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Malaysia brings forward 2023 budget to Oct 7

Local media said the new date is an indication that the general election will be called soon, but the de facto law minister said it is just speculation. 

Malaysia brings forward 2023 budget to Oct 7

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. (File photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar confirmed that Malaysia’s 2023 budget will be tabled on Oct 7. 

This is three weeks earlier than the original date of Oct 28. 

“Confirmed,” the minister in charge of parliament and law told CNA on Friday (Aug 26). 

English daily the Star reported that the Cabinet was informed of the decision by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Friday. 

Mr Ismail Sabri told the media on Friday evening that the decision to bring forward the tabling is not unusual.

"This is normal. During Pak Lah's (former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) time, the budget was tabled in September," he was quoted as saying by the Star after the launch of a carnival in Kuala Lumpur.

United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), a main component party in the ruling coalition, has intensified its calls for the dissolution of parliament to pave the way for the next general election. 

The 15th general election is not due until September next year, but UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been putting pressure on Mr Ismail Sabri, a vice president of UMNO, for a snap poll. 

Malaysia has seen the appointment of three prime ministers since the last general election in 2018. Political turmoil caused by party switching had resulted in changes in federal administration from Pakatan Harapan to Perikatan Nasional (PN), and now a coalition made up of PN and Barisan Nasional.

The decision to bring forward the tabling of the 2023 budget is an indication that the general election will be called soon, according to the Star’s report.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the reason for bringing forward the tabling of budget was not discussed during the Cabinet meeting.

“We didn’t discuss any reason at all,” he told CNA.

However, Dr Wan Junaidi said he believed the budget should be tabled earlier as it will also have to be passed by the parliament’s Upper House. This will give the Ministry of Finance ample time to disburse the funds, he added.

“There is no reason, but this is just my logical analysis. It has not been discussed,” he said.

When asked if this is to facilitate the dissolution of parliament for the next general election, Dr Wan Junaidi said it is just speculation.

“It could happen but as far as we are concerned, it’s just speculation,” he said.

According to the parliament website, the third meeting of the Lower House for the year has been scheduled to be held from Oct 26 to Dec 15. 

In a statement on Friday evening, Dr Wan Junaidi said the meeting has now been proposed to run from Oct 3 to Nov 29. The Upper House will meet from Nov 21 to Dec 7. 

The government has to amend the calendar so that the tabling of the 2023 budget can be accelerated, the minister said.  

"Besides, this is to enable the tabling of the Supplementary Supply Bill 2022 and the Fiscal Responsibility Bill as soon as the Supply Bill 2023 (Budget 2023) is passed in the Lower House," he said.

Source: CNA/tx(aw)
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