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Budget 2015 is not Populist but Balanced

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By Dr Abang Azhari Hadari

THE Prime Minister delivered his Budget 2015 speech last Friday. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak admitted “the biggest challenge I face in administering Malaysia … is how to balance between policies that are populist in nature as compared to those policies based on economic and financial imperatives”.

Well, in fact the Prime Minister has not done badly in that score in balancing between the so called capital economy and the people’s economy and hence defying some commentators’ allegation that our PM is completely focusing on populist handouts and giveaways.

Why is that so? On one hand, while the PM is adamant in steering Malaysia towards an economy based on knowledge, high skills, expertise, creativity and innovation. This is how he intends to guarantee that the future of our children and grandchildren is secure by strengthening fiscal governance including narrowing the fiscal deficit. He is doing so that the things that matter like GDP growth, per capita income, private investment, credit ratings, the stock market index etc are taken care of.

At the same time, he has not forgotten about the daily lives of the rakyat. The PM also gives emphasis to the cost of living, household income, education opportunities, entrepreneurship, security and safety. In other words, this budget will benefit a very wide range of recipients, from those living in Perlis to teachers, police, and people with debt, youths, nuclear medicine, airport runway, books, mangosteen, train services and even hill padi in Sarawak.

By and large, I think the Budget 2015 is well balanced in satisfying people’s daily needs and at the same time fulfilling the requirements in enhancing our national competitiveness and resilience.