Dr M hints at no tax cuts ahead of budget

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared to imply today that there will be no reduction in taxes ahead of the national budget which will be tabled tomorrow.

Speaking to reporters after officiating an event here, the prime minister said he had been reading up on the people’s requests, namely lower taxes and increased subsidies.

“But that is contradictory,” he added. “You can’t have lower taxes and then an increase in subsidies.

“There must be a balance between the two,” he said when asked what the people could expect.

He added that the government would need money in order to increase subsidies.

“If you lower (taxes) too much, you will have no money and you cannot subsidise.”

He also said that subsidies would not be given “outright to everybody”.

He said they would be channelled to deserving groups, even among the B40 as there are some in this category that do not need subsidies.

“We are going into detail on who should receive subsidies from the government,” he said.

Regarding taxes, he said the government would try to tax the rich more than the poor.

This, he said, was “the principle behind our taxes”.

On media company Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd, which has ceased operations for all four of its main publications including the 80-year-old Utusan Malaysia, he said the new company taking over would re-hire some of its employees.

“As far as the workers are concerned, some of them will be taken in by the new Utusan,” he said.

Utusan, the country’s oldest Malay language daily, started as a Jawi daily in Singapore in 1939.

The paper, often criticised for its uncomplimentary coverage of opposition leaders during the Barisan Nasional rule, announced several restructuring measures following the change of government in May 2018.

Its closure saw more than 800 employees left jobless.