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MoF mulling tabling of Fiscal Responsibility Bill at next Parliament session

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz wraps up debate on the flood disaster during the Special Session in Parliament, January 20, 2022. — Bernama pic

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz wraps up debate on the flood disaster during the Special Session in Parliament, January 20, 2022. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is looking to table the Fiscal Responsibility Bill at the next parliament session, scheduled to begin on July 18.

Finance Minister Tengku said the Bill includes efforts to broaden the country’s tax base, including taxing the shadow economy, as well as improve tax compliance and administration towards helping boost tax collection.

“This is crucial to replenish the nation's coffers to support our developmental and longer-term reform agenda,” he said in his keynote address at the virtual Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) International Accountants Conference 2022 (MIA Conference 2022) here, today.

On the government’s efforts to support the nation’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspirations towards achieving climate and socio-economic resilience, Tengku Zafrul said three main strategies have been prioritised to drive sustainable nation building.

He said firstly, it is to strengthen sustainability-related financing, which complements the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by coordinating initiatives and programmes inculcating the elements of ESG, which will help make Malaysia a sustainable financing hub.

“Among our efforts include: at the ministry and national level, via the annual budgets, the MoF has tagged all programmes and projects under the development expenditure to the SDGs,” he said, adding that not many were aware that Malaysia is among 10 countries in the world that had fully aligned their national budget measures to the SDGs.

Tengku Zafrul said the second main strategy is to develop the capacity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as one of the key building blocks to achieve Malaysia’s ESG aspirations and net zero-carbon goal by 2050.

“Through the recently launched Principles for Good Governance (PGG) to be implemented by the government-linked investment companies (GLICs), we aim to catalyse the embracing of ESG principles by the SMEs,” he said.

On the third main strategy, he said it is the establishment of the Malaysia Sustainable Development Goals Trust Fund (MySDG Fund) by the government, through the MoF and in collaboration with the UN in Malaysia.

Tengku Zafrul said Malaysia continues to enable the implementation of ESG-focused development projects and programmes under the recently issued pre-budget statement for Budget 2023.

“We have outlined a few key priorities, including Malaysia’s strategic transition from the current recovery phase towards longer-term reforms.

“These involve facilitating better income opportunities and enhanced holistic wellbeing to achieve the vision of a more inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development for Keluarga Malaysia,” he said.

Themed “Leading ESG, Charting Sustainability”, the two-day virtual MIA Conference 2022 aims to upskill accountants with future-relevant competencies to lead and support business sustainability in a landscape where climate-related risks and poor governance threaten the equilibrium of humanity and the planet. — Bernama