: A banking industry player hopes that Budget 2018 will facilitate the advancement of the digital economy, particularly high-technology industries, e-commerce and the manufacturing sector in terms of Industry 4.0.
In a statement Thursday, AMMB Holdings Bhd Group CEO Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said small and medium-sized enterprises, including the digital economy, were the nation's key growth drivers.
"These sectors should benefit from incentives that can stimulate further growth," he said.
He also expected the budget to provide incentives for M40 and B40 categories to address the rising cost of living and anticipated a continued focus on affordable housing with measures supporting home buyers and developers.
M40 refers to the middle 40 per cent income bracket, those with household income of between RM3,860 and RM8,319. B40 refers to the bottom 40 per cent of the households with monthly income RM3,900 and below.
Sulaiman, who is also AmBank (M) Bhd CEO, believed the government would lay the foundation for National Transformation 2050 in the budget to engage the younger generation in line with the Budget 2018 theme 'Shaping the Future'.
"Hence, we expect measures to promote technology such as improving Internet connectivity and developing the digital economy to be part of budget's highlights," he said.
He said the fiscal deficit target of three per cent for 2017 was likely to be achieved, given stabilising commodity prices, healthier tax collection, improving global growth, and ongoing fiscal consolidation.
"The fiscal deficit for 2018 is expected to reduce to 2.9 per cent of the gross domestic product on the back of higher revenue from stronger crude oil prices, solid tax collection as well as prudent spending," he said.