Khazanah wants Budget 2020 to focus on digitalisation, economic inclusion

Khazanah Nasional says further growth in the economy will be good for all. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional hopes that Budget 2020, set to be announced on Friday, will focus on digitalisation and economic inclusion.

“We would like to see the government focus on Digital Malaysia and getting more people into the economic ecosystem,” the sovereign wealth fund’s managing director, Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, said.

Speaking to reporters after closing the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2019 here today, he said the budget should also pay attention to fiscal opportunities that may help to increase aggregate demand in the country.

“We trust the budget will be supportive of further growth in the Malaysian economy. I think that would be good for all of us,” he said.

Elaborating on the two-day forum, in which international dignitaries and experts took part, Shahril said the topic of social cohesion and unity took centre stage.

He said there were discussions on how unity could help build “better collective brains” for the country.

Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.

“If we can reduce the amount of friction between our ethnic groups and regional groups, I think we can work together towards building a better Malaysia,” he said.

Shahril said internet connectivity was one of the means of bringing Malaysians together.

He said Khazanah was working with companies like Axiata, TM Malaysia, Celcom and TIME to strengthen the national digital infrastructure and increase broadband connectivity through the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP).

He said the Cabinet had approved the NFCP, which will cost RM21.6 billion, on Aug 28.

On possible offers to take over highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd, Shahril warned that if the stakes were sold to a private entity, it would created a “moral hazard”.

He said that even though Khazanah had “conversations with the government all the time”, the specific topic of a PLUS takeover had not been brought up.

Khazanah, the majority shareholder of the highway operator, recently affirmed that it was not going to sell its strategic assets in PLUS to any party.