Triple Joy for House Buyers

Dreaming of a home in a green lung that’s also next to modern conveniences? Well, dream no more as it is a reality made affordable with Mitraland’s 3xtra Big Deals campaign!

This super-savers campaign by Mitraland Group is for its projects in Klang South and Melawati. The campaign offers:

1xtra deal: flash rebates for limited units for a limited time only

2xtra deal: free 12 months of maintenance fee and pay nothing up to 12 months after booking* 

3xtra deal: savings from the Home Ownership Campaign 2020 (HOC 2020)

Under HOC 2020, buyers enjoy full stamp duty exemption on the Instrument of Transfer for properties up to RM1 million, and a partial stamp duty exemption (3%) for those priced between RM1 million to RM2.5 million. HOC 2020 guarantees you a 10% discount off the purchasing price. On top of that, the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) has been slashed even further to 1.75% – this means a lower loan interest rate!

Upperville @ Melawati gives you the best of both worlds – greenery and convenience – being merely 15km from KL City Centre. It sits next to Mitraland’s award winning 16 Quartz development with the majestic Klang Gates Quartz Ridge (a proposed UNESCO Heritage site) as its backdrop. 

Low density within an exclusive and mature neighbourhood, Upperville has easy access to 4 highways and top amenities (hospitals, international schools, malls and LRT) within 10km. From RM2,700 a month, each 1,050 sq ft unit comes with 3 spacious bedrooms and 2 parking lots!  

Gravit8 @ Klang South on the other hand offers a self-contained community with residences, retail and office components. Its FREEHOLD condominium units are nestled within an iconic 8-acre Lakepark. Convenience stores and restaurants are just a short stroll away. 

Residents of Gravit8 are spoiled by a 3-acre facility deck. Its swimming pool offers the best sunset view in Klang South, a multipurpose hall, gymnasium, games room and more. From RM2,000 a month, units are available from 2+1 Bed onwards and ranging from 871 sq ft to 1,237 sq ft. 

As a fully integrated development, Gravit8 is also super connected. Located along the Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS) and close to the Federal Highway, it can be accessed via over 7 highways. 

Keen buyers should take action now as the campaign is for a limited number of units within a limited period only. And the cherry on the icing: 10-gram gold bars* are up for grabs in the month of November!

For more details, visit https://www.mitraland.com.my/extra-deals 

* Terms and Conditions apply

I am Malek Ali and This is How I Invest

I am Malek Ali and I am…
An entrepreneur. I founded three start-ups, of which one failed spectacularly (classifieds newspaper, KL Classifieds) , one is successful (business radio station, BFM 89.9)  and one is still a work in progress (insurtech start-up, Fi Life). 

Although all my business activities and networks are in Malaysia, I live in Singapore. I made the decision to move there 21 years ago when Tun Mahathir introduced capital controls and I found myself with a currency I cannot exchange for any other.

I enjoy sports, and pre-Covid, played field football every weekend with a bunch of Malaysians, Singaporeans, Vietnamese and Thais in a public park in Singapore. Football’s been the source of many injuries for me, including a retina detachment, concussions and broken facial bones (I’d like to think I play hard, but I think it’s just my clumsiness).

But perhaps most importantly, I am the doting father of 3 teenagers. They have been beneficiaries of the Singapore education system, though ironically, I have since moved them to international schools because I wanted a more rounded education for them. My eldest is now doing her first university semester online, but she hopes to be in Canada by Christmas.

1. What was your best investment?
My best investment is BFM. I put RM800,000 of my own money and raised another RM4.2 million from my ex-JobStreet colleagues, investors, my co-founders and my brother, and then launched BFM 12 years ago. Until Covid-19, BFM was a gift that keeps on giving as it paid out dividends every year after our sixth year of existence, which were shared between employees, investors and shareholders.

But the financial returns do not compare with the satisfaction of knowing we are making a positive impact on the Malaysian business, economy and society.  Building First-world Malaysians is our vision.

2. What was your worst investment?
I lost RM300,000 I did not have when my first venture failed in 1998, and I ended up owing the bank that much. Although the bank disappeared (it got taken over by MayBank), unfortunately, the loan didn’t.

I also lost my RM150,000 deposit on a property in Singapore when I chickened out of the purchase when the 2008 global financial crisis struck – see more on this later.

But my biggest regret was not so much an investment, but an own goal. As a pioneer team member of JobStreet.com, I was granted a significant number of shares by the founders.  When JobStreet listed on Bursa, I sold most of my shares on the first day of listing. But the stock price doubled in the next two days! It took me 10 years of investing to make up for not holding on to the stock for just 2 more days.

3. What was your first-ever investment (and how did that go)?
My first investment was in the shares of Creative Technology, a Singapore-based sound card maker, in 1999. They dominated sound cards used in computers, and were launching the Nomad, a portable music MP3 player. The share price had promise, but then 18 months later, Apple came out with the iPod and the rest, as they say, is history.

I think I got out of Creative Technology after 3 years with a 20% loss.

4. Your investment no-nos (why not and what happened)
I once dallied in flipping properties. It was very tempting, the Singapore property market was booming, and because banks were willing to lend you 90% of the value of the property, you can leverage your 10% downpayment to get outsized returns (the value property you bought need to only increase by 10% for you to double your down-payment capital). But it is a dangerous game, and if the property market moves against you,  you run the risk of being saddled with a mortgage you can’t afford, and a property you can’t rent out. 

I was successful at my first attempt at flipping a property, earning about five times my downpayment capital. But as I embarked on my second attempt, the property market had turned sour, and I made the decision to walk away from a property purchase, losing my 5% deposit.

So the big lesson for me was that big-ticket items like property are not for trading, but for long-term investments. 

5. What are you investing for?
I was jolted out of financial complacency when my first child was born in 2001. Before that, I was a real risk-taker, as you can tell from my exploits with banks.

My daughter’s birth reminded me of my late father’s harrowing financial experience. He told me that he once walked aimlessly on the streets of Kuala Lumpur at his wits-end, trying to figure out how to find money to buy formula milk to feed me, his 3 year old son. His business had failed and he had run out of money.

So when my daughter was born, I resolved to make sure that she will never run the danger of not having food on the table. I think I became a real adult the day she was born.

Although my father survived his ordeal and had a couple of rewarding ventures afterwards, he experienced business setbacks later in life. I know he was still financially anxious during the last years of his life.

I do not want to experience my father’s anxiety when it’s my turn for the final lap. So I have resolved a long time ago to make sure that my wife and I will have an anxiety-free retirement.

6. Malek’s investment philosophy and approach 
Planning for the worst
From starting 3 businesses, I’ve learnt that although we can hope for the best, we need to plan for the worst. I apply that principle to my personal finances too.

The birth of my children made me realise that I needed to plan for the worst case scenario. Being the family’s sole breadwinner, I needed to make sure that they will be fine even if I were to be struck by an accident, major illness, or premature death. I never want them to be put through financial hardship.

So I bought the most cost-effective life insurance policy, which is invariably a term life policy,  that will give my family a seven figure sum if I die prematurely. That same policy will also give my family funds to take care of me if I became permanently disabled or suffer a critical illness.

Of course, this was in addition to medical insurance plans for the whole family.

I do not believe in an investment-linked policy as I feel I am likely to get the worst of both worlds:  First, I am not likely to get adequate insurance cover, second, my investment returns, after deducting all the middlemen and administrative costs, will be sub-optimal.

I rather get the best of both worlds by separating my insurance and investments: Life insurance with a really high coverage amount that might tempt my wife to arrange to murder me, and a separate investment portfolio that is completely flexible, low cost and earning potentially higher returns.


The Hunt for 10Xers
Once I had that peace of mind, the fun then started (yes, investing can be fun!). I love the challenge of finding publicly listed companies that are potentially 10Xers, meaning, if I buy their shares, they will return me 10 times my investment within a 10 year period.

Some of my 10Xers so far: Amazon, Digi, Visa. Some are on the way there e.g. Facebook, Google, Alibaba, Tencent. Future potential ones are Salesforce, Adobe, Nvidia, Square, Beyond Meat, Ping An and Meituan Dianping. For the same reason, I will buy Ant Financial when it lists next month.

Some of my 10X discoveries are based on reading about macro-trends that affect the world, some are discovered through my own work experience. But sweetest discoveries are a combination of both.

Take for example Amazon. When I read analysts’ reports about it, they were worried about the tiny retail margins of Amazon and lack of profits. But at BFM, a company located on the other side of the world, we were spending about RM3,000 a month on Amazon Web Services, their cloud business. Many other Malaysian companies were doing the same. The US-based analysts did not have any visibility on this, but as a customer, I did. So when Amazon finally disclosed its cloud services revenues years later, the stock shot up.

Sometimes working in certain industries gives you deeper insights than the analysts. Working at Maxis in the early 2000s made me realise how good a competitor Digi was, working at Yahoo made me gawk at Google’s amazing search business model, working at BFM made me realise how Facebook and Google were dominating digital advertising. So I acted on these industry insights by buying into the market’s best competitors.

I also read widely to identify global macro-trends that will help me pick potential 10Xers. For example:

  • Rise of digital advertising (bought Facebook, Google)
  • Rise of software and services on the cloud (bought Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Salesforce, Crowdstrike, Fortinet)
  • Rise of direct-to-consumer entertainment channels (bought Disney and Limelight Networks, but gave Netflix a miss because of huge debt levels)
  • Division of the world of technology ecosystem into a US one and a China one (bought Alibaba, Tencent, Meituan Dianping, Ping An, subscribing for Ant Financial)
  • Rise of digital payments (bought most of the financial innovators: Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Square, Tencent and subscribing for Ant Financial)
  • Increase in demand for meat substitutes (I bought Beyond Meat)
  • Increase in demand for batteries in a world of electric cars, and renewable, but intermittent, solar power (I would love to buy pure play Shenzhen-based Contemporary Amperex Technology, but I can’t as a foreigner. Others like LGChem, Samsung SDI, SK Innovation, Panasonic Corporation are not battery pure plays, so I am a bit reluctant)

I was so focused on long-term macro-trends that I completely missed one obvious short term macro-trend: The increase in demand for personal protective equipment as a result of Covid-19. Those who spotted it, and subsequently invested in Malaysian rubber glove manufacturers,  potentially made 10x in a matter of months!

Buy Property to Live In
Like every self-respecting Asian,  I do have a fascination for physical property, and have bought an investment property after buying my own home.

I must say though, my fascination with physical property has waned over the years, as managing tenants and maintaining the property takes a lot of effort and time. Nevertheless, I do have an investment property that’s been rented out most of the time (as it’s a 5 minute walk from an MRT) and the rental covers the mortgage payments. Once the mortgage is paid off, that’ll be part of the retirement income for my wife and I.

Other asset classes

My experience with investing in bonds is only through bond funds recommended by my financial adviser. They took a hit during the 2008 financial crisis. I redeemed them and re-invested them in equities. That was the end of my direct bond investment experience.

I do understand the importance of asset allocation, so I make the mental justification that most of my EPF and CPF (Singapore equivalent of EPF) are likely to be  invested in bonds. Having said that, I am also looking into investing in bonds indirectly through a robo-asset allocator like Stashaway.

My riskiest asset class are investments in start-ups, my own and others. In addition to investing in my own businesses, BFM 89.9 and Fi Life, I have also invested in Kakitangan.com, a cloud-based payroll service, and Newswav, a news aggregator service. These investments are so risky that my personal financial plan is designed not to depend on them.

Investment Philosophy
In the final analysis, I only invest in things I understand. I understand business, so I invest in equities. I understand property, so I invest in that too. But if things are too complex (e.g. warrants, structured products) or too opaque (bitcoin, investment-linked policies), I stay away. Our savings are too hard-earned to be invested in things we don’t understand.


Follow Malek Ali – LinkedIn

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.”

If you are inspired to Buy Term & Invest the Rest, we have a 10% rebate just for you to get started. Key in “NEWSWAV10” to enjoy this promo for your first-year insurance premiums.

Learn more about Fi Life here
Original article here

Why did TV3 call Kamala Harris’​ Mother an Illegal Immigrant?

Shyamala Harris – New York Times

It’s a media owner’s nightmare (I ought to know). TV3, the TV arm of Malaysian media conglomerate Media Prima, recently apologised for describing Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris as a daughter of an “illegal foreign immigrant” (or more literally, a “foreign arrival without permission”) from India.

Is this a simple mistake or does it betray something more insidious?

Well for one, there was no wire news or other news outlet that described Kamala Harris’ mother as an illegal immigrant. So this descriptor originated from TV3. Ouch.

Was it intentional? No, I don’t think so. It’s actually worse.

It’s reflex.

In Malaysia, we are used to prefixing the word “immigrant” with the word “illegal”. That’s because there are probably at least 2 million undocumented foreign workers in Malaysia. And we have used it so much in the context of domestic issues that we forget 2 things:

First, we do have legal foreign workers in Malaysia who have working and residency status in Malaysia. So let’s not assume that just because someone is brown and foreign, he is an illegal immigrant (yes, we never have that assumption when someone is white and foreign).

Second, foreign workers, whether legal or illegal, are an important contributor to the Malaysian economy. Instead of demonising them for everything (crimes, jobs, Covid-19), let’s recognise them for their contributions and make their path to being legal painless. They are just trying to earn a living and feed their families like the rest of us, and need us to protect them from the rogue elements of Malaysian police and immigration personnel. With proper documentation, we can funnel them to sectors where Malaysians do not want to work in, so there’s no displacement of Malaysian workers.

It does not help that Malay supremacist politicians in Malaysia use the Malay word “pendatang”, which loosely means “immigrant” (but more literally means “arrivals”), to describe fellow Malaysians who are from non-Malay descent. It normalises the word, resulting in the current situation describing Kamala Harris as a “pendatang asing tanpa izin” or a “foreign immigrant/arrival without permission”.

How Trumpian of Malaysia.

For more articles by Malek, visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malekali/detail/recent-activity/shares/

Best News in Horrible Covid Year

TOPSHOT – Former vice-president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (L) and Senator from California and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris greet supporters outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention, held virtually amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, on August 20, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(This article also appears in today’s New Straits Times)

In foreign relations “…..Biden will find when you pawn the crown you cannot expect to get it back at the same price.”

The toppling of the evil US President Donald Trump is the best piece of news in this horrible COVID-19 year. President-elect Joe Biden is to be congratulated for achieving this.

The time for celebration – and Trump’s scorched earth legal actions to nullify the American people’s vote – will soon be over. The reality of where America is and where America is in the the world will then have to be faced.

There is first the reality of Trump still in the White House. It is 10 weeks before Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20th. While once Biden’s victory is officially declared, all the organs of state, like the military, the CIA and so on, will divide their advice and attention between the incoming and outgoing President, even as a lame duck President Trump remains as commander-in-chief. He still has his finger on the nuclear button.

This despicable man will not let go. The transition, under the Presidential Transition Act 1963 and its various amendments, assumes good faith in a complex and complicated process. Trump can sabotage the incoming administration and, indeed, harm American national interest by embarking on something outrageously dangerous, by taking away or withholding critical information and by collapsing the national administration at a time when there are vacuums to be filled.

There is the story of the second US President John Adams refusing to vacate the White House in 1801 after being defeated by Thomas Jefferson. However all his belongings were just moved out and administrative support terminated.


We can have visions of Donald Trump being frogmarched out of the While House on January 20th 2021, but that is the least of our worries. What he will do meanwhile is the cause of greatest concern.


So while there is rightful celebration of American democracy, there is the test yet to come of governance at the executive level during this transition. With Trump anything is possible. Like a wounded and cornered beast he can wreak havoc. There have to be mechanisms in place to arrest this eventuality.

There were many “Arrest Trump” banners on the streets of American cities in the celebration of his defeat. Joe Biden has already reached out calling on Americans to unite and not think of opponents as enemies. Trump has so far not responded, not even recognizing Biden’s victory. There is an immediate uncertain and perilous period ahead.

Trump may finally be dragged out of the White House. We must not forget, though, Trumpism is a virus that has infected both the Republican Party and America at large. The country is bitterly divided, evidenced by the split in popular votes: about 74 to 70 million. It is potentially ungovernable, if the Republicans control the Senate (unless the Democrats win the two run-offs in Georgia on January 5th) and play hardball, with the stimulus package to revive the economy, one of Biden’s priorities, at risk.

There are other priorities, such as healthcare, climate change and rooting out institutional racism, at the mercy of a possibly recalcitrant Senate.
The most urgent item on Biden’s agenda, to control more effectively the Covid-19 pandemic, will have to be one of the items to be implemented by executive order. At the time of writing, of close to 50 million cases in the world, about 10 million are in the U.S.; of one and a quarter million deaths worldwide almost a quarter million are American. One fifth each time. Not a league table any country would be proud to top, let alone allegedly the world’s most developed and powerful country.

It will however be two months before Biden can get the task force he has set up to roll back the grip of the virus on American lives and livelihoods. Meanwhile, tragically, more Americans will unnecessarily suffer, because of Trump and unless he cooperates in the transition.

In days gone by in America such people – indeed too many innocent people as well – are lynched. Trump must not continue with the damage he has already visited on America and on U.S. relations with the rest of the world.
With so much to do at home, it is unsurprising foreign policy comes after domestic priorities are addressed, even for the leading global power. America’s place in the world has been greatly diminished, a decline in this 21st century which took a plunge under Trump.

Biden’s climate change and Covid priorities however will bring the US back to world councils where it will conduct itself in a civilized and not Trump boorish manner. It would be good for the world when the US is re-engaged with the Paris Agreement on climate change from which Trump had withdrawn in June 2017. The impetuous withdrawal from the WHO, which would have become effective on July 1st 2021 will also be reversed.
There will be a different face to U.S. multilateral engagement which will be welcomed all over the world, by friends and protagonists alike. But, Biden will no doubt learn that when you pawn the crown you cannot expect to get it back at the same price.

It will be a hard graft and severe test of American diplomacy. If American diplomats come to the table with too much of a sense of entitlement they would be in for a surprise. There is now greater need for subtlety and persuasiveness. Perhaps rock star Vice-President elect Kamala Harris can be asked to play a role in some circumstances, even if the expectation is she would have a largely domestic policy responsibility.

U.S. with China are obviously front, back and centre of the international political system. Biden will be watched both at home and abroad on how the relationship is conducted. In old international relations jargon, will he be able to turn swords into ploughshares?

The interests of both countries will not change. But the China as threat narrative has to be transformed into acceptance of competition and better management of contestation. The style of engagement will help but core interests will remain. Both sides can move away from the Trump copybook and look afresh at how much they can accommodate each other’s interests without having trade wars, or worse.

For us in Malaysia, Biden’s election as President has to be welcome news, after a dysfunctional and erratic Trump. We are friends of the U.S. just as much as we are of China. Trump was a big turn-off. Perhaps Biden can recover lost ground. The most important factor for us is positive engagement without being pressured into siding one or the other other as they contest for power and influence in Southeast Asia.

Budget 2021 Highlights for Individuals

1. The maximum tax relief for individual, spouse and children’s medical expenses for serious medical ailments be increased from RM6,000 to RM8,000.

2. The maximum tax relief for medical treatment, special needs and carer expenses for parents be increased from RM5,000 to RM8,000.

3. Tax relief for a full health screening be increased from RM500 to RM1,000.
Scope of health screening expanded to include expenses on vaccine such as for pneumococcal, influenza and Covid-19.
– This tax relief, given on vaccination expenses is for the taxpayer, spouse and child limited up to RM1,000.

4. Reduction of personal income tax rate by 1% for chargeable income bands from RM50,001 to RM70,000.

5. The income tax exemption limit for compensation on loss of employment will be increased from RM10,000 to RM20,000 for every completed year of service. Exemption is available for a period of two years of assessment.

6. 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 for the purchase agreement from January 2021 to Dec 31, 2025.

7. The limit of the ‘lifestyle tax relief’ has been raised from RM2,500 to RM3,000, which is an increase of RM500 specifically for sports-related expenditure, including entrance participation fees for sports competitions. The scope of the relief has also been expanded to include subscription to electronic newspapers.

8. To encourage parents to save for the costs of their children’s higher education fees, a tax relief of up to RM8,000 for National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) net savings will be implemented until year of assessment 2022.

9. The Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) tax relief of RM3,000 a year has been extended till year of assessment 2025.

10. The maximum tax relief for disabled husband and wife be increased to RM5,000 from RM3,500.

11. The scope of tax relief on self-education fee of RM7,000 be expanded to include courses of up-skilling or self-enhancement. The maximum relief for education fee under this scope to be limited to RM1,000.

12. Returning expert may choose to be taxed at a flat rate of 15% for a period of 5 consecutive years. This is extended till year 2023.

13. Imposition of excise duty at ad valorem rate of 10% on electronic cigarette and RM0.40/ml on liquid or gel used in electronic cigarette (including Vape)

14. Tourism tax is expanded to include accommodation booked thru online platform

15. Stamp duty exemption on insurance policy and takaful certificate relating to Perlindungan Tenang Products with yearly premium/contributions not exceeding RM100 be extended till 31 December 2025.

16. RM6.5billion allocated in Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR)

Household Income <RM2,500

1 child   RM1,200

≥ 2 children   RM1,800

Household Income RM2,501 to RM4,000

1 child   RM800

≥ 2 children   RM1,200

Household Income RM4,001 to RM5,000

1 child   RM500

≥ 2 children   RM750

Single individuals earning < RM2,500

21 years old & above RM350

17. Banks will enhance the TRA to B40 borrowers who are BSH recipients or BPR, and to micro enterprises with loans of up to RM150,000. Borrowers in this category will be given the following options:

Option 1: A moratorium on their instalments for a period of 3 months; or

Option 2: Reduce their monthly repayment by 50 percent for a period of 6 months

Eligible borrowers will only need to contact their banks to choose the options and complete the documentation.

For the M40 borrowers, the application process for the repayment assistance will be simplified. Borrowers would only need to make a self-declaration of the reduction in income in order to secure the repayment assistance. The facility for the B40 and M40 will commence in December 2020.

18. mySalam’s coverage broaden to include medical devices such as heart stent or prosthesis.

19. B40 aid recipients will be given a RM50 voucher under Perlindungan Tenang Voucher Programme as financial aid to purchase Perlindungan Tenang products such as life takaful and personal accident. At the same time, the Government will also extend the stamp duty exemption period on all Perlindungan Tenang products with an annual premium or contribution value not exceeding RM100 for another 5 years until year of assessment 2025.

20. minimum employee EPF contribution rate is reduced from 11 to 9% beginning January 2021 for a period of 12 months

21. Facility to withdraw EPF savings from Account 1 for EPF members who have lost their jobs. The amount allowed will be RM500 a month with a total of up to RM6,000 over 12 months. Eligible contributors can apply beginning January 2021.

22. EPF will allow members to withdraw from EPF Account 2 to purchase insurance and takaful products which are approved by EPF relating to life and critical illnesses coverage for themselves and their family.

23. For the year 2021, the Job Search Allowance will be extended by 3 months and the rate will be:
80% in the first month,
50% for the second till the sixth month
30% for the last three months.
For this purpose, an allocation of RM150 million will be provided and is expected to benefit up to 130 thousand job seekers.

24. The Government will also continue the PenjanaKerjaya – hiring incentive programme under PERKESO, with several enhancements as below:

i. Incentive for employees earning RM1,500 and above will be enhanced from a flat rate of RM800 per month to 40 percent of monthly income, subject to a maximum incentive of RM4,000;

ii. to encourage employment for the disabled, long –term unemployed, and retrenched workers, employers will be given an additional incentive equivalent to 20 percent of the employee’s monthly income making the total incentive to employers’ amount to 60 percent; and

iii. For sectors with a high reliance on foreign workers such as construction and plantations, a special incentive of 60 percent of monthly wages will be provided whereby 40 percent will be channelled to the employer while 20 percent will be channelled as a wage top up to the local worker replacing the foreign worker.

The above three incentives will be given for a period of six months; and

iv. For those employed under the PenjanaKerjaya, the maximum training rate which can be claimed by employers will be increased from RM4,000 to RM7,000 to enable workers to take up high skilled training and professional certifications.

To ensure the success of these four PenjanaKerjaya initiatives, a total of RM2 billion will be allocated, which is expected to increase the employment opportunities for 200 thousand job-seekers.

25. one-off RM50 into e-wallet accounts for those aged 18 to 20 years via the eBelia Programme.

26. To enhance the welfare of vulnerable groups, the Government has agreed to increase the monthly rate of financial assistance as follows:
i. The rate for Financial Assistance for Person With Disabilities (OKU) who are Incapable of Work is increased from RM250 to RM300;

ii. The rate for Financial Assistance for Older Persons, Carers of Bed-ridden Disabled Person (OKU) and Chronically Ill Patient is increased from RM350 to RM500;

iii. The rate for Incentive Allowance for Disabled Workers is increased from RM400 to RM450; and

iv. The rate for Financial Assistance for Children is increased from RM100 per child with a maximum of RM450 per family, to RM150 per child aged seven years to 18 years, or RM200 per child aged six years and below with a maximum of RM1,000 per family. It is hoped this increase will help with childcare and nutritious food.

For more updates, please visit YYC Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/yycadvisors1974 Or Please email us at enquiry@yyc.my

Budget 2021 Highlights for Corporate

  1. Investment in Key Sectors RM1 billion special incentive package for high value-added technology, with a focus on supporting R&D investment in aerospace and electronics.
  2. RM500 million High Technology Fund will be provided by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to support high technology and innovative companies.
  3. Incentives for businesses relocating into Malaysia
  • Application for the incentive of special tax rates for manufacturing companies relocating businesses to Malaysia be extended for another 1 year until 31 December 2022;
  • the scope of tax incentives will also be extended to companies in selected services sector which have significant multiplier effect by providing an income tax rate of 0 to 10% for a period of 10 years.

4. Initiatives in Making Malaysia A Destination For High-Value Service Activities

i. Relaxation of tax incentive conditions for Principal Hub,
the incentive will be extended until 31 December 2022;

ii. New tax incentive for the establishment of Global Trading Centre at a concessionary rate of 10% for a period of 5 years and renewable for a period of another 5 years;

iii. Limit on sales value for value-added and additional activities carried out in the Free Industrial Zone and Licensed Manufacturing Warehouse be increased from 10% to 40% of the total annual sales value; and

iv. Special income tax treatment at a flat rate of 15% for a period of 5 years to non-resident individuals holding key positions for strategic new investment by companies relocating their operations to Malaysia under the Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA) incentive package.

5. Existing Tax Incentives extended until 2022 include tax incentives for MRO activities for aerospace, building and repair of ships, Bionexus status and economic corridor developments.

6. A National Development Scheme (NDS) valued at 1.4 billion ringgit by Bank Pembangunan Malaysia will be introduced to support the implementation and development of domestic supply chain and increase the production of local products such as medical devices.

7. Extension of Funds and Schemes
Maritime Development and Logistics Scheme; Sustainable Development Financing Scheme; Tourism Infrastructure Scheme; and Public Transport Fund
will be extended until 31 December 2023 with a fund size of RM 3.7 billion.
( RM500 million ringgit from these schemes will be designated for Bumiputera entrepreneurs.)

8. Targeted Assistance and Rehabilitation facility worth RM2 billion under Bank Negara Malaysia will be introduced through loans from banking institutions for affected SMEs.

9. Initiatives for Locally Manufactured Products
i. RM25 million for the Micro Franchise Development, Affordable Franchise programmes and Buy Made in Malaysia programme;

ii. RM150 million for training programmes, sales assistance and digital equipment for 100,000 local entrepreneurs to encourage adoption of e-commerce under the e-Commerce SME and Micro SME Campaign;

iii. RM150 million to implement Shop Malaysia Online initiative together with the e-commerce platform to encourage online spending which will benefit 500,000 local sellers including the halal products and handicrafts entrepreneurs; and

iv. RM35 million to promote Malaysian-made products and services under the Trade and Investment Mission.

10. Tax Inventive for manufacturers of pharmaceutical products including vaccines to invest in Malaysia, preferential tax rate of 0 to 10% for 10 years.

11. Empowering the Agriculture Sector

i. RM30 million allocated in Community Farming Programme and expanded to the semi-urban and rural communities. This programme provides equipment such as fertigation kits and crop media up to RM500 per individual or RM50,000 per community, is expected to benefit 60,000 participants;

ii. RM50 million allocated to implement Organic Agriculture Project to benefit 1,000 communities;

iii. RM10 million in matching grants allocated in e-Satellite Farm Programme, with up to RM30,000 to the Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan (PPK) for the purpose of purchasing agriculture equipment based on the Internet of Things including drones. The programme is expected to benefit more than 300 PPKs with a membership of nearly 1 million farmers and planters;

iv. For fisherman: Financing under the Vessel Modernization and Capture Mechanization Programme of up to RM 5 million (at a rate of 3.5%) for a period of 10 years to fishermen in zones A and B to upgrade equipment, nets and boats (RM150 million provided by Agrobank);

v. For agricultural entrepreneurs: Funding under the Agrofood Value Chain Modernization Programme of up to RM1 million (at a rate of 3.5%) for a period of 10 years for agricultural entrepreneurs to procure equipment and technology based on IR4.0. (RM60 million provided by Agrobank);

vi. For micro-entrepreneurs: RM10 million through matching grants is allocated in Aquaculture Development Programme,
up to RM20,000 for micro entrepreneurs to purchase equipment to develop high-value aquaculture livestock such as lobster and grouper; and

vii. The implementation of impactful and high-value farming projects with an RM100 million through collaboration with State governments such as pineapple farming in Johor and freshwater prawns in Negeri Sembilan.

12. Commodity Sector

  • RM20 million allocated to extend Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification or MSPO to boost growth and enhance the competitiveness of palm oil industry.
  • RM30 million matching grants for commodity sector industry’s investment in mechanisation and automation;
  • RM16 million allocated in incentives for latex production, focused in Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan;
  • A furniture industrial park to be opened in Pagoh,
    to further boost the timber industry and provide employment opportunities.

13. Tourism Industry

  • 6 months HRDF levies exemption will be given (effective from 1 January 2021)
    This exemption will cover the tourism sector and companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Training and placements for 8,000 employees of airline companies in Malaysia with an allocation of RM 50 million to be provided by Government.
  • RM35 million allocated to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council to enhance the competitiveness of the local health tourism industry.
  • Income tax exemption for the export of private healthcare services extended until the year of assessment 2022.
  • RM1,000 Grant Khas Prihatin be given to traders, hawkers, taxi drivers, e-hailing, rental cars and tour drivers in Sabah.

14. RM1 billion in Industrial Digitalization Transformation Scheme to be provided by BPMB, to boost digitalization activities. These funds will be extended until 31 December 2023.

15. For automation and modernization, RM150 million additional funds will be provided under the SME Digitalization Grant Scheme and the Automation Grant. The Grants’ eligibility conditions are relaxed for micro SMEs and start-ups that have been operating for at least six months.

16. Financing for Business

i. Micro Credit Financing

  • Through PUNB, RM230 million allocated as financing to SMEs for working capital, upgrading of automation systems and equipment and expenditure related to the implementation of COVID-19 SOP compliance.
  • For Bumiputera micro and small businesses,
    RM300 million in Lestari Bumi financing facility scheme provided by SME Bank.
  • National Supply Chain Finance Platform (“Jana Niaga”) introduced to assist the financial position of SMEs that supply to the Government or GLCs.
    – This platform will be led by EXIM Bank with the involvement of several financial institutions. RM300 million will be provided by EXIM Bank to drive Jana Niaga.
    – Implementing GLCs are Petronas and Telekom Malaysia and will be extended to other GLCs, Ministries and Government agencies in the future.
  • RM50 million matching grant allocated in Peer-to-peer financing (P2P) under Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) for SMEs financing.
  • Almost RM1.2 billion micro credit financing will be provided through TEKUN, PUNB, Agrobank, BSN and other financial institutions.
    – This includes RM110 million to Micro Enterprises Facility under BNM to encourage entrepreneurship among gig workers and self-employed and to support iTEKAD program.

ii. Loan Guarantees Financing

  • RM10 billion increase in loan guarantees given under Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan, with RM2 billion reserved for Bumiputera entrepreneurs.
  • For corporate companies involved in highly high skilled industries such as oil & gas and aerospace, RM3 billion in guarantee allocated under the Dana Jamin Prihatin Guarantee Scheme and will be extended until 2021 with improved terms and conditions.
  • Others
    Consumer Credit Act will be formulated
    – To encourage standardised credit lending activities and increase consumer protection.
    – This formulation will be led by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission.

iii. Alternative Financing

  • For Equity Crowd Funding (ECF)
    – 50% income tax exemption on the investment amount or limited to RM50,000 will be given.
    – An allocation of RM30 million in matching grant will also be invested on ECF platforms under the supervision of the SC.

17. For construction contractors

  • RM2.5 billion allocated for contractors in Class G1 to G4
    – including additional RM200 million for maintenance projects for Federal Roads and RM50 million for PPR houses.
    – Government will also extend flexibilities accorded on procurement procedures until December 2021 to expedite the implementation of developmental projects.
  • RM50 million allocated in financing access for construction contractors through MARA, under the Skim Pembiayaan Kontrak Ekspres, SPiKE will be offered to Bumiputera contractors who deal with the Government to facilitate cash flow in implementing projects.

18. RM20 million allocated to the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center or MaGIC and selected agencies in social enterprise development program.

– Social enterprises with Government Impact e-Procurement Program Certificate from MaGIC and other selected agencies can join in the pilot project for the e-Procurement registration to become suppliers to the Government.
– With this initiative, social enterprises can supply goods and services in total up to RM20 million per year.

19. RM2 billion allocated to extend the Green Technology Financing Scheme 3.0 (GTFS3.0) for two years up to 2022.

For more updates, please visit YYC Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/yycadvisors1974 Or Please email us at enquiry@yyc.my

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.