By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic BY HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
Malaysia can expect a more rationalised economic plan that focuses on the crucial development of the nation in the upcoming budget, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
“The economic plans under the prime minister such as the National Transformation Programme and the New Economic Model in my view are more sustainable for our target to achieve a high-income nation (status),” Mustapa told reporters at the dialogue session in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“The prime minister had proposed some perimeters that give us an initial depiction to the upcoming budget and this is the first time that the country has done it in such a way.”
“The economic plan is slowly changing into a more rationalised policy, for example the subsidy. Although the government will continuously support the people through subsidy, but a high-subsidised nation will only bring damage to the degree of dependency of the country.
“A priority has to be put in check on the subsidy and make way for the crucial sectors such as the health and education sectors,” he said.
The international trade and industry minister described Malaysia’s implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a bold move that sampled the modern economy.
“My take on it is, the GST has proven to exist in some of the largest economy in the world. It has been considered as the most significant tax reform in India, and some Gulf countries are planning to implement it next year, I believe,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on his recent official trip to Europe, he said the small and medium enterprise (SME) industry should explore business opportunities in the European region to initiate an economic tie.
“Through my recent visit to several European countries, we found that Malaysia has been among the top destination for SMEs in these countries to expand their businesses.
“We only hope that our SME industry could establish some sort of business partnerships with these countries in the European region. An opportunity in the food and beverages (F&Bs), and services sectors could definitely be tapped into by our SMEs, as the vast majority of the industry consists of the F&B sector,” he said.
Mustapa went on trade and investment missions to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium from Oct 18-20 with a delegation of 37 people, com- prising 10 officials from the ministry and its agencies, as well as 27 businessmen from 14 organisations.
For the period January-August 2017, Malaysia’s total trade with the European Union amounted to RM113.4 billion, an increase of 18.3% from the corresponding period in 2016.
As of December 2016, Malaysia has approved RM69.2 billion of investments with German, Dutch and Belgian participations, involving 949 manufacturing projects that have created more than 140,428 employment opportunities.