KUALA LUMPUR: The Malay nationalist political coalition led by Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA), will have no choice but to support the incumbent government’s 2023 federal spending plan, according to its chairman, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who accuses Umno of using the budget 2023 to gain support ahead of the 15th general election.
If the GTA attempts to block the passage of Budget 2023, which the two-time former prime minister praised as “seemingly good,” it risks alienating voters. However, Dr Mahathir claimed that the incumbent government lacks the skills and funding to carry out all of the programmes, on top of the party’s rampant corruption.
“Budget 2023 is clearly an election budget. Opposition parties are not even granted the space to debate the allocations,” he wrote in a statement.
“GTA that is yet to be registered will have no choice but to support [the budget)] because voters would be disappointed and will reject us if we don’t. Nevertheless, GTA is questioning Umno’s ability to fulfil all pledges [made under the budget]. This is because the [caretaker] government lacks funding, is corrupt and has inadequate skills to implement these projects.”
On October 7, the current Umno-led administration released a federal expenditure plan with a record RM372 billion, the greatest amount ever allotted for development (RM95 billion). Pundits claimed that Budget 2023 was unmistakably “an electoral budget” designed to win over supporters before a major general election.
Three days later, the Parliament was dissolved by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in order to prepare for national elections. Ismail stated in his speech announcing the dissolution that for the budget to be approved, voters must give Barisan Nasional a substantial majority.
Given the magnitude of the budget 2023 and the government’s already substantial debt load, critics of the current administration had speculated if it would be necessary for it to borrow even more money.
As of the end of June this year, there were RM1.4 trillion in total debt and liabilities.
Dr Mahathir Explanation on Budget 2023
According to Dr. Mahathir, paying for interest rates alone would need additional borrowing and cost the government billions of ringgit.
“Now to pay for interest rates alone would require billions each year. The principal debt is not repaid. Too frequent the allocation for development is used to pay interest on the debt. Because of this, we have less development spending. Furthermore, costs are driven up by corruption,” he wrote.
High levels of public debt, according to some economists, are not necessarily bad.
A major share of Malaysia’s government borrowings are used to pay off “unproductive debt,” or money that is lost to wasteful projects or leaks brought on by corruption. “Good debt” is revenue-generating when used in productive sectors.
Source: MalayMail, Image Source : TheManilaTimes