KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 19): Proposed targeted subsidies for petrol, taxation issues and strategies to increase government revenue will be further clarified in the upcoming Budget 2024, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.
Delivering his winding up speech on the 12th Malaysia Plan mid-term review, he said taxation matters would be comprehensively addressed to enable the government to allocate its resources efficiently, ultimately assisting in achieving the target of reducing the country's fiscal deficit to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023.
Anwar, who is also finance minister, was responding to Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam), who sought an update on proposals to implement a luxury goods tax and capital gains tax, as well as the government's readiness to reintroduce the goods and services tax, to boost national revenue.
In his speech, Anwar also clarified a statement he made years ago that petrol prices would drop the day after he became prime minister. He pointed out that the current petrol price in Malaysia is RM2.05 per litre, whereas in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, it is RM2.84. Thus, Malaysia continues to offer one of the cheapest petrol prices globally.
"When I said petrol prices would drop the very next day, it was during my time in the Opposition. This proposal was agreed upon by PKR, PAS and DAP back then. Now, the Opposition keeps raising this argument, which is not entirely accurate." he said.
Anwar also reiterated his stance that Opposition MPs must engage in negotiations with the federal government if they wished to receive parliamentary allocations.
"If there are no negotiations, you will never receive it... no matter how long you wait," he said, in response to claims by some Opposition MPs that they had not received allocations from the government.
Urging them to learn from the experiences of Pakatan Harapan MPs when they were in the Opposition, he recalled how PH conducted a series of negotiations with then-prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in September 2021, leading to the signing of a memorandum of understanding that included equal funding for government and Opposition MPs as a crucial clause.
"[Allocations] are not automatically granted to MPs. You need to negotiate and reach an agreement. Only then will your allocations be approved," he added.
Anwar refuted claims by the Opposition that the government has consistently allocated funds for Opposition-held constituencies. He cited data from the Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister's Department, revealing that the Ketereh constituency held by the Opposition had received approval for 61 development projects, totaling RM2.1 million.
"Funds are allocated for constituencies, and they are provided to the people. So, don't claim that allocations are not given to the people, portraying the government as oppressing the people. You can say that allocations are not given to MPs, but please be specific," he said.
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