KUALA LUMPUR: Allocation for economy, social protection and the environment should be balanced under the 2023 Budget to ensure people's well-being continues to be safeguarded.

Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia Sejahtera Centre for Sustainability and Humanity director Associate Professor Dr Zainal Abidin Sanusi said the three aspects were always included in the budget, but the aspect on well-being was not well-reflected in the provision of allocation.

He said the people's well-being needed to have a similar concept as Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so that the country could move forward in a balanced way.

"A comprehensive well-being is balancing these three aspects (economy, social protection and the environment) and when you want to give allocation, it has to be balanced," he told Bernama here recently.

He said in previous budgets, there were coordination problems in implementing social protection programmes.

This needs to be improved, he added.

According to Dr Zainal Abidin, in the context of environmental sustainability, the government needs to return to economic resilience by focusing on monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the budget.

"There should be balance for a strong monitoring, evaluation and coordination system, so do we invest in this? Do we invest in maintenance, meaning development expenditure and operational expenditure?

"Our willingness to invest, giving allocation, ensures a smooth implementation system," he added.

Meanwhile, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Finance, Universiti Malaya, Dr Mohd Zaidi Md Zabri said he hoped to see more allocation given to the Health Ministry as the country was still facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mohd Zaidi said a huge allocation was still needed in the fight against COVID-19.

"We are still dealing with the long-term effects of COVID-19, and with the problems of contract doctors, there is a need to strengthen the health system," he said.

He said the government should continue the aid for the needy, but the aid should be given to the target group and not as a one-off.

Special grants should be introduced for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to encourage them to go digital, thereby reducing their dependence on foreign workers, he added.

Meanwhile, Pertubuhan Mesra Pengguna Malaysia (PMPM) deputy president Azlin Othman said the government should increase the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) for all categories in the 2023 Budget to help them stabilise and recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the government should also focus on the needs of children and senior citizens.

She said a national action plan for social development should be formulated to empower the minority communities such as the Orang Asli, the Indian community and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak to realise the concept of togetherness.

"By doing so, it reflects the political commitment of the top leadership to ensure social development, especially the well-being of the Malaysian Family," she said.