THE 2018 Budget is pragmatic, balanced and generous.
It is pragmatic because it succeeds in meeting some of the basic needs of the rakyat, especially with the coming general election.
The budget is also balanced because it addresses the challenges of maintaining fiscal prudence and stability by constraining the budget deficit to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product, despite promoting high economic growth.
I hope the 2.8 per cent target for the budget deficit is realised next year.
There was a wide range of goodies for Malaysians across the board, particularly for lower-income groups, which rightly deserve more help to counter rising prices and to give them a better quality of life.
The bottom 40 per cent and middle 40 per cent income groups gained considerably from income tax cuts and other liberal tax concessions. Hopefully, absolute poverty will be eradicated.
Overall, it was a comprehensive and satisfying budget that will benefit the poor.
It is hoped that the full benefits will go to the rakyat and that leakages and corruption will not negate a good budget.
TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM
Chairman, Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies, Kuala Lumpur