Anwar presents tighter budget, here are the highlights of Budget 2024

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the Finance Minister, tabled his second budget since taking office last November, in which he hopes to have a more targeted approach to help Malaysia’s poor.

Budget 2024, the nation’s largest at RM393.8 billion, surpassed the RM388.1 billion Budget 2023, unveiled in February.

Seventy-seven per cent of the budget next year, or RM303.8 billion, is for operating expenditure, while RM90 billion is for development expenditure.

Among the highlights:

  • To introduce targeted diesel subsidies in phases. Subsidised diesel prices will continue to be enjoyed by selected consumers, such as transport and logistics companies, while others will be charged a higher price.
  • Targeted electricity subsidies with an RM40 rebate for the hardcore poor, totalling RM55 million.
  • Starting next year, the retargeted subsidy approach will be implemented in phases. A portion of the savings will be channelled to increase the allocation of cash assistance through the Rahmah Cash Contribution programme, from the current RM8 billion, to RM10 billion next year.
  • A total of RM52.8 billion will be spent on subsidies and social assistance in 2024.

Anwar hopes that by strengthening the subsidy mechanisms and plugging any leaks, the resultant benefits and savings will cascade down to the general population, including in the form of pay increases for the working class.

Other highlights include:

  • A total of RM6.8 billion for Technical, Vocational Education and Training.
  • The service tax rate will go up by two per cent, to eight per cent, but will not apply to food and beverages, and telecommunications services.
  • Entertainment duty reduced by 10 per cent for stage performances of international artists and other entertainment events.
  • In order to build, maintain, and renovate housing for public employees, educators, hospital staff, police officers, soldiers, and firefighters, a total of RM2.4 billion has been allocated.
  • A total of RM160 million has been set aside to carry out a number of initiatives for the local creative and arts industry.
  • Micro, small, and medium-sized businesses will benefit from RM44 billion in loans and financial guarantees, set aside by the government.
  • A total of RM600 million will be allocated for the Light Rail Transit Line (#LRT3).
  • RM200 million next year to implement programmes and initiatives under the New Industrial Master Plan 2030.
  • RM1.9 billion to upgrade and maintain schools nationwide.
  • To provide a discount on PTPTN loan repayments from Oct 14, 2023, until March 31, 2024.
  • The Health Ministry will receive RM41.2 billion, an increase from this year’s budget of RM36.3 billion.
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