MALAYSIANS hope that the 2023 Budget will put people first, addressing uncertainties and challenges as the country slowly recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
They also demand that the government remain focused on developing and further strengthening the domestic economy.
Sales representative Tan Lay Mai said 2020 and 2021 have been difficult years for most companies due to the negative impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
While noting that the economy was slowly recovering, she lamented that the cost of living was rising at the same time due to escalating prices for essential goods, and she wanted the government to address this issue.
She called on both the federal and Johor governments to do more to attract investors to create more job opportunities for locals.
“We have received many vacancies from Singapore-based companies looking for Malaysians to work in the republic,” Tan said.
She said the advertised position is for F&B outlet positions, truck and bus drivers and factory workers with a starting salary of S$1,500 (RM4,800).
Chinese schoolgirl Azrul Abdullah, 16, said job opportunities should be one of the areas the government should focus on in next year’s budget.
“Competition in the labor market is becoming increasingly intense and school leavers and graduates face recruitment challenges,” he said.
Azrul said Malaysia needs to develop a more highly skilled workforce if it wants to attract high-tech investment.
He commended the government’s efforts to encourage more students to enroll in technical or vocational courses.
Azrul, who has been helping out at his family’s booth, said he hopes his ability to speak Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin would give him an edge in the application.
“Malaysian students should be encouraged to learn a third or fourth language at school,” he said.
Senior Manager Nithia Ponukon said the well-being of the Rakyat should be a priority in next year’s budget to deal with global economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic and the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.
“At the same time, our politicians should stop bickering, put aside political differences and focus on the good of the people,” she said.
Nithia, 72, said political stability is important if Malaysia is to continue attracting more investors, otherwise the country would lose out to other countries in the region.
She said like other countries around the world, Malaysia is also facing economic challenges due to the pandemic.
“Malaysia should reduce its reliance on foreign labor and create more jobs for local jobseekers,” Nithia added.
She also hoped there would be more goodies in store for seniors in the 2023 budget, particularly in regards to healthcare for them.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz is expected to submit the 2023 budget to Parliament on October 7, 2022.