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Budget 2021 Commentary: Companies and boards should mirror Government’s efforts in prioritising People’s well-being

6 Nov 2020

By Michele Kythe Lim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia (ICDM)


The Government’s focus for the 2021 Budget is centred on safeguarding the Rakyat’s well-being, whilst investing in key pillars to stimulate economic activity, creating and safeguarding existing jobs, and caring for the underserved communities. Alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is reflected in the holistic approach which is underscored by three (3) thrusts i.e. Rakyat’s Prosperity, Business Continuity and Economic Resilience.

As Malaysia embarks on the recovery of its economy, the Government has set the right tone from the top, which will simultaneously create new economic and revenue streams, generate jobs and create sustainable income avenues, and opportunities for the people.

On the business front, the Government’s efforts to drive investments, encourage innovation, strengthen strategic sectors and facilitate business growth are a positive sign for Malaysian businesses. With COVID-19 greatly impacting companies across all sectors, initiatives such as tax incentives, development schemes, grants and loans for businesses will support companies as they re-strategise and pivot their businesses through digitalisation or other means.

In that respect, Malaysian companies should take a leaf from the Government’s approach – now, more than ever, it is critical for companies to balance their financial and social obligations to ensure the sustainability of their business. From adoption of technology, building more resilient supply chains, transitioning or adapting hybrid business models, incorporating greater focus on e-commerce, to people policies which include focussing on the wellbeing of human capital assets such as hiring across a broader segment of the population, including the retirees, we hope to see a future with stronger, more resilient and socially conscious companies that are driven by creating positive impact.