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Budget 2023 to maintain recovery momentum, prioritise sustainability

Budget 2023 will maintain Malaysia’s current economic recovery momentum and build long-term resilience, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz on Monday (Sept 19).

“The upcoming national budget, which will be tabled on Oct 7, will prioritise maintaining the current economic recovery momentum, continuing reforms to improve people’s welfare, and building resilience to ensure we as a nation are ready for any future challenges,” Tengku Zafrul told business leaders at The Edge Malaysia Centurion Club 2022 ceremony.

“The government will continue to prioritise sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance concerns) through our whole nation approach,” he added.

Tengku Zafrul highlighted that climate disasters have been occurring around the globe, as well as on home soil. At end-2021, the country saw one of the worst floods in the nation’s history.

He said these climate change impacts have exposed socio-economic structural faults, which are critical to saving lives and livelihoods.

“The silver lining from this dramatic turn of events in climate views is the resulting sense of urgency and the increased awareness of the importance of embracing sustainability and ESG principles to build long-term climate and socio-economic resilience,” he said.

“The Malaysian government is resolute in its commitment to implement development projects and programmes that prioritise ESG principles or are aligned to the UNSDG (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals).

“Further [to] our goal of becoming a carbon neutral nation by as early as 2050, Malaysia will work closely with Asean countries with similar visions through the Asia zero-emission community,” he added.

Zafrul said that for Budget 2023, three out of six consultation papers issued by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) revolve around ESG and sustainability.

“So, this really reflects [the] MOF’s focus on being responsive to ESG developments and on being responsible for facilitating sustainable development for the future.

“We are not only doing this because it makes better fiscal sense in the long term, but also because it is the right thing, for we must never fulfil current needs at the expense of our children’s future.

“In striking that balance, the MOF has also tried to be reformist in our approach to investing in key structural challenges and building the resilience of our nation, as well as the competitiveness of our business ESG considerations,” he added.

Zafrul said companies have their role to play in this ecosystem and the ball is on their field to adopt ESG considerations to remain competitive locally and internationally.

“There is a wealth of data which shows that companies focusing on ESG issues have managed to reduce costs, increase employee productivity, reduce risks and create more business opportunities.

“As such, for companies to remain competitive, regionally and globally, ESG considerations are no longer a choice but a profit-oriented requisite,” the minister said.

  • The Edge Markets