First: Highly Innovative Start-Ups
122. I had the opportunity to meet several high-growth innovative companies, some of which have successfully listed on Bursa Malaysia and penetrated the global market.
123. Government agencies will continue to expand capital funding opportunities and attract local talents in highly innovative sectors.
Second: Corporate Social Responsibility
124. GLC and GLIC companies also contribute to the implementation of various programmes for the welfare of the rakyat and the country. These include:
125. This country longs for a Malaysia that respects and cares for each other. Kindness and grace are essential in upholding social justice to ensure the well-being of ALL the rakyat.
THRUST 9: ERADICATING HARDCORE POOR
First: Cash Assistance and Livelihood Initiatives
126. The Government is determined to eradicate hardcore poverty. About 130,000 hardcore poor rakyat, regardless of race, will be immediately helped to lift them out of poverty through more holistic measures.
127. The Government will implement the People's Income Initiative (IPR), which will focus on empowering the poor to increase their income potential. A total of RM750 million is allocated to the Ministry of Economy in 2023 to make IPR successful.
128. Several new approaches will be implemented to overcome the weaknesses of former practices, to increase the ability of hardcore poor households to earn an income, among others:
129. For the same purpose, the Government is currently providing welfare aid worth RM2.5 billion to over 400,000 recipients. To expedite data updates and ensure that no one is left out of receiving this aid, the Government will carry out a whitelisting of recipients of the Government monthly assistance between ICU and JKM in one database.
Second: Role of the State Governments
130. Welcoming the efforts of the Federal Government, both the Premier of Sarawak and the Chief Minister of Sabah have agreed to use part of the petroleum revenue proceeds to Sarawak and Sabah for hardcore poverty-eradication programmes.
131. In line with this, the Ministry of Finance will also allocate a portion of the Kelantan and Terengganu Wang Ehsan to be channelled directly and especially to help the poor.
132. In support of the same goal, the Government has allocated RM30 million to support the efforts made by UNDP and the All Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia to enhance activities related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This includes RM10 million for the community garden programme, which will help support the food security agenda at the parliamentary level.
THRUST 10: MINIMISING COSTS OF LIVING
133. Since steering the country’s administration, the main issue that has been given attention is the rakyat's cost of living. This year the Government will provide up to RM64 billion through subsidies, assistance, and incentives. A large amount of this fund is to minimise the cost of living through price control of essential goods, financial assistance, and providing services to the rakyat.
First: Payung Rahmah Concept
134. In our efforts to deal with the increase in the costs of living, the Unity Government has introduced the Payung Rahmah Concept as the overarching pillar for its efforts to help the poor and vulnerable.
135. One of such efforts is the Menu Rahmah campaign, which offers lunch and dinner sets at only RM5. Alhamdulillah, it is expected that the Menu Rahmah initiative will continue to receive a positive response from entrepreneurs and the rakyat.
136. The Government is very grateful to all entrepreneurs who contributed, even with a small profit, in supporting the rakyat. May this serve as an example for all.
137. The Government also implements the Jualan Rahmah, which offers essential goods that are up to 30% cheaper than the market. The Government will provide RM100 million to make this programme a success in each of the parliamentary constituencies.
138. The Government will also increase the allocation from RM200 million to RM225 million to expand the essential goods distribution programme to 25 new zones including Paloh and Passin, Sarawak; Pasir Raja, Terengganu, and Kuala Krai, Kelantan.
Second: Rahmah Cash Assistance
139. The Government has channelled cash assistance to the B40 group under the Sumbangan Tunai Rahmah (STR) Phase 1 programme. Several reforms have been considered so that affected households benefit more from STR, among others:
140. Overall, STR will help ease the burden of living costs for almost 9 million recipients with an allocation of nearly RM8 billion. Although STR is associated with assistance to B40, considering the number of recipients, STR has benefited more than 60% of Malaysian adults.
141. Finally, not forgetting the 2 million youths aged 18 to 20, the Government will offer an e-Tunai Belia Rahmah credit amounting to RM200 with an allocation of RM400 million.
Third: Assistance for the Farmers and Rubber Smallholders
142. People who earn income as paddy farmers, fishermen, and smallholders will continue to be given appropriate assistance. During the monsoon season, these poor rakyat struggle to earn a living due to the unpredictable weather conditions.
143. To the paddy farmers:
144. The Government is aware of the increased production costs and the decrease in rubber prices which have become a burden to rubber smallholders:
Fourth: M40 Disposable Income
145. All this while, the B40 group has been given various forms of aid while the middle-income group, M40, remained patient despite being tightly squeezed by the increase in the costs of living. I am pleased to announce that the Government has agreed to increase the M40’s disposable income by reducing individual income tax rates which will benefit them more.
146. As I have explained, the Government will take a progressive approach. While the M40 will benefit from a reduction in tax rates, the Government will raise tax rates for those with higher incomes between 0.5% and 2%, for income range 53 of RM100,000 to RM1 million. However, it is expected that fewer than 150,000 taxpayers will be affected by increased tax.
147. Through this approach, this step involves reducing the Government's net tax revenue by up to RM900 million for the benefit of the rakyat, especially the M40 group.
Fifth: Food Security
148. In facing the challenge of rising commodity prices and food supply disruptions, the agro-food sector needs to be revamped by prioritising the sustainability of local food production through automation and digitalisation.
149. Only 1.2 million hectares of national land is used for food crops compared to 7 million hectares for palm oil and rubber crops.
THRUST 11: ENSURING HARMONY AND UNITY
150. The harmony and unity of our nation must always be preserved, regardless of religion or race. Social justice must be upheld to close the development gap among the states and income gap of the rakyat.
151. Unity must remain important and intact, especially in our efforts to resolve the main issues plaguing the nation. The issues faced by the rakyat, who struggle daily with the increased cost of living, are now being thoroughly tackled. We are not trying to implement policies that are half-baked or that favour the elite group, but to ensure that the policies benefit all rakyat.
152. I would like to remind everyone to not ever try to fish in troubled waters by inciting racial hatred. This country will not allow this hateful sentiment to grow. I assure you here that not only will the perpetrators be arrested, but also the purveyors who abuse the right to free expression.
153. In a hadith narrated by Muslim, Prophet Muhamad (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
هَلَكَ المُتَنَطِىعُونَ قالها ثَلثًا
“Those who go to extremes are doomed,” he (prophet) said it three times.”
154. To celebrate diversity and bridge divides, a total of RM50 million has been allocated to support various programmes, including “Kembara Perpaduan Malaysia Madan” and “Ini Warisan Kita”. These programmes will encompass various activities focused on promoting unity and social integration among communities, such as unity sports leagues, cultural competitions, festive celebrations, and culinary events.
155. To promote unity as well as acknowledge the role of parents, communities, and NGOs in the development of school children, the Government agrees to allocate RM20 million to implement the “gotong-royong” programme in all schools nationwide.
156. In addition, an allocation of RM50 million is provided for the maintenance and repair work of non-Muslim houses of worship throughout the country.
First: Development of Sabah and Sarawak
157. Sabah and Sarawak will continue to benefit greatly from the development allocation of RM6.5 billion and RM5.6 billion respectively.
158. Furthermore, more than RM2.5 billion is provided to implement public infrastructure projects, primarily benefitting Sabah and Sarawak. These projects include road and street lighting, as well as water and electricity supply.
159. The Government is committed to continuing and expediting the implementation of the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway and Sarawak-Sabah Link Road, which spans a distance of more than 1,000km with an estimated total cost of RM20 billion.
160. To ease the lives of rakyat living in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, the Government will increase clinic facilities, banks and mobile courts with a total allocation of RM30 million.
161. I have also previously announced the Government’s commitment to delegate approval authority for Federal project procurement to the Technical Department in Sabah and Sarawak for amounts of up to RM50 million to expedite project implementation.
162. Last year, the Federal Government and Sabah state government reached an interim agreement for a special grant subject to the negotiations for a new formula. The Administration is committed to improving the rate of the special grant compared to what was previously agreed and will expedite the negotiation for a new formula for Sabah and Sarawak. For a long time since 1970s, Sarawak only received special grant of RM16 million per year. The Government will increase the amount to at least RM300 million.
Second: Domestic Security and Defence
163. National security will continue to be maintained to ensure peace and harmony. Past weaknesses in procurement governance have affected the nation’s defence readiness. The procurement of LCS ships has cost more than RM6 billion, yet none have been completed. Such transgressions cannot be repeated. From now on, the use of middleman should be eliminated and all dealings should be conducted directly with the governments of relevant countries.
164. For 2023, The Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) and the Ministry of Defence (KEMENTAH) are allocated RM18.5 billion and RM17.7 billion respectively.
165. The welfare aspects of the national armed forces will continue to be maintained.
Third: Syiar Islam
166. The Government has provided allocation related to Islamic affairs totalling RM1.5 billion and we want the Islamic Institutions in this country to become a shining example of administrative efficiency. The most effective management should start here, and this place must become a powerful da’wah hub that promotes the true understanding of Islam.
167. In line with this, I also understand the crucial role played by imams, bilal and teachers in improving the function of the mosque as Allah SWT says in Surah AtTaubah, Verse 18:
الْمُهْتَدِظْنَ مِنَ ظاكُوْ نُوْ ا اَنْ اُولٰٰۤىِٕكَ فَعَسٰٓى َّللا َٰ اَِّلا ظَخْشَ وَ لٌَْۭ الزاكٰ وةَ وَ ٰاتَى الصالٰوةَ وَ اَقَاٌَۭ اَّل ْ ٰخِ رِ وَ اْلظَوْ ٌِۭ بِاّللِٰ ٰامَنَ مَنْ ّللاِٰ مَسٰجِ دَ ظَعْمُرُ اِنامَا
The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided.
168. In appreciation of their services and efforts, the Government agrees to:
Fourth: Sports and Culture
169. Certainly, sports and culture play a crucial role in the spiritual development of society. Beyond being a platform for competition, they also serve as powerful tools for promoting diversity among the rakyat of various races and religions.
170. The Administration will focus on unity programmes that are based on universal virtues. Priority is given to sports, culture, and arts programmes at both school and community levels by ensuring the involvement of youth and different types of schools. A total of RM20 million is allocated for the programme.
171. To ensure the success of these programmes, the Government will provide a matching grant of RM50 million to encourage the private sector’s sponsorship of sports, particularly sports that promote unity, national-level sports tournaments, and sports reality programmes.
172. With regard to national athletes, the Government will continue to enhance the training programmes and sports facilities to benefit all athletes including para-athletes with a total allocation of RM324 million. This allocation will be used to develop a comprehensive sports ecosystem, from talent search to podium events; as well as to maintain and upgrade sports facilities throughout the country.
173. The Government has also agreed to provide tax deduction of up to 10% of aggregate income for individuals or companies that contribute to non-profit organisations that implement sports development programmes at the grassroots level.
174. To maintain and protect the welfare of national athletes, a fund of RM5 million is provided to the National Athlete Welfare Foundation (YAKEB) starting 2023. At the same time, the Government has also proposed a tax deduction for employers who hire former national athletes.
- Cultural Arts, Creative Works and Language
175. The Government continues to support the efforts of creative artists in promoting arts and culture. RM102 million has been allocated as Digital Content Fund to encourage the marketing of local art and drive the production of more creative works.
176. The Government proposes a tax deduction for contributions made to the Tabung Komuniti Filem and National Film Development under FINAS. In addition, import duty and sales tax exemptions will be given on studio and filming production equipment.
177. Cultural activities play a major role in creating a united and respectful Madani society. It is also crucial to enrich the diverse art that we have inherited over time. The Government provides an allocation of RM25 million to stimulate cultural and artistic activities at the community level.
178. The cultural empowerment begins with the reading culture that cultivates an interest in classical literature and works of art that encompass the knowledge and heritage of the Malay, Islamic, and Western worlds. The Government supports efforts to enrich and translate great works such as the works of Imam Al-Ghazali, the originator of Maqasid Shariah, Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi, Sheikh Daud Abdullah al-Fatani, and Nuruddin Ali ar-Raniri, as well as the thinker, writer, and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal.
179. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, together with the Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia (ITBM) and Yayasan Karyawan, have been mandated to intensify translation activities and make them popular reading materials. High-quality publishing by local writers will also be increased. A total allocation of RM20 million is provided for this purpose.
180. On 27 January 2023, I announced that we will print one million copies of Al-Quran as a symbol of wisdom and maturity, in response to recent attacks against Islam, such as the burning the Quran in Sweden. For this purpose, RM10 million will be made to Yayasan Restu for the immediate distribution of 20,000 copies of Al-Quran translation in Swedish, as well as other major foreign languages.
THRUST 12: PROVIDING QUALITY BASIC AMENITIES
181. When it comes to the rakyat’s well-being, what needs to be enhanced is the effort to improve essential services, such as public transportation, education, healthcare, and housing.
182. Through the Federal Grant to the state governments based on Tahap Pembangunan Ekonomi, Infrastruktur dan Kesejahteraan Hidup (TAHAP), this year the Government increases the amount to RM400 million compared to RM330 million last year. This grant can be especially helpful for less developed states, including Kedah and Perlis.
183. In a related matter, I want to touch on the issue of allocation to the Member of Parliaments as some parties try to question why it needs to be reduced, as it seems to ignore the welfare of the rakyat. I want to stress here that such assumption is totally wrong. The approach is not important, whether the allocation is channelled through the state government or the Member of Parliament, as the value remains the same. What is more important is that it gets into the hands of the rakyat.
184. Rail and bus transportation services are recognised as important and of great benefit, especially for urban communities to commute to work.
185. Regarding the MRT3 project, the cost was originally estimated at RM68 billion in 2018. Last year, the project procurement process started and the cost was estimated at RM50 billion. The Government will now review the details of the project to ensure the best value for money and is confident of achieving additional savings to bring the total cost to under RM45 billion. This effort is in line with governance reforms to reduce procurement costs to achieve savings that can be redistributed for the benefit of the rakyat.
186. Air service is the primary mode of transportation for the rakyat of Sabah dan Sarawak living in rural areas.
187. Za’ba comprehensively analysed that the destitution of a nation’s fate with regard to poverty is divided into four categories, namely, poverty in terms of intellect, material possessions, ambition, and knowledge.
188. The Ministry of Education will continue to receive the highest allocation of RM55.2 billion compared to RM52.6 billion in 2022.
189. A total of seven new schools will be built with a cost of RM560 million, including SK Paya Dusun in Terengganu, SMK Denai Alam in Selangor, SMK Nabali in Sabah and SMK Dudong in Sarawak.
190. To cover the cost of providing nutritious food to students, the rate for cooked meals under Rancangan Makanan Tambahan (RMT) has been increased from RM625 million to RM777 million this year, which will benefit 700,000 students.
191. The role of teachers is critical in holistically educating children. In line with the current trend of modernisation, teachers’ teaching and learning equipment need to quickly adapt to digital technology. Hence, for the year 2023, the Government will supply MOE schools and educational institutions with 50,000 laptops, Insya-Allah.
Dato’ Speaker Sir,
192. I often emphasise the importance of a culture of knowledge and intellectualism. One lesson learnt is from the report on the deterioration of higher education in the United States entitled “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform”. It expressed concerns about the level of intellectual, moral, and spiritual strength among Americans.
193. For 2023, the Ministry of Higher Education will be allocated RM15.3 billion compared to RM14.5 billion in 2022.
194. Regarding R&D activities which are recognised as important, a total of RM428 million is provided to implement R&D activities under the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation.
195. In relation to PTPTN loans, the Government agreed to offer a discount of up to 20% on PTPTN loan repayments for a period of three months starting from 1 March 2023.
196. In order to ease the financial burden of affected borrowers, the Government agrees to defer repayment for a period of 6 months to borrowers with a monthly income of RM1,800 and below. Applications for this postponement can be made starting from 1 March 2023.
197. The Ministry of Health received the second largest allocation of RM36.3 billion compared to RM32.4 billion last year. The main components of this allocation involve procurement of medicines, reagents, vaccines, and consumables, and include an allocation of RM3 billion to offer permanent appointments to over 1,500 medical officers, dentists, and pharmacists.
198. Regarding the issue of overcrowding in public health facilities, several measures will be undertaken.
199. Since 2019, the Government has introduced the Peduli Kesihatan Scheme (PEKA B40) to provide health check-ups or special early screening for the B40 group. The Government allocated RM80 million to enhance this Scheme by including diabetes screenings.
200. Starting from the assessment year 2023, the tax relief limit for medical treatment expenditures will be raised from RM8,000 to RM10,000. In addition, the scope of this relief will also be expanded to cover the cost of intervention treatment for children with developmental disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, and specific learning disabilities.
201. People’s Housing Project (PPR) has been implemented for decades to benefit the low-income rakyat. Collaborative endeavour of the Unity Government is now directed towards ensuring the PPR environment is more humane with facilities that benefit the community.
202. Several new PPR projects are currently being developed involving an allocation of RM367 million to benefit 12,400 potential new residents. In 72 addition, the Rumah Mesra Rakyat programme under SPNB also involves the construction of 4,250 housing units with an allocation of RM358 million.
203. Syarikat Jaminan Kredit Perumahan (SJKP) all this while has been providing Government Guarantees to assist borrowers who do not have a fixed income. In 2023, the SJKP is ready to guarantee up to RM5 billion in loan value to benefit 20,000 borrowers.
204. To further encourage home ownership, the Government will continue to exempt stamp duty for first-time home ownership, with a full exemption of stamp duty for homes valued at RM500,000 and below, and a 75% exemption for homes valued more than RM500,000 to RM1 million.
Fifth: Social Protection
205. Currently, young people who work as gig riders are exposed to the risk of road accidents, and even worse if they have no job protection. The Government is determined to improve the sustainability of the social safety system by making it mandatory for all self-employed workers to gradually contribute to the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme (SKSPS). This is to protect them from any unwanted incidents. Social protection facilities must continue to be given attention.
206. In relation to that, during the transition period, the Government will bear 80% of the SOCSO contribution value to reduce the burden and to encourage self-employed workers to make contribution to the Self-Employment SOSCO Scheme, RM100 million is allocated to benefit the self-employed individuals.
207. To encourage voluntary savings for retirement, the Government intends to expand the scope of tax relief for life insurance premiums or takaful contributions to include voluntary contributions to EPF of up to RM3,000.
208. To encourage more self-employed individuals to save in EPF, the Government is increasing the value of the i-Saraan matching contribution to RM300 compared to RM250 previously. RM30 million is allocated to benefit more than 100,000 contributors.
209. The Government supports the increase in equity ownership among Bumiputeras. The individual investment limit for Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) and Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 (ASB2) will be increased to RM300,000, from RM200,000 previously. The administration has also agreed to increase the size of the Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM) fund by RM5 billion.
210. Finally, regarding the issue of EPF savings. After the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the rakyat had to sacrifice their retirement savings several times to meet their daily needs during the pandemic. Now, as people gradually rebuild their lives, most of them use their income to sustain their current lives while their retirement savings are still low.
211. The Government is committed to assisting the rakyat in rebuilding their retirement savings to ensure that the existing savings will be sufficient to finance their retirement days.
212. For members aged between 40 to 54 years old with EPF savings of less than RM10,000, the Government agreed to contribute an additional RM500 to their EPF Account 1 savings. This programme will benefit nearly 2 million EPF members involving an allocation of nearly RM1 billion.
213. At the same time, the Government hopes (the) rakyat who have sufficient retirement savings will continue to contribute, so that all contributors can benefit.
Dato’ Speaker Sir,
214. Continuing from the Prime Minister's briefing session in Parliament after my visit to Türkiye, the Government agreed to provide a special allowance of RM100 per day to all members of the national search and rescue team involved in missions in Türkiye and Syria. This allowance is a sign of the Government's appreciation for the great service provided on behalf of humanity.
215. Following the increase of the maximum replacement leave (GCR) from 160 to 180 days, this administration intends to continue the proposal to increase the maximum early redemption of GCR by 50% which is up to a maximum of 90 days. This effort is hoped to assist civil servants in need.
216. Governments may alternate, national leaders often change, but civil servants, as the backbone of the Government, remain loyal in upholding the nation’s trust. In line with Malaysia Madani’s direction, civil servants need to bring about change, implement reforms with the ultimate goal of delivering the best service to the rakyat and the country.
217. As we enter the month of Ramadan and to appreciate the services and sacrifices of civil servants, the Government agreed to channel Aidilfitri Special Financial Assistance of RM700 to all civil servants who are Grade 56 and below, including contract appointments. Additionally, RM350 will be given to Government retirees. Insya-Allah, payment is expected to be made in April 2023.
Dato’ Speaker Sir,
218. As a conclusion to Budget 2023, it is emphasised that the Unity Government is committed to fulfilling the rakyat’s mandate to achieve economic prosperity in the country.
219. Indeed, the Covid-19 outbreak has passed, and the economy is now recovering. However, we should not be complacent in facing other upcoming challenges. Sustainable economic development is essential as a future-proofing element that is ready to serve as a shield against any potential risks that may arise.
220. Our responsibility is significant, requiring us to combine all of our strength and energy to move forward in unison and achieve the objectives of MADANI Development. Leaders, in particular, can no longer afford to comfortably continue with the wrong practices inherited from the past. A significant shift must be forged.
A shift towards combating corruption that deprives people of the opportunity to enjoy a more meaningful life, towards good governance that reflects our principles in spending, which leads to empowerment and socio-economic mobility for all segments of society.
221. Even if there are different political views, let's not let those differences prevent us from making meaningful changes. If we compete, we shouldn't race to the bottom but should focus on the principle of fastabiqul khairat, that is, to be competitive in doing good deeds.
222. In conclusion, I end my speech with the words of Allah SWT in Surah An-Nisa, verse 58:
ِإنَّ ٱَّلل ه ا نِعِ مَّ ا ايعِ ظُ كُ م ِبهِ ۦِٰٓۗإنَّ ٱَّلل ه ا كَ انا سا مِ يعًۢ ا باص ِ ب ًًۭا ِإل َ ٰٰٓ َأهِْلها ا وا إِذا ا حا كَ مْ تُم باي ْ نا ٱلنَّاسِ َأن تاحْ كُ مُ و۟ا ِبٱلْعا دْ لِ ۚ ِإنَّ ٱَّلل ه ا ايْأمُ رُكُمْ َأن تُؤا دُّ و۟ا ٱأل ْ اما ـٰناـٰت ِ
“Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.”
With that, Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
Dato’ Speaker Sir, I beg to propose.