PUTRAJAYA, Feb 8 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has hinted that allocations under Budget 2023 to be tabled on February 24 will be ‘reduced’ but this will not put a strain on the country’s development programmes.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said several strategies and preliminary figures for Budget 2023 were tabled at the Cabinet meeting today.

“I tabled the budget strategies and preliminary figures because the country cannot sustain a high deficit.

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“We will cut where possible and this reduction will not put a strain on our development programmes,” he told a news conference after chairing the meeting.

The Dewan Rakyat session is scheduled to begin on February 13 and Anwar will table the budget on February 24.

On another matter, Anwar said Malaysia needed to make changes in technological and digital aspects to ensure that locals would get job opportunities.

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Citing an example, he said the mechanism implemented by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) did not create any problem for the recruitment of locals to work in plantations.

On the issue of foreign workers, he wanted the Home Ministry to monitor the situation so that the registration of foreign workers could be done without using agents as their involvement would mean higher costs.

“For example, for Nepal the cost is only RM3,700 but for Bangladesh and Indonesia each involves a cost of between RM20,000 and RM25,000,” he said.

He said attention would be given to this matter as raising salary was not a problem but an increase in agents’ charges was tantamount to modern slavery.

When asked on the successor to Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Anwar said the matter was still under discussion.

According to media reports, the names of three judges have been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Department for consideration to replace Idrus, whose contract will expire in March this year. — Bernama