Budget 2019 Highlights

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 2): The following are the highlights of Budget 2019:

  • Themed 'Malaysia Wibawa, Ekonomi Dinamik, Rakyat Sejahtera', Budget 2019 will have 3 focus areas, and 12 main strategies to return Malaysia's economic position as an Asian Tiger
    • 1st focus: Implement institutional reforms; 2nd: Ensure people's well-being; 3rd: Nurture a culture of entrepreneurship
  • Govt real debt and liabilities as at end-June 2018 stood at RM1.065 trillion, which is RM350 billion more than the official sum revealed by the previous government
  • Govt forecasts 2019 GDP growth at 4.9% despite global economic landscape uncertainty
  • Putrajaya's 2019 debt expected to reach 51.8% of GDP, while total liability declines to 73.5%
  • Govt guarantees rose from RM69.2b in 2008 to RM238b in 2017, a drastic jump of 244%
  • Govt discovered that the previous administration had secretly paid nearly RM7 billion to settle 1MDB’s debts as of April 20, 2018
  • Govt may need to pay another RM43.9b to settle 1MDB debt
  • Govt will take action to recover funds lost or stolen from 1MDB
  • 1MDB, Malaysian govt won't pay the balance US$4.32b to IPIC and Aabar but will seek return of US$1.46b paid
  • Govt to start receiving international bids for superyacht Equanimity within one month from Nov 5, 2018
  • RM60b MRT3 project deferred till MRT2 is completed
  • Klang Valley Double Track Project worth RM5.2b will be re-tendered via open tender, which is expected to bring bigger cost savings
  • Govt will table the Fiscal Responsibility Act in 2021 to prevent uncontrolled spending that causes super huge debts
  • Govt will pursue PPP model for land transactions via open tender
  • Govt will sell lands on scheduled and staggered basis to the highest bidder to maximise govt revenue
  • Govt to renegotiate direct or limited tender contracts worth RM19b, with a minimum cost-cutting target of 10% or RM1.9b
  • Govt to set up Airport Real Estate Investment Trust to obtain up to RM4b funding via 30% equity sale
  • Govt to introduce Government Procurement Act in 2019 to ensure transparency and open competition, accompanied by open tender practices and punitive action for any abuse of power in relation to contract issuance
  • Govt will introduce a credit system for sales tax deductions from Jan 1 to avoid double-taxing and lower business costs
  • Services tax will be imposed on imported services
  • Govt plans to implement scheduled land sales to the highest bidders subject to land conditions to maximise govt revenue
  • Govt to propose departure levy be imposed on air travellers leaving the country from June 1, 2019
    • Govt plans to impose departure levy of RM20 on travellers flying to Asean; RM40 on those going to other countries
  • Rate of stamp duty on property transfer worth more than RM1m will be raised by 1% from 3% to 4%
  • Only 545 items were zero-rated under GST, while under SST, almost 10 times more items are exempted from sales tax
  • Govt will launch a Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme to allow taxpayers to voluntarily declare any unreported income
  • For locals and PRs, a 5% real property gains tax will be imposed, from 0% now
    • This is for the disposal of properties in the 6th year and beyond, from the date of purchase.
    • The tax is exempted for low cost, low-medium cost and affordable housing with prices below RM200,000.
  • For companies and foreigners (non-PRs), real property gains tax to be doubled to 10%.
    • This is for the disposal of properties in the 6th year and beyond, from the date of purchase
  • Annual gaming licence fee for casinos to be raised from RM120m to RM150m; gaming tax on casinos to be raised to 35% of GGR
  • Gaming machine dealer's licence to be raised from RM10,000 to RM50,000 per year; tax on gaming machines also up from 20% to 30% of gross collection
  • Putrajaya to collect RM261.8b revenue in 2019, including RM30b special dividend from Petronas
  • Single vehicle/motorbike owners with engine capacity 1500cc and below to get targeted fuel subsidy
    • Govt to give RON95 petrol subsidy amounting to 30 sen/litre, limited to 100 litres/month for cars; and limited to 40 litres/month for motorbikes
  • Measures to bump up govt revenue by RM1.43b
  • An estimated 4.1 million households to continue receiving financial assistance from govt via a RM5b allocation
    • Households with monthly income of RM2,000 and below to receive RM1,000 financial assistance
    • Households with monthly income of between RM3,001 and RM4,000 to receive RM500 financial assistance
  • Govt proposes to raise minimum wage to RM1,100 in Malaysia from Jan 1, 2019
  • Govt proposes reduction of employers' EPF contribution for workers aged 60 and above to 4%, to encourage employment for Malaysians aged 60 and above
  • Govt, in cooperation with private insurance company, to introduce National Health Protection Fund B40
    • B40 fund will provide free coverage on 4 critical illnesses up to RM8,000, and wage replacement during hospital treatment at RM50/day or RM700/year
  • Labour laws to be reviewed to strengthen the labour market and workers' welfare, and totally prohibit discriminatory practices by employers
  • One-off assistance of RM500 to be paid to eligible pensioners
  • Excise duty of 40 sen/litre to be imposed on 2 categories of packaged sweet drinks from Apr 1
    • 1st category: Drinks with additional sugar/sweetener with over 5g of sugar per 100ml; and
    • 2nd category: Fruits and vegetable drinks with over 12g sugar per 100ml
  • REHDA agrees to cut house prices by up to 10% on new projects
  • To ensure ex-offenders are not left behind and contribute to the economy, businesses that employ them will be rewarded with extra tax cuts
  • Govt to allocate nearly RM29b for health services, up 7.8% y-o-y
  • Internal security, national defence to be beefed up via RM5.9b development allocation to home affairs and defence ministries
  • RM500m will be allocated to the Public Transport Fund in the form of subsidy rate of 2% for taxi and bus firms and public transport operators
  • No toll hike in 2019, which will cost the govt about RM700m in potential revenue loss
  • RM400m allocated to maintain, improve govt quarters
  • Tax proposed on online services from Jan 1, 2020; will include transaction on software, music, and online advertising
  • National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan to get RM1b allocation
  • Govt allocates RM210m for years 2019-2021 to encourage Industry 4.0 transition
  • Tax relief to be given to companies that help their employees settle their PTPTN study loans in 2019 tax year
  • Khazanah to develop 80-acre plot in Subang as a world-standard aerospace hub
  • Film in Malaysia Incentive (FIMI) to get RM30m allocation; Khazanah to also provide additional RM100m to FIMI for production at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios
  • Govt to continue providing scholarships, study loans via RM3.8b allocation, of which RM2b is reserved for MARA-sponsored Bumiputera students
  • Govt to establish a national Debt Management Office which will be responsible to review and manage govt debts and liabilities, and to monitor new debt issuance by government, statutory bodies and special purpose vehicles
  • From Jan-Aug 2018, RM61.6b worth of investments approved vs RM40.4b in the same period last year
  • RM20m will be spent on Buy Malaysian Product Campaign to support local products and services
  • RM100m earmarked to prepare Malaysian athletes for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • Govt to designate 380 acres of land in Pulau Indah, Selangor as free trade zone to support and catalyse shipping and logistics activities in Port Klang
  • Govt to turn Pangkor island into a duty free zone
  • RM30m allocated to help small palm oil plantation estate holders to obtain MSPO certification
  • Govt will allow property crowdfunding driven by the private sector as alternative for purchase of first home and supervised by the Securities Commission
  • New framework to approve and monitor buy-and-sell of digital tokens and currencies will be gazetted in early 2019
  • RM2.46b will be allocated to upgrade railway tracks
  • RM100m allocated to TEKUN to finance small entrepreneurs in 2019
  • MoF to helm special Special Task Force to review role and function of MoF-owned firms and statutory bodies to avoid duplication, direct competition with private sector
  • Govt to continue with Pan Borneo Highway project, subject to a cost-rationalisation study
    •  The project in Sabah and Sarawak will include development and upgrading of roads ans well as water and electrical infrastructure, health and education facilities, and the development of their respective economic corridors
  • RM314.5b allocated for Budget 2019 versus estimated RM290.4b for 2018
    • RM259.8b allocation for operating expenditure, RM54.7b for development expenditure
    • Under development spending, economic sector (transport, commerce, industry, energy, public utilities and agriculture) gets RM29.2b allocation; social sector gets RM15.2b, while security gets RM7.1b; public administration gets RM3.2b
  • RM20m allocated to Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council (MHTC) to team up with leading private hospitals, to boost Malaysia's image as a health tourism destination
  • RM2b proposed to encourage investment in green technology industries
  • Japanese govt offers to guarantee up to 200b yen or RM7.4b of Samurai bond issuance with 10-year tenure
    • The issuance will be guaranteed by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation at a coupon rate of 0.65% and is expected to be issued before March 2019.
  • Govt to raise MACC allocation by 18.5% to RM286.8m from RM242.1m
    • The commission's manpower to be beefed up with 100 more staff next year
  • Corporate tax rate will be reduced to 17% from 18% for SMEs with paid capital below RM2.5m and businesses with annual taxable income below RM500,000
  • RM240m allocated to introduce a RM100 unlimited public transport pass, to start with the rail and RapidKL bus networks from Jan 1, 2019
    • There'll also be a RM50 monthly pass just for RapidKL bus services, which will be expanded to other bus companies in stages later