Media Statement: Budget 2020 Roundtable Dialogue

By Benedict Weerasena

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The Bipartisan Budget 2020 Roundtable Dialogue with the Theme “United We Tack to Avoid Potential Recession” was successfully held on the 12thof September 2019.  

Held at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, this Roundtable Dialogue was jointly organized by Institute for Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (INSAP) and Bait Al-Amanah (House of Trust). 

Seeking to give voice to all Malaysians via focused stakeholder engagements, the Roundtable Dialogue was attended by representatives from corporate bodies and business entities, non-governmental organisations, communities, financial and economic experts and academia as well as political parties, including from Sabah and Sarawak. 

Highly interesting discussion sessions were held including how Malaysia can better prepare for the rainy days ahead, in light of heightened uncertainties in the global and domestic environment.

With the external headwinds, contingency measures are very much needed though the government has not much fiscal capacity to introduce such measures.

Hence, the government needs to look for ways to raise revenue, considering the substantial shortfall with the abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax. 

Many interesting sessions throughout the day

Instead of stop gap measures, raising productivity and living standards in the long run needs to be a key priority in spearheading growth and transformation. This begins with education reform in ensuring optimal human capital development. 

Similarly, initiatives which address the root cause of poverty need to take center stage, instead of ‘band-aid solutions’.

To ensure no one is left behind, the way we measure poverty has to change. In addition, we need to return to the core of the 1ststrategy of the New Economic Policy which is to eradicate poverty for all Malaysians irrespective of ethnicity. This includes upholding a needs-based approach when it comes to poverty eradication. 

Dr Chandra Muzaffar sharing insightful perspectives

Moving towards 2030, there needs to be a strategic push towards technological advancement and a greater emphasis on research and development to propel the economy forward. Improvement in infrastructure including logistics and internet connectivity among others is crucial to boost productivity and support economic expansion. 

Indeed, this Roundtable Dialogue has highlighted the importance of promoting bipartisan initiatives on issues of national importance. 

With a strong desire to create the right economic environment for Malaysia to prosper and grow, we hope that the proposals put forth will be taken into consideration for a more holistic and innovative Budget 2020. 

Participants having a lively discussion

**INSAP, as one of the pioneer think-tanks in Malaysia, focuses on political-economic research. As a not-for-profit organisation, INSAP develops long-term strategies and policies which are relevant to the interests and aspirations of Malaysians and has participated in stakeholder engagements for the Malaysia Plan, the country’s annual budget, the National Education Blueprint and various policy discussions at federal, state and political party levels. 

**Bait Al Amanah (House of Trust), as an independent and neutral research institute,  holds the responsibility of conducting studies and research to provide valuable and in-depth insights regarding governance and democracy, economics, security and issues of national importance. Bait Al Amanah was set up to be a non-profit research institution that helps improve policy and decision-making process through sound, independent and multidisciplinary research and analysis. 

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