The Sun Daily
7 October 2022
Budget 2023 comments: Banking sector
Public Bank Bhd founder, chairman emeritus, director and adviser Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow
We applaud the government’s vision in setting out our nation’s near and medium-term course with a well-planned Budget 2023. It strikes the right balance between on-going prioritisation of the rakyat’s well-being while guarding against potential challenges, and also sustaining Malaysia’s post-pandemic growth. Budget 2023’s spirit of inclusiveness reflects the government’s promise of leaving no one behind.
The government’s planned expenditure of a notably higher RM372.3 billion in 2023 with 37.2% allocated for programmes and projects under the social sector shows its resolve and commitment in reducing the income gap between the rakyat and the development gap among the states. This will help ensure Malaysia progress successfully and sustainably as a nation.
Budget 2023 adequately addresses the current needs of the B40 and M40 groups through various cash assistance programs with widened eligibility criteria, tax incentives for home ownership and extension of employment-related initiatives, amongst others. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) will also be supported through access to traditional and alternative financing options, tax incentives and extension of grants, amongst others. Issues like food security and preparedness for natural disasters were also addressed, in addition to infrastructure spending covering healthcare and education, and digital infrastructures to address development and digital gaps.
We laud the government’s renewed focus on sustainability-based initiatives in Budget 2023, with more emphasis given toward enhancing green investments for the development of low-carbon, resilient and healthy urban environments. To this end, the government’s higher expenditure of RM95 billion for development in 2023 will see allocations channelled to programmes and projects with high socio-economic impacts in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Public Bank group has already embarked on this journey and reaffirms its commitment in partnering the government and various stakeholders toward advancing these agendas.
We are fully supportive of Budget 2023 which is expansionary but necessary in current times to sustain the post-pandemic recovery of the nation. We are confident that the continued partnership of the public and private sectors will enhance the resilience of our economy and strengthen our recovery, while enhancing the well-being of the rakyat.
Maybank Group CEO & Association of Banks in Malaysia chairman Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli
Budget 2023 seeks to balance the need for sustained domestic growth amidst global economic headwinds while ensuring fiscal prudence given current volatility seen in financial and currency markets.
We welcome budget allocations, tax incentives and fiscal measures that support domestic economic growth and are channelled towards themes of inclusivity, equality, sustainability, security and building resilience, which applies to all segments of society and business sectors.
Such incentives and measures are demonstrated through the two percentage points reduction in personal and SME income tax rates; the enhancements in financial assistance and welfare payments to lower income and vulnerable groups; re-building of retirement and voluntary savings; strengthening of food and social security; acceleration of tourism industry recovery; making home ownership affordable; improving essential public services like healthcare and education and improving preparedness, responses and mitigations to natural disasters.
Equally important is that Budget 2023 lays the foundations for fiscal reforms, starting with the shift to targeted subsidies. This must be complemented by sustainable revenue sources to reduce dependence on volatile commodity-related incomes and one-off tax revenues as seen in 2022.
Budget 2023 also highlights the latest measures that will be adopted by the banks in Malaysia to combat financial scams as announced recently by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), which the banks are fully committed to. We also welcome the added spend under Budget 2023 to strengthen detection and reporting of cyber threat including the building of cyber forensic capabilities.
We also support the continued emphasis to drive the ESG and climate change agenda under Budget 2023, which is a key agenda for the Malaysian financial sector. ABM members have already agreed on a set of seven broad ESG principles for the Malaysian banking industry.
AMMB Holdings Bhd group CEO Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir
AmBank is pleased to contribute to the government’s continued support for the growth of SME, which are a key contributor to Malaysia’s economy. SME will certainly be able to benefit from the increased allocations and incentives, namely Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia 2023 to RM45 billion, encompassing direct loans, alternative financing and financial guarantees. Alongside this, creating greater access to financing for SME, Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP) will increase the guarantee limit to up to RM9 billion for SME, which will serve to drive further contribution to Malaysia’s economy.
In addition, the initiative to reduce taxable income for micro SME certainly bodes well, particularly within this challenging environment where many businesses are still recovering from the pandemic and are straddled with cash flow issues.
To continue unlocking growth potential and transform as future-ready businesses, it is vital that SME embrace digitalisation, while tapping into sectors with strong prospects. In line with this, the government’s establishment of an RM10 billion fund via BNM to support the automation and digitalisation of SME, as well as the tourism and agriculture sectors is indeed timely and necessary.
Affin Bank Bhd president and group CEO Datuk Wan Razly Wan Abdullah
Affin Bank welcomes the expansionary, well-balanced Budget 2023 of RM372.3 billion, aiming towards sustaining the country’s economic recovery momentum from Covid-19, against the backdrop of sluggish global economic growth and other external headwinds.
The more comprehensive and expanded direct cash assistance amounting to a total of around RM10 billion under Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia and Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat, will enable the targeted group to meet their most pressing needs according to their priorities, while also creating multiplier effects in the local economy.
SME form the bedrock of Malaysian economy, and they are the most vulnerable to any economic challenges. The various assistance for the SME, including the RM10 billion fund under BNM and guarantee limit up to RM9 billion through SJPP announced under Budget 2023 will further boost their ongoing recovery efforts and ensure their place in the mainstream of socio-economic developments.
Affin Bank has taken action over the last few years to support businesses and our customers. We remain confident in the resilience of the Malaysian economy to weather any challenges and will continue to play our part to help maintain a vibrant business environment that will form a foundation for a more sustainable economic growth.
CIMB Group CEO Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad
We welcome the focus on initiatives that will benefit our youths, the B40 group and those who are self-employed or in the gig economy, as well as MSME, the backbone of our economy. This includes, for example, various tax incentives, grants, and financing opportunities, which CIMB is proud to support via programmes such as BNM’s iTEKAD initiative. We believe the initiatives announced in Budget 2023 will ultimately help to promote a more broad-based and sustainable recovery.
We also laud the increase in the Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) and Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 investment ceiling to RM300,000, which will increase bumiputra equity ownership and participation and, in the long term, help to secure their financial resilience.
CIMB welcomes the government’s initiatives such as the establishment of a National Scam Response Centre. On the bank’s part, we are firmly on track to fully implement the enhanced security measures against scams as announced recently by BNM. We will continue to work closely with the authorities in order to protect consumers against fraud.
CIMB plays a critical role in channelling financing and capital in ways that will support a just transition towards a net zero economy and greater social equity. We will continue to support Malaysia’s ESG agenda through our sustainable finance products and services, including through Islamic finance value-based intermediation.
OCBC Bank (Malaysia) CEO Ong Eng Bin
Budget 2023 is responsive, responsible and reformist, even if much more can and remains to be done. It is heartening to see the needs of the lower income and marginalised groups continuing to be attended to through an emphasis on their wellbeing.
The reduction in personal income tax for those in the RM50,000 to RM100,000 income category is welcome news even as those in this group continue to face the hardships associated with the ever rising cost of living.
I am also delighted to see education continuing to be given priority through the increase in budget allocation to RM55.6 billion and the numerous forward-looking initiatives contained in the related plans; the commitment to creating job opportunities for those struggling to find one; and the emphasis on woman empowerment.
We hope that these will pave the way for further responsiveness and an even more responsible posture as we attend to the underlying needs of the nation as a whole so we can renew our journey toward becoming a developed and high income nation, one where the needs of everyone regardless of social status is seen to.
Above all, the reformist agenda must be kept a top priority item. We have come through the pandemic together. Now, we must stay together. By keeping sustainability as an integral part of the equation, including through a strong focus on youth and development at grassroots level, we believe the correct signals are being sent out for our rebuilding efforts to thrive.
Standard Chartered Malaysia CEO Mak Joon Nien
The RM327.3 billion Budget 2023 is an inclusive budget that balances modest fiscal consolidation with the need to support the economy and improving the rakyat’s wellbeing. Amid global headwinds, the Budget will strengthen the country’s resilience over the long-term with a record RM95 billion being allocated for development expenditure.
The RM55 billion allocations for subsidies, assistance and incentives, on top of the reduction in income tax and price control of goods and services, are a welcomed reprieve for the rakyat in helping them manage the rising cost of living. Targeted subsidies will help the most vulnerable community cope as the country accelerates its growth momentum.
It is encouraging to see an allocation of RM73 million to improve monitoring, detection and forensic capabilities to combat cybercrime, in addition to the five key security measures recently implemented by Bank Negara Malaysia to help protect banking customers from scams. We are committed to provide full support to the authorities for the setting up of a National Scam Response Centre as a crucial platform for victims to receive timely and needed assistance.
Standard Chartered is heartened by the women empowerment agenda in the Budget, from the allocation of RM235 million to help women build, upgrade and market their businesses to the training programmes to increase the number of women in leadership roles, and income tax exemptions to help women returning to work.
As a strong proponent for MSME to get access to financial support, the financing facilities of SemarakNiaga amounting to RM45 billion and the provision of RM9 billion worth of guarantee schemes by SJPP will aid them in their recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic. The tax reduction rate in taxable income for the MSME to 15% will help alleviate their cash burdens in the current rising interest rates environment.
The provision of RM92 million for the development of the halal industry will boost the country’s halal export value. We take pride in being the first international Islamic bank in Malaysia to offer Halal360 to help local halal businesses thrive within the global halal trade economic landscape.
The introduction of more efficient tax processes such as e-invoicing and Tax Identification Number will elevate tax experience and reduce administrative burden for companies, particularly for smaller businesses. This new tax incentive framework will position Malaysia as an attractive investment destination in light of global tax developments.
As facilitators of cross-border trade, the introduction of an investment fund with an allocation of over RM1 billion is timely and will enhance Malaysia’s ability to continue attracting quality investments.
The RM10 billion allocation provided via BNM which covers the automation and digitalisation of SME will act as an enabler in unlocking access to the world economy for everyone to participate in to ensure a more balanced growth and reset globalisation.