“Malaysia’s economy is expected to recover with a return of growth in 2021…The World Bank”
By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 12 June 2020 issue
Last Friday (5Jun), Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled a RM35 billion stimulus package which will cover 40 initiatives to help stimulate the economy recovery from the impact of Covid-19. The short-term Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) package called “Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara” or “Penjana” was launched with three major goals to empower the people, propel businesses and to stimulate the economy.
The automotive, plantation and property sectors are some of the beneficiaries from the Economy Recovery Plans (Penjana). The PM announced that for the automobile sector there is a 100% sales tax exemption on locally assembled Completely Knocked Down (CKD) models while a 50% exemption on fully imported Completely Built-Up (CBU) models starting from June15 until Dec31. This move is expected to help overcome the lost sales and production during MCO.
In order to tackle the problem of unemployment, Prime Minister stated that the government will allocate RM9 billion to ensure job sustainability during the national recovery period post Covid-19. The allocation will be channelled through various initiatives which will benefit three million workers in the country. The initiatives will be set at RM600 per worker for up to 200 workers per company.
In addition the government will allocate RM50 million in matching grants for companies in the gig economy to make SOSCO and EPF contributions for their workers. There will be a special committee chaired by the ministers of Finance and Human Resources with members comprising leaders from the public as well as private sector to monitor initiatives related to the workers. In line with the government’s call to encourage SMEs to implement work-form-home practices, insurance coverage and tax incentives will be provided.
As businesses had been struggling with cashflow issues and reduced demand, the government assured that there would be help for all businesses regardless of size through various initiatives such as Shop Malaysia Online to encourage online shopping through the provision of promotion codes among others. There will be a RM700 million allocation to help SMEs digitalise their operations. Tax incentives would be extended for companies purchasing equipment such as Property, Plant and Equipment as well as thermal scanners. The government also will provide income tax rebates of up to RM20,000 for three years of assessment for SMEs set up between July1 and Dec31 in this year.
Furthermore, there will be a reintroduction of the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) which will see various incentives such as stamp duty exemptions for the purchase of homes costing between RM300,000 and RM2.5 million from June1, 2020 to May31, 2021 subject to a developer’s discount of at least 10%. The ERP will also encourage foreign direct investments (FDI) where companies both foreign and local, which make capital investment of between RM300 million and RM500 million will be able to enjoy zero investment tax for 10 years. While for capital investment above RM500 million, companies will be given 15 years of tax holidays. For Malaysian companies which relocate their overseas facilities back to home, will be entitled to a 100% Investment tax allowance for five years, which the tax holidays are subject to location transfer.
On 7 June, PM also has announced that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) will be replaced by the Recovery MCO (RMCO) with more relaxed conditions from June10 to Aug31 which will allow interstate travel, meetings and workshops and this augurs well for the tourism industry and marks the beginning of the recovery of domestic tourism.
According to The World Bank’s representative Firas Raad, Malaysia’s economy is expected to recover from the end of this year with a return to growth in 2021. With the pro-growth policies coupled with incentives, it would help to push the private sector which is the engine for growth from the current economic downturn. Firas Raad also added that Malaysia should continue its efforts on the reform agenda such as governance, regulatory environment and competition in economic sectors as well as education reformation in its bid to achieve a high-income nation status. The World Bank is also in the midst of reviewing the economic impact of Covid-19 before deciding whether to revise the country’s 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth target this month. Business activities in Malaysia are resuming as the country gradually eases itself from the Covid-19 MCO measures.
This week, on Thursday (11Jun), the Ringgit was 4.2495 against USD from 4.2753 on Tuesday (9Jun). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0493 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (11Jun).
On Monday (8Jun), the FBM KLCI gained 18.83 points or 1.21% to 1575.16 from previous Friday’s close of 1556.33. But as at Friday (12Jun) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI was at 1529.79 seeming to have followed the global markets which have all taken a breather from the bullish ride over the past 2 months.