Amid Malaysia’s economic recovery journey, Wee Ka Siong, former Minister of Transport has put forth several ideas to better improve the country’s economy. He shared these suggestions in a recent Facebook post and believes they should be taken into account for the upcoming Budget 2024.
1. Reintroducing the GST
Wee’s first proposal calls for the reintroduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He suggests reducing the GST rate from 6% to 4% while simultaneously refining the mechanism. He emphasizes that the government cannot focus on spending and expenditure without generating a source of income.
Thus, GST is an ideal solution for the economy. Additionally, he recommends exploring options such as zero-rated items, an exemption list, and providing cash assistance.
2. Supporting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
The second proposal focuses on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), emphasizing the challenges they face. The recent implementation of the imbalance cost pass-through (ICPT) under the Incentive-Based Regulation (IBR) rate has placed a significant burden on these enterprises. Wee urges the government to consider lowering this rate, as MSMEs are grappling with rising expenses.
He also highlights the impact of an extended maternity leave period, which has increased from 60 to 98 days. While beneficial for employees, it presents challenges for employers as they have to bear all the costs. Wee emphasized that the government should find solutions, similar to what the Singapore government has been doing to assist employers.
3. Simplifying the hiring process for foreign workers
Wee’s third proposal focuses on streamlining the hiring process for foreign workers, particularly within the 3D sector (Dirty, Dangerous, and Difficult). This sector plays a vital role in various industries, and a smoother process for hiring foreign workers could help boost productivity and reduce complications for employers.
4. Increasing Individual Tax Relief
In his final proposal, Wee recommends raising the threshold for individual tax relief from RM9,000 to RM12,000, adjusted for current inflation rates. This adjustment aims to provide much-needed relief for low-income groups, particularly the B40 and M40 categories.