‘Govt must boost domestic spending’

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Local News | 0 comments

BUSINESS organisations want the Federal Government to draw up incentives and stimulus packages to spearhead the country’s economy under Budget 2024.

Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Low Kueck Shin said many companies were still struggling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The global economic uncertainties began early 2020 and the war between Russia and Ukraine that started in February last year is making matters worse,’’ he said when contacted.

Low hoped the government could come out with lower interest rates and soft loans to help businesses and companies grow.

He said when times were bad, the government should spend more money to boost domestic spending which in return would help the economy.

“We hope to see more allocation for public infrastructure projects and the education sector in next year’s budget,’’ said Low.

The Federal Government, he said, would create a chain reaction in the domestic economy by spending money on new public hospitals, building and upgrading roads, as well as bridges and flyovers.

Low said the construction sector would benefit from these projects as well as 240 other related activities such as logistics, transportation, building material, supply chains and food and beverage.

He said building new hospitals would help reduce congestion at the government hospitals such as Hospital Sultanah Aminah and improve the health delivery system.

“We also urge the government to build more vocational institutions to produce semi-skilled and skilled workers like developed nations such as Germany, Singapore and Japan,’’ he added.

Low suggested for investments in the education sector to focus on developing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics to help Malaysia maintain its competitiveness.

Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association (Perusim) secretary Hussein Ibrahim urged the government to focus on tackling the high cost of basic necessities in Budget 2024.

He said while the hike in prices of essential goods was not only affecting Malaysia but also other countries, the government should have a mechanism to control the situation.

“Businessmen have no choice but to pass the cost to consumers but this results in people becoming upset with us,’’ said Hussein.

He said the weakening ringgit and increasing inflation had pushed up prices of raw cooking materials such as seafood, chicken and vegetables between 30% and 40% since early this year.

He added that prices of dry items such as rice, onions, flour, sugar and cooking oil had also gone up, much to restaurant operators’ dismay.

“We should reduce exports of these items to Singapore and give priority to our people.

“The move will also help stabilise the prices,’’ said Hussien.

He proposed that the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry set up distribution centres at the southern, central, northern and east coast regions, as well as in Sabah and Sarawak.

“The move will eliminate the role of middlemen which is one of the main reasons prices of basic necessities in Malaysia are hard to control,’’ he said.

Budget 2024 will be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 13 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also Finance Minister.

Reference : https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2023/10/09/govt-must-boost-domestic-spending