KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 – The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) views the Budget 2023 as a responsive and inclusive growth-oriented budget encompassing rakyat, diverse businesses and industries.
The president, Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan, said the budget also integrates environmental, social, and corporate governance into business practices to enhance economic resilience and sustainability that would buffer against future environmental and economic shocks.
“The budget’s speech indicates its commitment to rebuild the fiscal space for future economic shocks.
“These include a more targeted subsidy rationalisation approach, gradually reducing debt and liabilities, exploring new sources of sustainable revenue and minimising leakages as well as prioritising public expenditure,” he said in a statement today.
Low said despite budgeting a new record high development expenditure of RM97.0 billion, the government remains fully committed to fiscal consolidation and ensuring debt sustainability as it targets a reduction in the budget deficit to 5.0 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) or RM93.9 billion in 2023, from 5.6 per cent of GDP or RM99.5 billion in 2022.
He said continual business and economic reforms must be a priority for the current government, and bringing in measures for ease of doing business, revitalising investment, generating jobs, a competitive tax regime and a conducive investment climate, as well as efficient public delivery services, will help Malaysia achieve investor confidence and sustained economic growth.
Low added that the budget is also fittingly focused on increasing support for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), providing credit facilities and guarantees as well as other incentive measures.
“We welcome the reduction in company income tax rate for SMEs to 15 per cent from 17 per cent (resulting in tax savings of RM450 million benefitting 150,000 MSMEs), but the preferential threshold tax should be revised higher to RM1 million or at the current threshold of RM600,000 from the budget’s proposal of RM150,000 to help them to be more competitive and have leeway to reinvest from the tax savings,” he said.
He also said that while there are incentives for the private sector to hire fresh technical and vocational education and training (TVET) graduates, MSMEs need financial relief to help ease their operating costs, which have suffered increased cost pressures from all fronts, including a higher electricity tariff and the implementation of the Employment (Amendments) Act.