More allocations should be set aside to further develop Sabah and Sarawak.
Funds should also be used to help small, and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These were among the key highlights in the Budget 2022 Online Stakeholders’ Roundtable, involving 16 experts in various fields.
Jointly organised by the Institute for Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (Insap) and Bait Al-Amanah, the experts who participated in the roundtable included economists, academicians, business groups and representatives from the Association of Women Lawyers, Women’s Aid Organisation and Gender Budget Group Malaysia.
“This is an annual engagement where we discuss with relevant parties what they would like to see in the Budget,” said Insap director, Johnny Yuen.
“This proposal will be handed to either the prime minister, or the finance minister.”
The main highlights following the roundtable were:
- Prioritise the development of Sabah and Sarawak to improve basic infrastructure for accessibility – including electricity, internet access, and transportation.
- Advocate for gender-responsive budgeting to ensure gender empowerment is taken systematically into account, and increase financial investment in support services for local victims of domestic violence, and to combat gender-based violence, as part of a holistic disaster management response.
- Civil service reforms against complacency and mediocrity, and a push towards greater commitment, efficiency, proactiveness, and integrity.
- To extend the wage subsidy programme and provide more grants and funding in support of SMEs.
- Reprioritise food security, through expanding investments in agricultural technology.
- Targeted cash assistance, such as a basic assistive income, should be considered for the marginalised and vulnerable households, beyond the pandemic.
“Many other matters were also raised and discussed but these five points are the key elements. The full report should be completed by this month. It could be about 200 or 300 pages.”
Insap hopes the proposals will be taken into consideration for a more holistic and innovative Budget 2022.
Budget 2022 will be tabled next month.
Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights.
HEALTH MINISTRY: DON’T USE NANO MIST SPRAY ON HUMANS
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said using the nano mist spray directly on humans could lead to health issues.
Dr Noor Hisham said contact with some of the solutions might irritate the eyes, skin, respiratory, and gastrointestinal system.
“The use of nano mist does not replace the requirement for standard surface cleaning,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
He added that the nano spray’s effectiveness at killing the Covid-19 virus depended on several factors – dispersion ability, the disinfectant type used and its concentration, and the contact time between disinfectant and the surface.
The public can view the Guidelines on Surface Disinfectant Registration as outlined by the ministry on the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency official website at www.npra.gov.my.
MALAYSIA SUPPORTS AFGHANISTAN BUT HASN’T ENDORSED THE TALIBAN
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia supports a free Afghanistan but hasn’t endorsed the new Taliban government.
He said Malaysia would make a decision based on the Afghan people’s acceptance of the Taliban.
“The provisional government is not inclusive as it doesn’t have the participation of other ethnic groups, as well as women representatives in government,” said Saifuddin in the Dewan Rakyat today.
“Malaysia will continue to use international platforms such as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations to voice our views and stance on Afghanistan.”
He added Malaysia respects the importance of protecting the right to life, safety, and dignity of the people of Afghanistan in compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
GOVT WILL IMPLEMENT UNDI 18 BY YEAR’S END
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government would implement Undi 18 and the automatic voter registration by Dec 31.
Wan Junaidi said this in the Dewan Rakyat in reply to Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Puchong), who wanted to know the status of the implementation of Undi 18.
Wan Junaidi said the Election Commission is implementing the amendment to Article 119 of the Federal Constitution, relating to the voting age of 18 and automatic voter registration as approved in Parliament.
NEARLY 80% OF ADULT POPULATION FULLY VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19
Nearly 80 per cent of the country’s adult population – 18,648,795 – have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Another 3,448,770 adults have received one dose of the vaccine, making it 22,097,565 persons, or 93.1 per cent of the adult population, vaccinated.
Separately, there were 15,759 new cases today, bringing the total number of infections to 2,127,934.