PUTRAJAYA, Jun 10 – Newly-minted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has hinted that the people can expect the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to deliver more of its promises, come Budget day. Without divulging details, he said:” It will be on Nov 2, you got to wait.”
Saying that strengthening the country’s economy was definitely the top priority, he added that the government would be keeping a close eye on the country’s fiscal deficit.
“For this year, the fiscal deficit can be maintained at 2.8% of Gross Domestic Product, despite an RM300 million widening (increasing to RM40.1 billion from RM39.8 million),” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview.
This year marks the ninth consecutive year of fiscal consolidation from a peak of 6.7% in 2009. Lim, however, was confident as the government had embarked on cost structure rationalisation for projects worth RM10 billion, which would result in achieving additional revenue.
“At the same time, we got RM5.4 billion from the increase in petrol prices, as well as, better profitability from Khazanah (Nasional Bhd), Petronas and other agencies,” said Lim.
The Finance Minister, on Thursday, assured fund managers of the country’s stability during a meeting with top fund managers in Malaysia, hosted by CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. “We talked about prospects and fiscal measures,” he said, adding that the government would ensure Malaysia had a stronger current account balance.
Even Group Chief Executive Officer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz uploaded some photos, in his Instagram account, with the caption “engaging with the investment community in a transparent manner is vital to promote market confidence and good governance”.
In its annual report, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said it expected the country’s current account balance to register a surplus of 2% – 3% of Gross National Income (GNI) for 2018.
Promising that the Pakatan Harapan government would be steadfast in its promise of transparency and good governance, he also said it was working towards having less interference in Government-Linked Companies (GLC) and Government-Linked Investment Companies (GLIC).
“We hope to have that. We (will) try not to have members of parliament on the board,” he assured. But, the government has a “full plate” now and will tackle one at a time, which is why the Council of Eminent People (CEP) is important, “We can’t handle all the meetings.”
“So, they (CEP) are doing it and will provide their recommendation to the government.” And, to kick-start the cleaning process, communication has been sent out that all political appointees have to go (leave), there is no question about that.
“I know there are some political appointees who (are) saying ‘I have been professional in executing my duties.’ Yes. But, you are still active and holding (certain positions) in the party. So, you got to go. Resign,” he stressed. — Bernama