Tengku Zafrul confident Budget 2021 will not be politicised

MoF is committed in providing a comprehensive budget that focuses on the people’s wellbeing, business continuity and economic resilience


FINANCE Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) is confident that the upcoming Budget 2021 will not be politicised, for the nation’s common good.

“I am confident that Budget 2021 will not be politicised and will have the full support of the MPs for the common good,” he said when presenting the 27th Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (Laksana) report on Facebook yesterday.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF), he said, is committed in providing a comprehensive budget that focuses on the people’s wellbeing, business continuity and economic resilience.

Budget 2021, to be tabled on Nov 6, is guided on the momentum of economic recovery that has started since May, as well as through all the economic stimulus packages.

Last Sunday, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah issued a reminder to stop all politicking which has disrupted the country’s stability.

The King has also stressed that Budget 2021, which will be tabled in Parliament, is very important for the people in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and reviving the country’s economy.

“InsyaAllah, I hope that economic recovery can be achieved by next year. Let us work together for the sake of our beloved Malaysia,” said Tengku Zafrul.

In his 27th Laksana report, Tengku Zafrul said the government has allocated a one-off RM300 aid for vulnerable groups such as the differently-abled (OKU) and single mothers registered with the Department of Social Welfare Malaysia, as well as Home Help Service volunteers. As of Oct 16, a total of RM66.56 million has been channelled to benefit 221,850 recipients.

On the Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP), a total of RM11.99 billion has been approved to benefit more than 322,150 employers and over 2.63 million employees.

He noted that WSP is one of the most-utilised initiatives by employers under the Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package and short-term National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) — some have utilised this for up to a total of nine months.

WSP 2.0 commenced on Oct 1 and applications under the Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (Kita Prihatin) are still open until Dec 31, 2020.

For the Hiring Incentive Programme and Training Assistance, a total of 58,822 employees (an increase from 52,851 last week) have managed to obtain jobs through the programme including 46,838 workers under the age of 40; 7,168 people for the age group of between 40 and 60 years old, as well as 302 OKU and 4,514 apprentices.

Based on the data, the top five sectors of employment are manufacturing (23%), services (19%), wholesale and retail trade including vehicle repair (15%), accommodation and food services (11%), and construction (5%).

As of Oct 16, a total of 102,290 individuals have been approved (an increase from 94,462 last week) to participate in the programmes provided under the reskilling and upskilling initiative.

Tengku Zafrul said the government has allocated RM2 billion, with priority given to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from various business sectors who had never received any bank financing via Penjana SME Financing.

“A total of 4,176 SME applications have been approved with a financing value of RM930.4 million,” he said.

He noted that 397 SMEs submitted their applications, out of which 162 applications with a total of RM28.8 million have been approved under Penjana Tourism Financing, while a total of RM77.4 million has been channelled under Tekun Business Recovery Scheme to benefit 11,683 micro SMEs (MSMEs).

He added that RM133.3 million has been channelled to benefit 3,668 MSMEs in the retail and services sector via Penjana Credit Micro Financing under Bank Simpanan Nasional.

As for the additional Kita Prihatin stimulus package, among the latest development is for Bantuan Prihatin Nasional 2.0 (BPN 2.0) which the government has started channelling earlier than scheduled.

“The first phase of the BPN 2.0, which was expected to start on Monday, has been expedited to Oct 19. This is the result of efforts by the officials from MoF, the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia and financial institutions that ensured the payout process could be expedited.

“As of Monday, some RM3.6 billion has been channelled to over 7.32 million recipients, comprising 6.27 million recipients from the bottom 40% (B40) income group and 1.05 million from the middle 40% (M40) income group,” said Tengku Zafrul.

He said BPN 2.0 is expected to help ease the burden of 7.5 million B40 single and household recipients, as well as 3.1 million M40 recipients, adding that the payments will be completed by the end of this month.