Ahead of Budget, PM says hard to cut taxes and raise subsidies together

Soo Wern Jun
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) attends the opening ceremony of the 10th International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference in Kuala Lumpur October 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it would be difficult to lower taxes and increase subsidies simultaneously, a day before Putrajaya presents its Budget for 2020.

He acknowledged calls for both but said there must be balanced against one another.

“What the people want is lower taxes and increased subsidies, that is contrary.

“You can’t have lower taxes and increase in subsidies. There must be a balance between the two.

“We will try to lower the taxes but the government must have money if we are going to give subsidies,” he told a press conference after launching the International Green Technology and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference (IGEM) 2019 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

When asked for hints about the Budget, he said the government would face financial difficulties if it cut taxes excessively.

He also said the same would happen if it continued to be indiscriminate with subsidies.

“It must be given to the deserving groups of people.  

“Even among the B40 (bottom 40) group, there are people who will not need any subsidies.

“We are going into details who will receive the subsidy from the government.

“With regard to taxes we will try to tax the rich more than the poor. That is the principle behind our taxes,” said Dr Mahathir.

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