KUALA LUMPUR, April 5, 2020: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has proposed the government to reduce corporate and personal income tax across the board, to simplify financing procedures and to bring down the tuition fees for public universities and colleges.
Its president Tan Sri T.C Goh said this is necessary in order to assist the business sector and the people to survive the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO).
In its latest proposal, Huazong also urged the government not to neglect the millions of foreign workers, both legal and illegal, in the country, and an estimated 300,000 Malaysians who commute to and from Singapore daily to earn a living, whose livelihood has been severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the MCO and are in urgent need of government assistance.
“If the situation gets worse, domestic demand for labour force will inevitably slow down, and the business sector will have no choice but to make difficult and painful decision to lay off workers. Hence, the government needs to better prepare itself to tackle a massive wave of unemployment,” said Goh in a statement issued today.
He went on to note that, Huazong had in the last few days gathered more feedback from its member associations and the Chinese community concerning the far-reaching dreadful impacts of Covid-19 pandemic and the MCO on various sectors, and compiled a 25-points proposal for the government’s attention and consideration.
Prior to this, Huazong had also presented its views and proposals on the devastating impacts of Covid-19 and MCO on the economy, the business sector, and the people at large, in a memorandum submitted to the prime minister and the relevant ministries.
The latest 25-points proposal to the government is as follows:
1. To reduce Corporate Tax for a period of two years at least (2020 and 2021), and to provide moderate adjustment in the 3rd year; to raise the taxable profit for the business sector (especially for the small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed), and to reduce the tax rate. For instance, to further raise the taxable profit for the SMEs for this year’s tax assessment which was fixed at RM600,000 and, to further reduce the current Corporate Tax rate of 17%, in order to help ease the private sector’s tax burden.
2. To downward revise Personal Income Tax rate by raising the taxable Personal Income (especially for the medium-and-lower income groups).
3. To give rebate for renewal of road tax for commercial vehicles since they were affected by the MCO.
4. To give tax incentive to property owner who gives discount or waives rental for individual or commercial units.
B). Labour Force
1. To pay due attention to the potential issues facing the millions of foreign workers who are present in the country, whose livelihood has been badly affected by the MCO.
2. To pay special attention to an estimated 300,000 Malaysians working in Singapore who are currently caught in a dire situation.
3. To temporary shelve or revise the existing minimum wage policy.
4. Government must accept the employers’ approach to layoff or reduce the wage of employees, in order to cut losses or to restructure the company.
1. Police should reconsider the practice of cuffing those who violate the MCO, unless they resisted arrest.
2. There should be a proper duration for detention of the MCO offenders. For example, a couple in Kuantan was detained for five days and their families were declined visitation during their detention. The couple was subsequently released after they were charged in court and fined RM300. This too should be reviewed and reconsidered.
3. Police should step up surveillance of business and industrial sectors during the MCO period, to better prevent crimes in these places.
1. To downward revise the tuition fees for students of national or state public universities and colleges, and to waive miscellaneous fees for this year, and to encourage these higher-learning institutions to temporary freeze increment of tuition and miscellaneous fees.
2. To relax the conditions for application of the Higher Education loan, so that more students from the medium-low-income families could obtain full loan.
3. To consider providing assistance to poor students to acquire personal computer to allow them to tap into the online study measure initiated by the government. According to the nationwide surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education, 80% of the secondary students and 36% of the primary students are in possession of mobile phone and tablet computer, but only 5% to 14% of them have laptop and desktop computers. This means a majority of them are relying on their mobile phones to conduct online study of their courses, and it is greatly inconvenient for them.
4. Government must ensure a reliable-and-efficient broadband service in the rural areas, so that the online study approach is uninterrupted.
5. Besides the university students, Government should also provide financial aid to secondary and primary students.
1. Banks should not only give priority to their existing customers when comes to processing of application for financing, instead to treat all new applications as their new customers and to provide the necessary financing.
2. Banks to simplify loan application and guarantee procedures.
3. Banks to provide more low-interest or zero-interest financing to help the SMEs, self-employed and needy individuals to get through the current global crisis.
1. Government to raise the bankruptcy threshold from the existing amount of RM10,000 to RM100,000 to allow more breathing space for debt-ridden companies to resolve their financial issues.
2. To further reduce electricity charges for both domestic and commercial sectors.
3. Domestic and commercial water charges too should be further reduced.
4. To further relax the conditions to allow non-welfare civil society organizations, such as Chinese clan associations and religious bodies to come in to assist the government to provide emergency food and medical aids to the needy and vulnerable groups.
5. To encourage telecommunication companies to bring down their charges besides providing free quotas for internet access.
6. There should be a standardised business operating hours nationwide under the MCO as, currently some states are implementing their own business operating hours that are different from what has been announced by the Federal government. For instance, some states are allowing essential businesses including the restaurants to operate from 7am to 7pm, or 6am to 6pm (for Sabah), when the operating hours announced by the Federal government recently was from 8am to 8pm. The people were also promptly notified of this by the National Security Council (NSC) through their mobile phones. This has inevitably created confusion among the people, as well as unnecessary arguments with the local authority and the enforcement agencies.