Malaysia unveils record 2019 budget, fiscal deficit rises
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s new government has unveiled a record budget for 2019 despite battling a huge national debt, with new tax measures and increased dividends from national oil company Petronas intended to plug the country’s fiscal deficit.
The budget, the first under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad since his alliance won May’s general election, forecasts that the fiscal deficit will widen to 3.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, up from 2.8 percent targeted by the previous administration. Economic growth is to slow to 4.8 percent from 5.9 percent in 2017.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says the deficit will narrow to 3.4 percent next year and 3 percent in 2020.
He said Friday the 2019 budget will be a record 314.6 billion ringgit ($75.6 billion), up 8 percent from this year.