At the tabling of the budget, Finance Minister YB Lim Guan Eng struck a balanced tone by sticking to the need for fiscal discipline whilst also remaining expansionary.
The budget placed a lot more emphasis on job creation and shifted away from the outright disbursement of large cash handouts and subsidies as seen in prior budgets before.
Among the measures include a Malaysians@Work initiative aimed at creating better employment opportunities for youth and women, as well as reduce dependence on foreign labour.
Malaysians who replace foreign workers will get a monthly wage incentive of RM350/RM500 for two years, depending on the sector. Similarly, employers will get a monthly incentive of up to RM250 a month throughout the same period.
With expectations that 2020 will be another year of a sustained global economic slowdown, the government also focused on the attraction of FDIs and incentives to attract large multi-national corporations (MNCs) to set-up shop in Malaysia.
These include a RM1 billion allocation in investment incentive to attract Fortune 500 companies and global unicorns. The move is intended to create supporting industries that will boost job creation and aid development of the SME segment as an important pillar of the economy.
Technology also received a large allocation of the budget particularly to accelerate the deployment of 5G in the country through a RM50million grant.
There were also initiatives to propel the use of e-wallet via a RM30 seeding incentive to qualified Malaysians aged 18 and above with annual income less than RM100,000 as the economy evolves towards a cashless society.