Najib serves up buffet of election Budget goodies

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) presenting the 2018 budget at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) presenting the 2018 budget at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: AFP

With just months to go before the next Malaysian general election, Prime Minister Najib Razak left little to chance in presenting his 2018 Budget yesterday by dishing out a buffet of goodies.

He called it "the Mother of all Budgets", as he sought to cool public anger at the high cost of living in recent years.

With South-east Asia's third-biggest economy speeding along nicely, he could afford to turn rainmaker. He raised the economic growth forecast this year to between 5.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent.

Babies get funds from government unit trusts, while imams, civil servants and padi farmers get cash handouts, and small traders, easier access to business loans.

Datuk Seri Najib was also mindful that international investors want him to maintain fiscal discipline. He said the persistent fiscal deficit will be trimmed to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product next year, from 3 per cent this year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2017, with the headline 'Najib serves up buffet of election Budget goodies'. Print Edition | Subscribe