KUALA LUMPUR (March 24): The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced several measures following the Economic Action Council (EAC) announcement earlier yesterday, including a tax deduction for donations and contributions made to the COVID-19 Fund and the Ministry of Health (MOH).
In a statement, Minister of Finance Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said the ministry welcomes the generosity of Malaysians — both individuals and the corporate sector — in contributing and donating towards addressing the outbreak.
“The MOF would like to acknowledge the contributions made by the government-linked companies (GLCs), which to date amounts to RM60 million in the form of medicine, medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), to the Ministry of Health.
“The corporate sector is encouraged to emulate the generosity of GLCs in assisting national efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. In this regard, the MOF has approved a tax deduction for contributions and donations in cash and in kind by individuals and corporates to the COVID-19 Fund and the MOH,” he said.
The ministry also announced an exemption of import duties and sales tax for face masks, taking note of the difficulties in obtaining the masks due to the spike in demand.
It also advised the public to avoid excessive purchases to ensure adequate supply for all.
Meanwhile, MOF reiterated that it has established the Unit for the Implementation and Coordination of National Agencies on the Economic Stimulus Package (LAKSANA) to monitor the implementation of the Economic Stimulus Package 2020.
It said the measures that have been implemented to date include service tax exemption for hotels effective March 1, the restructuring and rescheduling of loans by financial institutions for impacted borrowers, and the RM3.3 billion soft loan fund provided by Bank Negara Malaysia to assist SMEs.
Besides that, the payment of RM200 each for 3.8 million Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients that was scheduled in May 2020 was brought forward and paid on March 16, while amendments were made to government procurement procedures to expedite procurement.
Other key measures that have been planned to take effect on April 1 are on schedule, said the ministry. This includes the proposed deferment of monthly income tax instalments for the tourism industry, the reduction in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) employee contribution and the discount on electricity charges.
A total of RM1.7 billion has been disbursed to the relevant ministries and agencies, out of the total allocation of RM3.2 billion under the stimulus package.
The Second Economic Stimulus Package 2020 will be announced on March 30, it added, with preparations currently underway. Feedback from various stakeholders will be taken, including that of the public, via the official MOF portal at pre2020.treasury.gov.my.