Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has forewarned investors to expect "pain and sacrifice" in the Budget 2019 and Pakatan Harapan government's fiscal measures.
"Fiscal consolidation will not be achieved easily. We must be willing to expect some pain and even offer some sacrifice.
"[...] In this context, to quote our Prime Minister (Dr Mahathir Mohamad), the budget (2019) is of sacrifice, everyone will have to sacrifice and we have to accept that we must sacrifice," he said at the 'Malaysia: A New Dawn' conference in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
When his remarks drew nervous murmurs from the audience, comprising mainly of those from the financial sector, Lim paused. He then had those present in stitches when he stated, "Twenty-four percent only lah."
The figure refers to the amount of corporate tax in Malaysia.
Lim, who sits on the Tax Reform Committee, said the government plans to diversify tax revenue and review existing tax incentives.
"The tax reform committee has been given the mandate to minimise the tax gap, diversify the tax revenue and make the tax system more neutral, efficient and progressive.
"It is also tasked to explore ways to minimise leakages and evasion.
"The same committee will review all tax incentives given out previously to ensure that these measures are still relevant and supportive of high-quality economic growth," he added.
Earlier, during the keynote address, Mahathir had hinted that the government might introduce new taxes but the premier was scant on details.