Budget 2021 needs to be approved to address Covid-19 — National Budget Office

Budget 2021 needs to be approved to address Covid-19 — National Budget Office
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 16): The Dewan Rakyat needs to approve Budget 2021 to allow the government to undertake measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure that there would be no operational disruptions.

National Budget Office director Johan Mahmood Merican said the country cannot afford to risk the continuous efforts to address the pandemic if Budget 2021 is not approved by Parliament.

“It is crucial for Budget 2021 to be implemented to ensure continuity in the war against Covid-19, as well as to ensure a smooth economic recovery for the sake of the people’s well-being,” he said during an interview on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara talk show last night.

Members of Parliament are expected to vote on the budget on Nov 25.  

“If Budget 2021 is not approved, it will have several consequences, including financial constraints for the government starting from January next year,” he said, adding that it would also affect the frontliners battling Covid-19 and the normal operations and services of government agencies.

Johan said the government had taken a stance in balancing between health aspects and the people’s lives and livelihood in preparing the budget, adding that the budget needed to allocate sufficient resources to ensure against disruptions to the efforts and continuity of economic activities.

He added that the budget had focused on the vulnerable segment of the community, and at the same time, not neglecting the middle 40% (M40) segment.

He noted that the measures include reducing the employee’s statutory contribution rate to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to 9% from 11% starting January 2021 to boost disposable incomes of EPF members.