Budget 2024 strikes a fine balance between supporting domestic economy, fiscal responsibility and people's wellbeing - Banks

14 Oct 2023 12:01pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. – 123RF
Image for illustrative purposes only. – 123RF

KUALALUMPUR - The banking sector perceives Budget 2024 as striking a fine balance between maintaining sufficient support for the domestic economy amid continued external challenges, while staying committed to fiscal responsibility and enhancing the people’s well-being.

Malayan Banking group president and chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli who is also the chairman of the Association of Banks in Malaysia said the budget tabled by the Prime Minister is comprehensive and inclusive with emphasis on sustainable economic growth and being pro-rakyat, in support of the Madani Economy, and the various policies and roadmap announced recently.

"We applaud the reinforced commitment towards fiscal discipline with a target of reducing fiscal deficit to 4.3 per cent next year,” he said in a statement.

"The budget also aims to navigate the country through a new economic direction by alleviating cost of living, creating jobs, boosting global competitiveness and supporting a conducive investment climate. The intent to further support the underserved and unserved sustainably is clear, and we welcome the proposed increase in tax exempt spend to 35% to encourage greater social impact programmes.

"The allocation of an additional RM10 million to enhance the effectiveness of the National Scam Response Centre is highly important. The banking industry is committed to working closely with Bank Negara Malaysia on the setting up of a national fraud portal by mid-2024, where key data collected can be used to detect patterns and connections between the accounts used by scammers,” he added.

Khairussaleh said the continued emphasis on Islamic finance in Budget 2024 will further Malaysia’s competitiveness in the global halal market and its capabilities to provide value based Islamic banking solutions.

"We also appreciate the tax incentives for Islamic securities buying and selling and for Labuan entities undertaking Islamic finance in enhancing the breadth and depth of our Islamic finance solutions,” he added.

Khairussaleh said the budget is also addressing climate resiliency, whereby it remains steadfast in prioritising renewable energy, green technologies and conservation efforts that support sustainable economic growth while ensuring a liveable environment for future generations.

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UOB Malaysia CEO Ng Wei Wei said the measures announced such as the reinvestment incentives for high-value activities, tax incentives for Global Services Hub, expansion of green technology tax incentives, and tax deductions for Voluntary Carbon Market help strengthen the economy and pave the way for macro stability in the medium to long term.

"We welcome the measures to improve Malaysia's competitiveness and ease the cost of doing business, which will spur high-impact investments in the targeted sectors.

"These will help elevate foreign direct investments, broaden domestic linkages, spur industrial development and reinforce Malaysia's diversified economic structure,” she said in a statement.

AMMB Holdings Bhd group CEO Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said Budget 2024 would help the country to navigate economic volatility and reinforce fiscal position.

Meanwhile, commenting on the support for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Public Bank Bhd managing director and CEO Tan Sri Tay Ah Lek said the grants and financial supports announced by the Prime Minister yesterday would encourage MSMEs to automate and digitalise.

"This will strengthen resilience of our MSMEs, future-proofing our economy in the process,” he said. - BERNAMA