Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak today (20th Jan) announced revisions to the national Budget 2015 today in view of falling oil prices which are now around USD50 per barrel. Tabled in October 2014, Malaysia’s Budget 2015 had a projected expenditure of RM273.9 billion in expenditure and RM235.2 billion in revenue. It was pegged to oil prices of around US$100 per barrel.
However, the slide in prices, which has drastically affected the ringgit’s value as Malaysia is an oil exporter, has seen calls by economists for Putrajaya to revise the budget.
The announcement at a special session at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre included key measures which will be implemented to sustain development and economical growth for the country. Opening his speech, Prime Minister Najib Razak said, “We are not in crisis, we are taking preemptive measures following the changes in external global economic landscape which are not in our control.”
The measures include:
- Offering free entry visas to visitors, including those from China.
- Local contractors to be given task of repairing to carry out work on flood-hit areas. (Contractors in the G1, G2 and G3 categories.)
- More promotion of Malaysian-made goods.
- Extending the period of Mega-sales nationwide.
- Encourage domestic tourism through competitive pricing of domestic flights.
Among the expenditures to be cut is the National Service Training Programme (PLKN), which will save the government RM400 million. Not only will the programme for this year be deferred as part of the austerity measures to address the country’s fall in income, it will also be reviewed and enhanced.
More to come.