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Weekly SME News Highlights (Mar 15-22)

We understand how time-consuming it is to run a business, so we’ve extracted, summarised, and compiled important news events in Malaysia over the past week to get you updated at a glance with MISHU’s News Highlights.

1. Luxury tax details pushed to June 

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan told the Dewan Rakyat that the ministry was in the midst of fine-tuning the details on the luxury tax and that it would be tabled sometime in June.

The tax on unimportant, unnecessary, and expensive items like watches was first announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the new 2023 budget. 

The announcement has been met by calls to clearly define the scope of a ‘luxury item’ as, left open to interpretation, it could include things others see as essential items instead. Retailers are also worried the tax would deter tourists from visiting Malaysia or encourage a black market with unscrupulous dealers.

2. Low-value goods tax postponed

Yet another tax postponing, but on the opposite end of the price spectrum.

In an announcement on its website, the customs department said the implementation of the 10% tax on low-value goods (LVG), which was supposed to come into effect on April 1, has been put off ‘to a date to be determined later’.

The 10% sales tax was scheduled to be imposed on goods priced below RM500 which were purchased online and delivered to Malaysia by vendors registered with the Finance Ministry, which makes online shopping more expensive for Malaysians.

3. Millions to be made in recycling industry?

Alam Flora Sdn Bhd COO Azahari Zainal Abidin said waste collected from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur alone could pile up to the height of the Petronas Twin Towers in only one week.

He said most Malaysians were still unaware of the high commodity value of the garbage they generated.

It was reported that Malaysia loses an estimated RM476 million every year in recyclable resources in an industry that is considered to have high value, simply because recycling practices have yet to become the norm in this country.

Malaysia’s landfills are filling to capacity, putting the country in danger of running out of space for the disposal of solid waste by 2050, and forcing the government to launch multi-pronged campaigns to counter the growing stench. 

4. MRT Putrajaya Line Phase Two is here!

The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Putrajaya Line Phase Two which will be operational on March 16 is expected to reduce congestion, especially on roads and highways leading into the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Stretching a distance of 40.2 kilometers from Kampung Batu to Putrajaya Sentral, the Phase Two line involves a number of hot spot locations or stations including Sungai Besi, Chan Sow Lin and Ampang Park which are the focus of the working population.

Here is an official source on the new line.

Hopefully, the new line’s opening gives employees and employers an alternative to driving to work and getting stuck in rush hour traffic. 

5. 10,000 Indian businesses at risk of closure

N Gobalakrishnan, president of the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) said that around 10,000 Indian businesses from three sectors (goldsmiths, textiles and barbers) may be forced to cease operations as the visit passes for temporary employment (PLKS) for its remaining foreign workers will be terminated in stages.

The three sectors have not had sufficient foreign labour because of a freeze since 2009. Existing foreign workers, Gobalakrishnan said, have been on temporary employment passes which are renewed on a yearly basis.

“So with the new announcement, it is likely that these 10,000 businesses will close down in a matter of nine to 10 months,” he told a press conference here.

6. DBKL to identify land, expand urban farming initiative for B40

Kuala Lumpur City Hall will identify abandoned and reserve land belonging to the federal government that can be turned into community gardens to create job opportunities and increase income for the B40 group.

DBKL will work with several parties including the Ministry of Economy and the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office to identify relevant locations besides cooperating with parties with related expertise.

Besides opening up job opportunities for low-income people, the effort can also reduce the costs of maintaining abandoned land.

And that’s it for this week! If you have any questions about how the news above could affect your business specifically, we’re just a call away.

Otherwise, hope you found this useful and see you next Wednesday.

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