udget 2014, due to be tabled by the middle of next month, is aimed at reducing the gap between the country’s rich and the poor, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.
The middle-income group is set to benefit the most from next year’s national budget, he said without elaborating.
Ahmad Husni said the Government’s main aim in the budget was to bring down the country’s deficit by 3% to 5% next year.
“Whether in the form of reducing subsidies, implementing goods and services tax (GST) or other initiatives, the end objective is the well-being of the people.
“We are looking at several approaches,” he said, adding that the people would understand the rationalisation of subsidies and where the country was heading when the budget was tabled.
Ahmad Husni, who is Tambun MP, said the Government would be saving RM24bil by reducing petrol, diesel and gas subsidies, which were basically enjoyed by the higher and middle-income groups.
“The money saved can be allocated for the development of the country, especially with the Government focusing more on affordable housing schemes,” he told reporters at the Tambun parliamentary Merdeka celebrations in Tanjung Rambutan, near here, yesterday.
He said Sabah and Sarawak as well as many parts of the peninsula still lacked proper infrastructure.
“Imagine the billions we can save by further reducing petrol and diesel subsidies as well as other subsidies which can total RM30bil,” he added.
Ahmad Husni said the money saved from further reduction of subsidies could be used for innovation, creativity and research and development activities as future investments.