It’s no secret that the 2019 Budget will be a very difficult budget for all Malaysians.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has made it clear that this will be a ‘belt tightening’ budget that will require sacrifices to be made. According to the Finance Minister, the 1MDB fiasco has created a huge debt for the country and the new cabinet will have to try and salvage the situation.
After the elections, the new government also reported that the current national debt stands at a shocking RM1 trillion.
In line with that, one of the measures that the new government has taken is to phase out and eventually do away with BR1M. The Prime Minister even referred to the 2019 Budget as a ‘sacrificial budget’, because Malaysians will have to stop depending on cash handouts from the government.
The new government also replaced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) with Sales and Services Tax (SST) in efforts to reduce the cost of goods, which is expected to reduce the national budget by RM21 billion.
Lim Guan Eng is aware that all these will probably make him the most unpopular finance minister Malaysia has ever had.
“It is likely I will end up as the most unpopular finance minister because I have no goodies to give out,” Lim Guan Eng was quoted as saying.
“So we are looking for sacrifices from Malaysians who are used to getting goodies and now, suddenly, are not getting goodies. You have to sacrifice if you want to reduce the RM1 trillion debt. There are no two ways about it,” he added.
Lim Guang Eng hopes that the people will cooperate to help Malaysia get back on track within the next three years.
“Even ministers had to take a 10% pay cut as we are grappling with the situation and incentives can only be given when the financial position improves,” the Finance Minister reiterated.