PETALING JAYA: Economists say the 2021 budget tabled by the government does not target and help the right groups, especially those coming from the low-income, or B40, segment.
Speaking at a webinar on the economic recovery strategy, Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) research advisor Jomo Kwame Sundaram said it was very obvious that the government did not have a good targeted approach in the budget to address the economic downturn.
“This is the problem. We do not target properly, especially the informal sectors. If you want to improve the purchasing power among these groups, you need to come up with different measures,” he said.
Jomo said many relevant stakeholders such as the credit rating agencies were concerned about the “bold” budget expenditure as it provided a greater budget deficit for the country.
A budget deficit occurs when a government spends more money than it takes in.
“What do we do with the money is the key question here,” he said, expressing concern over how the budget allocations would work in solving the economic downturn.
Further, he said, the government has not been effective enough in combatting the pandemic, adding that the burden relies heavily on certain ministries, such as the home ministry and health ministry.
He said other sectors, such as education, were severely affected as well, depriving children the education to improve their lives.
“On top of that, many children depend on the school’s meal programmes to get enough nutrition,” he said.
Centre for Market Education Malaysia CEO Carmelo Ferlito concurred with Jomo, saying that the budget was not allocated properly.
“To put it in a simple way, the budget will not shift Malaysia from containment level to recovery level,” he said.