KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s national budget for 2023 will be tabled again before the end of this year, said caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday (Oct 17).
He said that Budget 2023 must be debated and approved by the House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat so that the essence of the federal budget can be implemented.
"We have announced the budget. We want to give the people several goodies but the budget (Budget 2023) has yet to be approved," said Mr Ismail Sabri at a meet and greet programme with smallholder farmers in Tapah, Perak.
In his speech, Mr Ismail Sabri gave his commitment to implement all the initiatives in the 2023 budget if he continues to be given the mandate as prime minister in the 15th General Election (GE15).
"If someone else takes over, I can't guarantee what has been promised. There is a difference between the budget tabled (but not approved yet) and (an election) manifesto which is a promise.
"When the budget is tabled, it means funds are available. That's the difference. The money is already there, just waiting for approval to be implemented," Mr Ismail Sabri was quoted as saying by Bernama.
The budget tabled by then finance minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Oct 7 unveiled Mr Ismail Sabri government’s spending plan involving RM372.3 billion (US$80.06 billion) for 2023.
About RM272.3 billion is allocated for operating expenditure and RM95 billion for development expenditure.
However, the budget is now considered to have lapsed following Mr Ismail Sabri’s announcement on the dissolution of parliament last week to pave the way for GE15.
The proposed budget will have to be retabled and approved by parliament once the new government is formed after GE15.
Last Wednesday, the Malaysian Ministry of Finance said that the tabling of the budget was not in vain as it will be retabled again after the upcoming general elections.
The ministry said that even if the budget is not approved yet, it can still be an important policy reference for business and investment sectors to plan their next steps for the year ahead.
The ministry’s clarifications on Budget 2023 came after criticisms by some quarters who saw the tabling of the budget just days before parliament was dissolved, as a waste of time.
Malaysia’s biggest budget was in 2022 when it was tabled last year at RM332.1 billion. It has since expanded to an estimated RM385.3 billion by end of 2022.