BUDGET 2021 – KEY HIGHLIGHTS

OVERVIEW & BUDGET ALLOCATION

  • Total budget allocation
    RM322.5bil
  • Three main objectives of Budget 20211. The wellbeing of the people
    2. Business continuity
    3. Resilience of the economy

PROPOSALS AFFECTING INDIVIDUAL

TAX RATE

  • The income tax rate of those earning between RM50,001 and RM70,000 will be lowered by one percentage point (from 14% to 13%).

TAX RELIEFS & EXEMPTIONS

  • The tax relief on expenses for medical treatment, special needs and parental care will be increased from RM5,000 to RM8,000.
  • Tax exemption will be given for the vaccination costs for taxpayer, spouse and children limited to RM1,000.
  • The tax relief limit on taxpayer, spouse and child medical treatment for serious illnesses will be increased from RM6,000 to RM8,000. This includes the tax relief for medical examination expenses which will be increased from RM500 to RM1,000.
  • The tax relief for disabled spouse will be increased from RM3,500 to RM5,000.
  • The Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) tax relief of RM3,000/year will be extended until year of assessment 2025.
  • The limit of the ‘lifestyle tax relief’ will be increased from RM2,500 to RM3,000, which is an increase of RM500 specifically for sports-related expenditure.
  • A tax relief of up to RM8,000 for National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) net savings will be implemented until year of assessment 2022.
  • The scope for the tax relief for education expenses has been expanded to cover fees for attending up-skilling and self enhancement courses in any field of skills recognized by the Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources. This relief is only limited to RM 1,000/year until year of assessment 2022.
  • The income tax exemption limit for compensation paid upon job loss will be increased from RM10,000 to RM20,000 for every year of service completed for years of assessment 2021 and 2022.
  • To encourage more individual investors to participate in equity crowdfunding (ECF) platforms, an income tax exemption of 50% from the invested amount or limited to RM50,000 will be given.

EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUND (EPF)

  • EPF contributors will be allowed to withdraw RM500/month from EPF Account 1, up to a total of RM6,000/year, application starts from January 2021.
  • EPF contributors can also make withdrawal from EPF Account 2 to purchase insurance products for themselves and their family members.
  • The minimum employee EPF contribution rate will be reduced from 11% to 9% for a period of 12 months starting from January 2021.

STAMP DUTY

  • Stamp duty exemption for first residential home
    Full stamp duty exemption will be given to transfer of ownership document and loan agreement for the purchase of a first home worth not more than RM500,000. This exemption will be extended until year 2025 for the sale and purchase agreement executed from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025.
  • Stamp duty exemption for Perlindungan Tenang products
    Stamp duty exemption is given on the purchase of insurance policies and takaful certificates for Perlindungan Tenang products covering life, fire and flood insurance with an annual premium or contribution value not exceeding RM100. This exemption will be extended until year 2025 for insurance policies and takaful certificates issued from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025.
  • Stamp duty exemption on contract notes for trading of Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)
    This exemption will be extended until assessment year 2025 for the trading of ETF executed from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025.

OTHERS

  • Excise duty will be imposed on all types of electronic and non-electronic cigarette devices starting from 1 January 2021.
  • The scope of imposition of tourism tax will be expanded to accommodation premises reserved through online platform providers.

PROPOSALS AFFECTING COMPANIES

  • Additional tax deductions will be given to employers who employ senior citizens, ex-convicts, parolees, supervised persons and ex-drug dependants. This tax deduction will be extended until year of assessment 2025.
  • A Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) levy exemption will be given for six months effective 1 January 2021 which covers the tourism sector and companies affected by Covid-19.
  • The tax exemption for private healthcare service exports will be extended until year of assessment 2022.
  • The stamp duty exemption for revival of abandoned residential property projectcertified by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government will be extended until year of assessment 2025.

六件大马选民似曾相识的美国大选事实

虽然美国总统选举尚未结束,感觉上自由世界领袖的政治似乎变得马来西亚化。以下是目前的一些观察结果:

一. 政治修辞胜过事实
只要您常称拜登(Biden)为社会主义者,您就能让近一半的人口相信您。这是迈阿密戴德县(Miami-Dade)的古巴裔美国人和第一代越南裔美国人被煽动的反应。更不用说什么特朗普躲避服兵役没参与越战对抗南方政府了。给马来西亚的教训是:民主行动党是华裔沙文主义政党的言论将永远不公平地跟随着民主行动党。

二. 种族政治现在成为了美国政治的特征
即使这不是外在的说法,但种族政治已在美国占了上风,观看大卫·普度(David Purdue)参议员对卡马拉·哈里斯(Kamala Harris)姓名的种族歧视即明白。白人因为人口变化将成为美国的少数民族。在马来西亚,当然不必担心巫裔变成少数族裔,但他们对华裔自古以来的内心恐惧仍然存在。

美国的城市县为未来进展而投票,乡村县为保守主义而投票。在马来西亚,我们也有同样的现象,乡村选民担心未知,宁愿维持现状,而城市选民则倾向改革,向前迈进。显而易见的是,在美国和马来西亚,思想前卫的城市居民应该了解并解决乡村居民内心的担忧。他们要这么做就得踏出弗吉尼亚州(Virginia), 阿灵顿(Arlington)或孟沙(Bangsar),走进爱荷华州的格兰杰(Granger, Iowa) 和吉打州的彭当(Pendang, Kedah)。

四. 乡村选票比城市选票更重要
美国选举制度是根据建国期原始概念而设计的(其中,各个州为主要个体)。因此,美国各州不论其人口多寡,都有一定数量的选票计入总统大选。赢了州相等于胜者全得。

这在马来西亚是熟悉的政治现象。选区的人口数量并非关键,每个选区都会派出一名联邦议员。因此,在砂拉越的伊甘(Igan),19,592名登记选民投选1名联邦议员,而在雪兰莪邦吉(Bangi),则需要178,790名登记选民投选1名联邦议员。简而言之,伊甘(Igan)票数的“影响力”是班吉(Bangi)票数的9倍。

五. 赢得普选票不再意味什么
这不是什么新的发现,美国在2000年戈尔对布什(Gore vs Bush)总统竞选以及最近2016年特朗普对克林顿(Trump vs Clinton)竞选都经历了这一点。自2013年大选以来,马来西亚的国阵也是如此。今天,尽管他们在2018年只赢得了36%的普选票,但他们还是马来西亚政府国民联盟的一部分。

六. 不择手段操纵大选
美国人也开始使用马来西亚多年来出神入化的技术:如何运用“杰利蝾螈”手段 ,利用选区边界划分手法(让投票结果有利于某方)增加胜利的机会。当然,美国共和党全力以赴压制某些战场州的选票,例如不允许前重罪犯在佛罗里达州 Florida投票,并且在该法律废除之后,不允许欠款者投票。

让我们欢迎美国加入我们的“进化式民主国家”俱乐部!

马力克.阿里: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malekali/detail/recent-activity/shares/

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I am Nurul Yahi and This is How I Invest

I am Nurul Yahi, I am…  

The founder of Dear Duit blog. I first became curious about money when I watched one of Oprah Winfrey’s shows with Suze Orman as the guest. Suze was giving advice to a lady with financial difficulties. In my 9-year-old brain, I thought how hard could it be to manage your own finances? My parents give me RM1 so I have only RM 1 to spend that day, I can either spend it all or save it. I did not understand how one could overspend, the workings of credit cards and loans. Watching Suze Orman coach the struggling lady, I want to do the exact same thing when I grow up. It was amazing witnessing the lady’s life being changed and I want to transform someone else’s life one day too. I did my degree in Business Administration with Islamic Financial Planning Professional Certificate from IBFIM. I have always been fascinated with people’s stories and I simply love listening to their transformation journey. It is incredible how resilient people are!

1. What is your best investment and worst investment? 

Best Investment
I have to say my best investment is my consistency in putting a certain amount of my monthly pay into my ASB and Tabung Haji. Regardless of how challenging the month is, I made sure I put at least RM50 into both of the accounts. It really helped me during times of emergency when I need money fast. I learned that small decisions like this (although slow in terms of wealth accumulation) can really make a difference. 

Worst Investment
I invested in MLM businesses that promised me full business support (in the form of potential clients to grow my business) but in the end the promises were broken after I put in a big investment amount. I realise it was my own greed of wanting to earn money fast that led me to fall into the MLM trap again and again. No matter how convincing it is, I would never touch MLM ever again. 

2. What was your first-ever investment (and how did that go)?

My first ever investment was taking out a large portion of my pay to invest in ASB. That was before getting married and having kids, hence I could afford to “ikat perut”. I decided to marry really young, so I didn’t experiment much investing in other assets apart from ASB. 

3. Your investment no-nos (why not and what happened)  

Never invest in something you don’t understand or if your gut feeling tells you no. Do not give in to your greed or the temptation from others. Our dreams, goals and risk tolerance might not be the same. When someone attempts to sell you something, if he or she does not consider your existing financial struggles but forces you to go into debt just to fund the investment, it is a big warning sign for you to not invest. 

4. What are you investing for?

Currently I am still struggling to manage my finances and I don’t know all the answers. However, the one thing that keeps me thriving is my kids. I would love for them to grow up with a mother who tries her very best to provide for them. 

I am on this journey of achieving my financial investments goals and I am experimenting with different things while constantly learning. Working in an Organizational Psychology company taught me to simply embrace all problems and happiness life brings me. It is truly amazing to be able to share all my challenges and wins. There is no such thing as financial freedom because in spite of being careful with my money, the unexpected in life can happen and take it all away. The only way to look at it is to build a strong mindset and perseverance to face all kinds of financial difficulties.

5. Nurul’s investment philosophy and approach

I am determined to hold on to grit in the face of any adversity life throws at me. It does not matter if I am poor or rich, my resilience will get me up to try again one more time. 

Follow Nurul –
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About “This is How I Invest” – As Fi Life’s motto is “Buy Term (Term Life Insurance) & Invest the Rest”, this series features how different personalities “Invest the Rest.”

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Original article here

6 US Election Features that are Familiar to Malaysian Voters

Spitting Image Biden vs Trump
Credit: Spitting Image/Avalon

The American presidential election hasn’t finished yet, but it really feels that the leader of the free world is now becoming more Malaysianesque in its politics. Here are some observations so far that resonate:

1. Rhetoric trumps facts

Call Biden a socialist often enough, and you get the almost half the population believing you. It’s a visceral reaction among the Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade county and first-generation Vietnamese-Americans. Leave alone the fact the Donald Trump dodged fighting for the Southern Vietnamese government in the Vietnam war. Lesson for Malaysia: The rhetoric that DAP is a Chinese chauvinist party will always plague the DAP, unfairly, in my view.

2. Race-based politics is now a feature in American politics

It’s not outwardly spoken, but race-based politics are taking hold in the US (just check out Senator David Purdue’s racist interpretation of Kamala Harris’s name). Demographic changes are soon making whites the minority population in the United States, and this seems to have made a certain segment of the white population fearful and defensive. In Malaysia, although there really should be no fear of Malay Malaysians being the minority population, the age-old visceral fears about Chinese Malaysians (which is largely rhetoric) remain.

3. There is a huge world view divide among rural and urban voters

Urban counties in the US voted for progressiveness, rural counties voted for conservatism. Sometimes, this phenomenon is framed in language that says urban elite looking down on their rural counterparts. In Malaysia, we have the same phenomenon too, rural voters fear the unknown, and prefer the familiar, whereas urban voters want an agenda for change to progress ahead. What is clear though, that in both US and Malaysia, the onus is on the urban progressives to understand the fears of their rural counterparts, and address them. And they have to do this not from the urban enclaves of Arlington, Virginia or Bangsar, but from Granger, Iowa and Pendang, Kedah.

4. Rural votes carry more weight than urban votes

The US electoral system is designed by the original conception of the “United States” (where the individual state is the primary entity). So the US states, regardless of its current population, gets a certain number of historical electoral votes that count towards the presidential election. Win the state, and for the most part, you win all the votes which the state is allocated.

This has a familiar ring with Malaysian politics. It doesn’t matter what the population of our constituency is, each constituency delivers one federal MP. So whereas in Igan, Sarawak, 19,592 registered voters vote in 1 federal MP, in Bangi, Selangor, it takes 178,790 registered voters to vote in 1 federal MP. Simply put, the weight of the Igan vote is about 9 times than that of Bangi vote.

5. Winning the popular vote is irrelevant

This is not a new lesson, the US has experienced this in the 2000 Gore vs Bush presidential campaign and more recently, the 2016 Trump vs Clinton. Same for Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional since the 2013 elections. And now, they are part of the Malaysian Perikatan Nasional government even though they only won 36% of the popular vote in 2018.

6. Use all means to manipulate the vote

The Americans are beginning to use the same techniques that Malaysia has perfected over the years: How to increase your chances by gerrymandering, particularly with delineation of the American equivalent of our constituencies. But in addition, the Republican party pulls out all the stops to suppress votes in certain battleground states, e.g not allowing ex-felons to vote in Florida, and after that law was repealed, not allowing people who owe fines to vote.

Let’s bid welcome to the United States of America to the League of Developing Democracies!

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