The Banking sector seems to agree that the Budget 2023 is an expansionary budget aiming at supporting targeted groups in a national recovery effort.
"We welcome the expansionary nature of Budget 2023, which provides substantial support to ease the financial burdens of the targeted groups. This includes providing the much needed social assistance while maintaining government’s commitment in ensuring fiscal sustainability via the review of public expenditure and a plan to have a more targeted subsidy plan towards vulnerable groups," says Mohd Rashid Mohamad, Group Managing Director/CEO, RHB Banking Group.
He says Budget 2023 will increase the momentum for economic recovery with emphasis on structural reforms to strengthen its economic resilience, measures to support the growth of SMEs and priority sectors.
"It will improve people’s well-being. Coupled with consumer spending related measures and targeted tax cuts for certain groups, this would result in multiplier effects on economic activity.
"As a financial services group, RHB will continue to play a significant role in supporting the nation’s economic recovery and development, in particular the growth of SMEs, as well as promote sustainable development towards supporting the country’s transition to a low carbon economy," he says.
CIMB Group CEO Dato’ Abdul Rahman Ahmad says the Malaysian Government’s focus on strengthening recovery momentum and economic resilience as well as implementing comprehensive reforms to benefit Keluarga Malaysia through Budget 2023 is welcomed.
"As Malaysia continues to recover post-pandemic amidst challenging global macroeconomic conditions and inflationary pressures, the responsive, responsible and reformist approach taken in Budget 2023 provides an optimal balance in helping the Rakyat and businesses alike to navigate this uncertain period," he says.
He also points out the initiatives to help the youth and B40 groups are also in the right direction.
"We welcome the focus on initiatives that will benefit our youths, the B40 group and those who are self-employed or in the gig economy, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the backbone of our economy.
"This includes, for example, various tax incentives, grants, and financing opportunities, which CIMB is proud to support via programmes such as Bank Negara Malaysia’s (“BNM”) iTEKAD initiative. We believe the initiatives announced in Budget 2023 will ultimately help to promote a more broad-based and sustainable recovery," he adds.
Lauding the increase in the Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) and Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 (ASB2) investment ceiling to RM300,000, he says this will increase Bumiputera equity ownership and participation and, in the long term, help to secure their financial resilience.
In view of the growing prevalence of scams and fraud, CIMB welcomes the Government’s initiatives such as the establishment of a National Scam Response Centre (NSRC).
On the Bank’s part, CIMB is firmly on track to fully implement the enhanced security measures against scams as announced recently by Bank Negara Malaysia. "We will continue to work closely with the authorities in order to protect consumers against fraud," he says.
In line with the country’s sustainability agenda, CIMB adds that it is encouraged to see the allocation for flood mitigation, highlighting the urgency of climate change adaptation. Similarly, CIMB is also pleased to support initiatives such as BNM’s Low Carbon Transition Facility (LCTF) in helping SMEs to adopt lower carbon practices.
As a financial institution, CIMB plays a critical role in channelling financing and capital in ways that will support a just transition towards a net zero economy and greater social equity.
"We will continue to support Malaysia’s ESG agenda through our sustainable finance products and services, including through Islamic finance value-based intermediation (“VBI”).
"As always, CIMB is committed to collaborate and engage with stakeholders across the private and public sectors and civil society in supporting the ambitions set out in Budget 2023 for the benefit of the Rakyat. We are confident that together, we will be able to create a productive and resilient economy that will help us all to weather the challenging environment," he says.
For Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli, Group president, CEO of Maybank Group
Chairman of The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) the budget lays the foundations for fiscal reforms, starting with the shift to targeted subsidies.
This must be complemented by sustainable revenue sources to reduce dependence on volatile commodity-related incomes and one-off tax revenues as seen in 2022, he says.
"Budget 2023 also highlights the latest measures that will be adopted by the banks in Malaysia to combat financial scams, this includes the migration from SMS One
"Time Password to a more secure authentication method for certain transactions including fund transfers and payments, change of personal information and account settings. Banks will also have a 24/7 dedicated complaint channel/hotline for customers to report incidents of scam/fraud.
"We also welcome the added spend under Budget 2023 to strengthen detection and reporting of cyber threats including the building of cyber forensic capabilities," he says.
In a media statement, he says the bank also support the continued emphasis to drive the ESG and climate change agenda under Budget 2023, which is a key agenda for the Malaysian financial sector.
ABM members have already agreed on a set of seven broad ESG principles for the Malaysian banking industry.
This includes the commitment to achieve carbon net zero across the entire business and financed customer portfolio, incorporate ESG into governance and risk management, as well as the commitment to identify, mitigate and manage risks of modern slavery and human rights across the supply chain.