BUDGET 2023 is expected to focus on post-Covid-19 recovery, the creation of jobs, increasing the income of the rakyat, the survival of businesses, improving social protection systems and the well-being of the people through quality healthcare services and education.
Malaysia’s economy showed a strong recovery in the first half of 2022 with a growth of 6.9% following the government’s move to implement the transition to the endemic phase and the opening of the economy and borders.
There is a need for sustainable development enabling all Malaysians to benefit from the country’s development.
The International Monetary Fund expects the global economic situation to continue to be challenging in 2022 and 2023, with an increased risk of a recession.
The overall outlook is described as “extremely uncertain”, and inflation rates are expected to rise sharply, causing central banks in major economies to tighten their monetary policy.
As such, programmes to increase the income and provide opportunities and assistance to the bottom 40% income group, addressing the rising cost of living for the people, the development of the agricultural industry, public healthcare, the implementation of targeted subsidies, and increasing the cooperation of the public, private and social sectors towards the well-being of all Malaysians are necessary.
Measures to raise the threshold for exemption on taxation of personal income as a means to reach out to the M40 group whose income had been adversely affected by the disruption of the economy due to the movement control orders implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 would be welcome.,
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The government should also carry on with some of the measures announced in the various stimulus packages to assist the vulnerable income groups such as the B40 group to counter the adverse impact of inflation.
In so far as public healthcare is concerned, the role played by not-for-profit charitable hospitals (NFPCH) in providing quality healthcare cannot be overstated.
These charitable hospitals operate on a “reduced-fee-model” to provide affordable below market pricing hospital service to the rakyat. They rely on donations but need to derive revenue from the hospital operations to sustain as donations alone are not sufficient to run the hospitals.
The quantum of charitable donations tends to be uncertain and cannot be relied upon with certainty to fund the hospital operations.
It is important to note that any operational surpluses are retained and utilised to upgrade the hospital facilities and equipment as well as to cover operational costs to render up-to-date hospital treatments.
There are no shareholders and no dividends are declared nor are there any surpluses distributed to owners or members.
In other words, there are no personal beneficiaries as the whole focus and noble intention of the charitable hospitals is to provide affordable healthcare services to the public.