What’s in the budget for state governments?


Nowhere is the excessive centralisation of Malaysian politics more obvious than in how the National Budget is controlled and conceived. For example, the Prime Minister’s Department uses up 5.8% of the whole, with a volume that is 10 times the budget of the richest state, Selangor; and 15 times that of Penang’s.

Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak tabled the 2012 Budget amidst great fanfare, announcing a slew of benefits for almost every possible layer of society. One common criticism is that his administration was heavy on welfare handouts, despite the fact its Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) chief had earlier warned of the country’s bankruptcy should our deficit be allowed to continue. Malaysia, as a result, is in its 15th consecutive year of a budget deficit, and although the government expects this budget deficit to be reduced to 4.7% in 2012 from 5.7% last year, this will be achieved only given a five to six per cent economic growth something economists, including those from the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, have expressed serious doubts over.

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