Budget 2022 to focus on ‘3M’ of recovery, building resilience and stimulating growth post Covid-19

Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is pictured at the Finance Ministry as he gets ready to leave for Parliament to table Budget 2022 October 29, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is pictured at the Finance Ministry as he gets ready to leave for Parliament to table Budget 2022 October 29, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The much anticipated maiden budget of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, is set to address the many pre- and post Covid-19 pandemic hardships via the 3M approach: “Memulih, membina ketahanan, memangkin pembaharuan” (Malay for recovery, building resilience and driving reforms).

Under the whole-of-nation approach guided by the “Keluarga Malaysia” concept and with an RM332 billion allocation, the Budget 2022 covers all sectors of the society, including the vulnerable groups, the disabled, orphaned children as well as those affected by joblessness.

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said that the economic projection for Malaysia “seems much brighter next year” and the Budget 2022 was formulated to benefit from the recovery momentum to achieve growth.

Under the first M or recovery phase, the government will be focusing on channelling financial aid to focus groups such as the Orang Asli, the disabled people, women and Covid-19 orphans as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), who are struggling to cope with rebuilding their lives and businesses, two years after the deadly pandemic.

Small, micro and medium businesses have been hit hard by Covid-19 containment measures, suffering a total loss of RM40.7 billion last year, according to then Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Close to a million SMEs account for 98.5 per cent of all business establishments and employ 7.3 million Malaysians in 2020, constituting 48.0 per cent of the national employment.

In September, Women, Family and Community Development minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said that there are 4,422 children who have lost a parent, parents or guardian due to Covid-19 up to September 13, 2021.

She said 154 of them became orphans as they have lost both parents to Covid-19.

Rina said these children will be placed in welfare homes and replacement families while aid is given to them in accordance with what was stated in the Budget 2021, adding that this was a massive increase compared to in August when her ministry had only identified 33 displaced children due to Covid-19 related fatalities.

The government’s second M target or resilience building approach meanwhile, is aimed at improving healthcare services and its quality, access to education and learning supports and strengthening the B40 group, which has since ballooned, with close to 600,000 from the M40 group falling into the lower rung.

Last month Ismail said that around 580,000 households, which were previously in the M40 category, slipped into the B40 group owing to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the nation’s economy.

In a written reply addressing queries from both Sungai Siput MP, S. Kesavan, and Sekijang MP, Natrah Ismail, the Bera MP said that this translates to 20 per cent of M40 households, adding that the absolute poverty rate had also risen to 8.4 per cent from 5.6 per cent.

Budget 2022 would also be focusing on aiding education loan repayments and widening the social net to address various issues in the job market, as well as addressing the mismatch in labour demand and supply.

Financial assistance in the form of cash handouts and subsidies is also to continue, albeit a more targeted approach.

The budget’s third M or growth stimulation target is aimed at empowering civil societies, aiding public safety measures including aid for disasters and public sector delivery quality to make the process efficient for businesses.






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