Govt unveils RM21bil assistance amid Covid-19 pandemic

Tynn TanMarch 27, 2020

With Covid-19 now a pandemic, the Malaysian government unveiled around RM21 billion assistance under its stimulus package to help citizens and corporates tide through this difficult time.

This include tax deferments and exemptions as well as discount vouchers aimed at stimulating the tourism sector.

Specifically, businesses in the tourism sector will be allowed to defer monthly income tax instalment payments starting from April to September 2020, reported Bernama.

Companies affected by Covid-19 can also revise their 2020 profit estimates in relation to monthly income tax instalment payments, without fear of being penalised.

Hotels, airlines, shopping malls, travel agencies, as well convention and exhibition centres will enjoy a 15% discount on their monthly electric bills. Hotels will also be exempted from the 6% service tax from March to August 2020.

Bank Negara Malaysia is also set to provide RM2 billion worth of special relief facility in the form of working capital for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at an interest rate of 3.75%.

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A RM200 million microcredit facility will be allocated by Bank Simpanan Nasional with a 4% interest rate.

To stimulate the tourism sector, the government will offer up to RM1,000 in personal income tax relief on expenditure related to domestic tourism.

Malaysians can avail of digital vouchers for domestic tourism of up to RM100 for each person for accommodation at licensed hotels, domestic flights and rails.

The government will allocate RM500 million for the vouchers and tourism promotion.

Existing guidelines that limit government agencies’ use of hotels will be relaxed to mitigate the decline in hotel demand.

The approval process of existing loan funds will be further streamline like the RM1.5 billion Tourism Infrastructure Fund of Bank Pembangunan.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd will also offer rebates on rental for airport premises as well as parking and landing charges.

Prime MInister Muhyiddin Yassin is set to announce a more comprehensive stimulus package on 27 March, instead of 30 March as previously expected.

“My officers in the Finance Ministry are working tirelessly to prepare an economic stimulus package that will benefit everyone,” he said in a special address.

“Whether you are a taxi driver, Grab driver, farmer, restaurant operator, nasi lemak seller, pisang goreng seller, burger seller or salaried employees, the government will try its very best to ensure all of you will benefit from this. Insya Allah, no one will be left behind.”

He also revealed that the Movement Control Order will be extended to 14 April – in the hopes that Malaysians make early preparations.

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