KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's parliament passed the budget for 2022 on Monday (Dec 13) after a majority vote.
The Bill, which is the first budget under the government led by Malaysian Prime Minster Ismail Sabri Yaakob, was passed after it was debated at the committee stage for 13 days, starting from Nov 22.
The budget was tabled by Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Oct 29, with a total of RM332.1 billion allocated. This is Malaysia's largest allocation, up from RM320.6 billion in 2021. Malaysia's projected revenue for 2022 was set at RM234 billion.
The budget was approved at the policy stage on Nov 18.
Malaysia's finance minister previously said that the Health Ministry has been allocated RM32.4 billion for its expenses, as the country prepares to enter the COVID-19 endemic phase.
An additional RM4 billion has been set aside to combat COVID-19, with RM2 billion to fund the vaccination programmes and the remaining RM2 billion to enhance the capacity of public health service facilities.
However, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said the high allocation for the 2022 national budget will cause Malaysia to incur more debt, potentially burdening future governments.
“RM332 billion will be spent, a record. But the projected revenue for 2022 is RM234 billion. Where will the remaining RM98 billion come from? It is highly probable that the government will incur debt … Our total debt will increase again," said Mahathir on Nov 2.
Ismail Sabri has said that he hoped the passing of Budget 2022 at the policy stage would bring new hope to Malaysians.
In a Facebook post in November, Malaysia's prime minister said he hoped the approval would give benefits to all strata of society in the country encompassing various races, cultures and religions and that no parties would be marginalised.