Budget speech may not reflect reality: IDEAS

  • Ahead of the annual budget presentation in Parliament on 27 Oct 17, a think tank has warned that the speech and accompanying documents are not an accurate reflection of reality.
  • Tricia Yeoh, who is chief operating officer of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), said there were three main reasons why the budget presentation does not provide a complete picture of the state of the economy.
  • She said although the budget is tabled in October each year, a supplementary budget is also tabled, which raises the total expenditure of any given year.
  • She gave the example of 2016’s budget, which was originally MYR267.2bn. However, a supplementary budget was passed in Mar 17 for an additional MYR3.08bn for 2016.
  • In addition, she said, the budget tabled each year does not show the actual amount of debt borne by the government. The budget also glosses over other government obligations such as bail-outs for debt holders when privatised entities in which they hold debt go bankrupt.
  • Implicit liabilities are also unreported in the budget, she said, giving the example of 1MDB where only some explicit guarantees may be reflected in official documents. Thirdly, she said, there are commitments in the prime minister’s budget speech which are not followed through with in the financial documents.
  • For example, she said, there were several inconsistencies between the prime minister’s 2017 speech and the contents of the expenditure document.
  • These included “new programmes” in the speech which were already in existence, and no budget for mammogram screenings and HPV vaccinations despite such items being in the speech.

External Link : http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/10/27/think-tank-budget-speech-may-not-reflect-reality/