Meltdown and challenging times and profiting from market downturn


starbiz@thestar.com.my

https://youtu.be/Ue6N787O4SI

 

IT is trying times for everyone as the global financial world melts down but the order of the day is really to stop the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) so that some normality could return.

Ironically, two things seem to be rising amid the turmoil – the demand for toilet paper caused serious fights in supermarkets across the globe and this has gone viral across various networks.

The other is the US dollar. Its rise has many reasons.

Everything else, including stock markets, oil, bonds, commodities, currencies and bitcoin are plunging to new lows with no clear signs of immediate reversal. Just in a month the FBM KLCI is down by 20% while the Dow Jones Industrial average 31%.

The rise in demand for toilet paper cannot be comprehended but the rise of the US dollar in a mayhem is understandable. Corporations across the global are rushing to draw down credit lines and seek the US dollar for their funding needs.

In fact, people are scrambling for the US dollar and as a report said “world markets are still very, very nervous …people are scrambling for cash any way they can.’’

Ringgit against the US dollar has reached the RM4.41 range.

Bonds are also seeing the biggest wave of withdrawals since 2017 and gold has fallen as there are concerns of a global economic recession.

The timing of the Saudi Arabia-russia oil price war was shocking and a report said it is a “risky move likely to further destabilise a world economy that is already wobbly with the pandemic.’’

Oil has plummeted to about US$30 a barrel and experts believe it could plunge to US$20 a barrel though the Us-trump Administration may intervene as US producers are suffering from the historic crash in prices.

Amid all these fears, governments across the globe are coming out with stimulus packages to help its citizens and businesses. It is a much needed aid as many countries have enforced total lockdown and people on daily jobs need money for survival. The US alone is forking out US$1 trillion in aid. Other countries have set aside billions of dollars including Malaysia Rm20bil.

StarBiz compiled by B.K. SIDHU & EUGENE MAHALINGAM

Profiting from market downturn

Investment strategy: The benefit of dollar-cost averaging is that you don’t have to monitor the price movement and you don’t have to make a decision every time you want to invest. In fact, dollar-cost averaging is quite a no-brainer strategy.

MOST people tend to be very bearish about the stock market after a crash. In fact, most investors would feel that it would be best to avoid the stock market for now.

Some may even want to cut their current investment losses and get out of their investments in equities, even though seasoned investors would tell you that the best opportunity to enter the market would be after a market crash

Following the recent global stock market downturn, market sentiments, the desire and motivation to invest is at an all-time low. Understandably so, after all, once bitten twice shy.

However, the legendary “Oracle of Omaha” and one of the most successful investor of all time, Warren Buffett, once said that as an investor, it is wise to be “fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”

It’s hard, if not impossible, to convince oneself to invest when the whole world is panicking.

On one hand, you think the market crash is so sharp that you are fearful it may drop even further. On the other hand, you can clearly see that premium stocks are now trading at a great discount, and hence now would be a great opportunity to snap them up. What should you do?

If this is your dilemma, there’s an investment strategy that can help you to take advantage of the market downturn and allay your fear: the method is called dollar-cost averaging.

How dollar-cost averaging operates

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy to invest a specific amount of money in the market at routine intervals (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly). Done right, you can protect yourself against fluctuations and downside risk in the market.

For example, instead of investing a lump sum of, say, RM120,000, you invest RM10,000 a month over one year. By doing this, you average out the cost of investments over an extended period of time. This is to make sure you don’t invest all your money at the peak of the market.

On the other hand, this strategy works especially well in an extended market downturn (like what you expect now) as you will keep buying at lower and lower prices until the market recovers.

For example, you invest RM1,000 in an equity unit trust fund at RM1 per unit. So, you end up with 1,000 units. The following month, you invest another RM1,000 in the same fund but because the unit price has dropped to 50 sen, you end up with 2,000 units.

So, what is the average cost of all your units? If your answer is 75 sen, you’re wrong. That’s because you have used the arithmetic mean (RM1+50sen/2>75 sen). You should use the harmonic mean.

This is how to calculate the average cost of all your units correctly: Your total investment is RM2,000 and you have 3,000 units of the fund. Divide RM2,000 by 3,000 units and the average cost is 67 sen. This means by using harmonic mean calculation, dollar-cost averaging gives a lower average cost.

How it helps you to profit from current market

Now, let’s see how we can apply dollar-cost averaging strategy to the current market scenario. You’re bearish about the market and think it will go down for another six months.

Dollar-cost averaging works well if you believe the market will continue to go down.

With reference to Table 1, if you invest RM1,000 a month for the next 12 months, you would have invested RM12,000 and accumulated 25,648 units at the end of the period. At 80 sen (which is lower than the original price), your investment value at the end of the period is RM20,518 (80 sen x 25,648 units).

It means that you would have gained RM8,518 (RM20,518 – RM12,000). That’s a 71% gain over 12 months, despite the fund price being beaten down by as much as 78% (90 sen – RM0.20 = 70 sen, then divided by 90 sen = 78%).

Why it can help you

Dollar-cost averaging is a discipline that can help investors overcome their emotion, dilemma and other human feeling when it comes to investing, be it fear or greed. We’re always tempted to invest when the market is high and so we end up buying high instead of buying low. With dollar-cost averaging, we’re automatically programmed to buy less units at higher prices and more units at lower prices instead.

Thus when the market crashes and prices are low like now, we would be empowered to invest, not react out of fear.

For this strategy to work, you would need to invest a specific amount of money at specific intervals, say RM10,000 a month over one year, no matter what the market condition is in. If you think that the market may crash and rebound in a shorter period, you may want to implement the strategy within one month. For example, RM30,000 a week over a one-month period. It does not matter which interval, what’s important is that it’s done consistently.

Your current investment strategy to buy only when the price has dropped to a certain “attractive” level is commendable. However, to execute this strategy well, you must be disciplined enough to monitor the market movement closely and spend time and energy to decide when would be the right time to buy the investment.

The benefit of dollar-cost averaging is that you don’t have to monitor the price movement and you don’t have to make a decision every time you want to invest. In fact, if you’d ask me, dollar-cost averaging is quite a no-brainer strategy.

How to make dollar-cost averaging work better

Dollar-cost averaging offers the most benefit when you invest in investments whose prices are highly volatile (move up or down in a big quantum).

An investment that is highly volatile is often perceived as a risky investment. However, this risk plays to your advantage when dollar-cost averaging is applied. How so? The strategy helps to perform an efficient accumulation of investment units. When a particular investment drops significantly in price, you get to accumulate more units. The bigger the drop, the more units you accumulate, thus your accumulation is more efficient (you get to buy the units at a cheaper price).

In comparison, if you invest in an investment that has low volatility, the drop in price would be too small and you can only accumulate a few units, thus rendering your accumulation to be less efficient.

Therefore, when you apply dollar-cost averaging strategy on your unit trust portfolio, go for equity funds. Avoid money market funds or bond funds.

Warning: Don’t apply dollar-cost averaging strategy on a single share. There’s usually an underlying reason why the price of a particular share is in a continuous downward trend. In such circumstances, there’s no assurance that the price will ever go up when the whole market rebound. Worst, the share may not even survive the tough economic crisis and ends up getting delisted.

Do remember that for dollar-cost averaging to work, your chosen investment must be resilient enough to rebound when stock market recovers.

Dollar-cost averaging is best suited if you have a portfolio of equity unit trust funds that is diversified into various regions, so that risks is spread across the share of many companies.

Act on it

To truly benefit from dollar-cost averaging, you have to apply it to your investments. During the implementation process, your resolve would be tested.

There will be times where you will be tempted to abandon the strategy especially when the price of your investment has dropped even further.

Do not waver! Be discipline in executing your strategy and enjoy the gains when the market recovers. Onwards and upwards.

– Yap Ming Hui (ymh@whitman.com.my) is thrilled that his mission to empower every Malaysian with a roadmap to financial freedom has finally come to fruition with the release of a free DIY roadmap to financial freedom tool on the iWealth mobile app. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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Malaysia’s economic stimulus package of RM20bil to mitigate Covid-19 impact


Video: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/02/28/gdp-target-within-reach?jwsource=cl

Minimum EPF contribution by employees to be reduced by 4% from 11% to 7%, with effect from Apr 1 to Dec 31, 2020. This will potentially unlock up to RM10 billion worth of private consumption. Malaysian workers have the option to opt out from the
scheme and maintain their contribution rate
    • KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had on Thursday unveiled the RM20bil stimulus package to offset the fallout from the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Below are the highlights:

    • Based on three strategies: counter Covid-19 impact, boost people-based growth, encourage quality investments

 

    • • Bank Simpanan Nasional provides RM200mil micro credit at 4% interest rate

 

    • • MAHB to cut rental for tenants, landing charges and parking fees at airports

 

    • • Postponement of income tax monthly payment for tourism-related companies

 

    • • Bank Negara provides RM2bil guaranteed financial aid for SMES at 3.75% interest rate

 

    • • All banks required to reduce monetary burden in the form of postponement of payments or rescheduling of loans

 

    • • Temporary six months discount of as much as 15% for electricity bills for hotels, tourism agencies, airlines, and shopping centres

 

    • • Hotels to get service tax breaks from next month to august

 

    • • Economic growth for 2020 expected to be between 3.2% and 4.2%

 

    • • Minimum EPF contribution by employees to be reduced from 11% to 7%, with effect from april 1 to dec 31. This could unlock up to RM10bil worth of private consumption. Malaysian contributors have the choice to opt out from the scheme and maintain their contribution rate

 

    • • A payment of RM200 to all bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients scheduled for May will be brought forward to March. an additional RM100 will be paid into the bank accounts of all BSH recipients in May. Subsequently, an additional rM50 will be channelled in the form of e-tunai

 

    • • As a result of the stimulus package, fiscal deficit estimated to increase to 3.4% of GDP from targeted 3.2%

 

    • • Grants of RM1,000 to RM10,000 for entrepreneurs to promote the sale of their products on e-commerce platforms

 

    • • Securities Commission and bursa Malaysia will waive listing fees for one year, for companies seeking listing on Leading entrepreneur accelerator Platform (LEAP) or Access, Certainty, Efficiency (ACE) markets, as well as companies with market capitalisation of less than RM500mil seeking listing on the main market

 

    • • Import duty and sales tax exemption on importation or local purchase of machinery and equipment used in port operations for three years commencing april 1

 

    • • Enough source of money for now, no issuance of bonds needed

 

    • • Stimulus package to be funded by RM2 trillion savings from bank Negara, Tabung Haji, EPF

 

  • • Bureaucratic procedures will be expedited to disburse stimulus

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Top spammers and scammers in Malaysia by anti-spam mobile app Truecaller


If you’ve been getting a flood of automated phone calls lately about outstanding traffic summonses or a parcel delivery you know nothing about, here’s the likely reason.

Statistics from an anti-spam mobile application show that over the past 12 months, Macau, parcel and other scam syndicates have been making more calls to trick Malaysians into handing over money.

Truecaller – which claims to have 150 million daily active users worldwide – said there has been a 24% jump in the average number of spam calls received by its one million users in Malaysia this year compared to 2018.

The mobile app, which has offices in Sweden, the United States and India, said it has helped users in Malaysia identify and block 90 million spam calls so far this year, typically from telemarketers offering telecommunications, insurance and credit card products and services.

Scam calls are a form of fraudulent activity with the goal of stealing the victim’s money.

Last year, scam calls – including those by Macau Scam syndicates – made up a mere 1% of spam calls received by the app’s Malaysian users.

This year, the figure has ballooned to a whopping 63%, according to the Truecaller Insights 2019 report.

The Macau, parcel and “Astro” scams are among the top scams in the country over the past year, the report noted.
The modus operandi of a Macau Scam is by impersonating someone with authority, such as a policeman or a bank officer, and convince the victims over the phone that they need to pay money to avoid trouble.

For parcel scams (which are also sometimes referred to in Malaysia as love scams), the scammer would strike up a relationship with the victims online, and then convince them to send money so that a parcel said to contain a valuable gift for the victim can be “released by authorities”.

In the Astro scam, someone impersonating a representative from the satellite TV provider would call a potential victim to deliver a warning.

“Input we’ve gotten is that they would say you have an unpaid bill and that needs to be paid right away, otherwise you’ll be reported for it, ” a Truecaller representative said.

The report’s findings are reflected in official figures on losses suffered by the victims.

Police statistics show that of the five currently active syndicated commercial crime cases this year, investment scams took the number one spot, recording the biggest losses at RM200.78mil, with Macau Scam in second and parcel scams third.

On Nov 12, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said 1,911 Malaysians lost RM94.04mil to Macau Scam this year, while 1,303 lost RM67.74mil to parcel scams.

According to the Truecaller report, Malaysia is the mobile app’s 19th most spammed country. In first place is Brazil, where Truecaller users receive an average of 45.6 unsolicited calls a month, followed by Peru (30.9), Indonesia (27.9), Mexico (25.7) and India (25.6).

While Malaysia may not be the most spammed country it does hold another unsavoury record.

“Analysing this year’s data, we can see that Malaysia is the market that receives the biggest percentage of scam calls in the world, ” the report said.

Malaysia is trailed by Australia (60%), Lebanon (49%), Canada (48%), and South Africa (39%).

The police have a Facebook account, Cyber Crime Alert Royal Malaysia Police (https://www.facebook.com/CyberCrimeAlertRMP/) to warn the public about scams.

A web portal set up by the police, http://ccid.rmp.gov.my/semakmule, allows people to verify telephone numbers and bank accounts that could be used for scamming.

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Spam calls up by nearly a quarter in Malaysia: anti-spam mobile app Truecaller

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has seen a 24% rise in the number of unsolicited (spam) calls this year which includes those from Macau Scam syndicates, according to anti-spam mobile application Truecaller.

Truecaller – which claims to have 150 million users worldwide – said its one million daily active users in Malaysia received more than 90 million spam calls so far this year that the app managed to block.

“Over the past 12 months Malaysia has seen a 24% increase of spam calls, going from 6.7 spam calls per month to 8.3,” the Truecaller Insights 2019 report said.

The report said Malaysia ranked 19th among Truecaller market countries in terms of the number of spam calls.
Brazil tops the list, with Truecaller users in the country getting an average of 45.6 spam calls this year.

In second place is Peru (30.9), followed by Indonesia (27.9), Mexico (25.7) and India (25.6).

Spam calls are divided into several categories which include scam calls such as those by the Macau, parcel and “Astro scam” syndicates.

Other types of spam calls include those by telemarketers offering telecommunications, insurance and credit card products and services.

The MO for a Macau scam is that the scammer would impersonate someone with authority such as a policeman or a bank officer over the phone and convince the victim that they need to pay money to avoid trouble.

For parcel scams (which are also sometimes referred to in Malaysia as love scams), the scammer would strike up a friendship or relationship with the victim online and then convinces them to send money or entice the victim with a parcel delivery.

In the “Astro scam”, someone impersonating a representative from the satellite tv provider would call to warn the potential victim of a supposedly unpaid bill which needs to be settled immediately to prevent a report from being lodged.

The Truecaller report noted that Malaysia is the top country where the biggest percentage of unsolicited phone calls comprises of scam calls.

“Analysing this year’s data, we can see that Malaysia is the market that receives the biggest percentage of scam calls in the world.

On Nov 12, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman said 1,911 Malaysians lost RM94.04mil to Macau scams this year while another 1,303 lost RM67.74mil to parcel scammers.

The Truecaller report said that other than Malaysia, other top countries with the highest percentages of scam calls include Australia (60%), Lebanon (49%), Canada (48%) and South Africa (39%).

The police have a Facebook account, Cyber Crime Alert Royal Malaysia Police to warn the public about scams, as well as a portal for people to verify telephone numbers and bank account numbers that could be used by syndicates carrying out such scams.
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Blockchain: Internet of Value/ Currency of Trust; Private cryptocurrency a misallocation among blockchain technology, say research & economist


  • Blockchain embodies the internet of value. How will it revolutionize our lives and our pockets?

  •  And, we look at the qualities Blockchain needs to spark mass adoption.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored the fledgling technology as the country increasingly views Blockchain as key to future innovation. Has a digital game changer arrived? How will a boom in Blockchain impact our lives? Today we delve into the world of the new technology and talk to Don Tapscott, co-founder and executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, to find out more.

Currency of Trust

Blockchain has the potential to be revolutionary. But, what hurdles must it overcome before it can hit the mainstream? In London, we invited Patrick McCorry, founder and CEO of PISA Research, a grant funded by a group of Blockchain companies, to decode this ever-changing world.

Private cryptocurrency a misallocation among blockchain technology, says economist

Cryptocurrency is digital-based cash among the internet world nowadays. Born from blockchain, this kind of “currency” is blooming in terms of high privacy. Acknowledging that, Nobel Prize-winning economist and Harvard professor Eric Maskin commented that private cryptocurrency is a misallocation.

“The most important application of blockchain so far has been cryptocurrency, and that is a terrible misallocation. In my view, cryptocurrency, at least private cryptocurrency like bitcoin is a mistake,” said Maskin.

“Because the public currency like RMB and U.S. dollar are much more useful than private currency. [Public currencies] they preserve the power of central banks to conduct monetary policy. If no one is using the dollar, then the U.S. monetary policy is useless. So I’m worried about cryptocurrency only to the extent that it reduces the use of currencies like RMB or dollar,” he added.

He also pointed out that cryptocurrencies could interfere with central banks’ monetary policies.

Meanwhile, Maskin supports the idea that blockchain is a technology. He noted that it is one of the exciting developments that have come along in recent years.

“Blockchain can make all sorts of transactions much easier and much more secure. It can also ensure that only the information that people need to have gets transmitted,” said Maskin.

“Blockchain is a way for me to guarantee that only what you need to about me gets told. And that’s valuable in a world where we’re beginning to worry about privacy issues,” the professor explained.

Besides, Maskin supports building the country’s own digital currencies. With the backdrop of e-payment booming around the world, Maskin said the digital currency can make transaction easier but it won’t have all of the unpleasant side effects of these private currencies.

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Blockchain with Chinese characteristics

 

 

 

Shocked! Najib’s actions showed personal interest beyond that of public office — judge


KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali took an hour to deliver his decision today that the prosecution has successfully established a prima facie case against former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak on all seven charges in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

What was significant was that the judge devoted half an hour to just one charge, namely abuse of power.

Najib also faces three criminal breach of trust charges and three money-laundering charges in relation to the alleged embezzlement of RM42 million from SRC in 2014 and 2015.

On the power abuse charge, Justice Nazlan said evidence adduced by the prosecution showed that the series of actions taken by Najib in respect of SRC showed personal interest beyond that of public office.

Najib, who is also the member of parliament for Pekan and former Barisan Nasional chairman, had agreed to the recommendation made by the Economic Planning Unit to approve a RM20 million launching grant for SRC when the company initially applied for a RM3 billion grant, the judge noted.

“Before SRC was placed under 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), SRC’s Articles of Association under Section 67 stipulates that the accused as PM has the power to appoint and remove the members of the board of directors of the company,” the judge said.

More importantly, Justice Nazlan said Najib responded to a letter dated June 3, 2011 from SRC’s former chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who sought a RM3.95 billion loan.

“Najib made a notation on the letter addressed to the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) CEO Datuk Azian Mohd Noh stating in fact that he was agreeing to it, and wanted Azian to look into it.

“It should be highlighted that KWAP is a statutory institution which in effect reports to the finance minister and KWAP board members and whose investment panel members are appointed by the finance minister, under Section 6 and 7 of the KWAP Act,” the judge said.

Najib the ultimate boss

Justice Nazlan said Najib had informed then Treasury secretary-general and KWAP chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah to expedite the approval of the SRC loan, and that this happened after Wan Abdul Aziz and Azian had briefed Najib that KWAP was initially considering extending a loan of only RM1 billion.

“Crucially, Wan Abdul Aziz testified under cross-examination that he did not consider the said communication with the accused as an instruction from Najib. In addition Azian, the former KWAP CEO, testified there was no legal compulsion. She could not deny that there was a certain amount of influence in the notation directed to her in the June 3, 2011 letter.

“This was due to the fact that Azian felt Najib was the PM and the minister in charge of KWAP and her “ultimate boss”,” the judge said, adding that before KWAP approved the loan, SRC had written to the finance ministry seeking a government guarantee in anticipation of the RM2 billion loan.

The judge also noted the deputy secretary-general of Treasury, Datuk Mat Noor Nawi, had testified that the transfer of the share of ownership of SRC from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Ministry of Finance Incorporated was executed by Najib, who was also the finance minister.

Justice Nazlan said the series of conduct and involvement of Najib with regard to SRC, if viewed in totality, cannot be construed as purely being a lawful exercise of his official duty as either the prime minister, finance minister or advisor emeritus of SRC.

“This is because such conduct and involvement was beyond the ordinary and outside the usual conduct or involvement expected of a prime minister and finance minister, similarly circumstanced.

“Such conduct and involvement exhibited by the accused instead serves only to demonstrate the existence of private and personal interest on the part of the accused in SRC, which interest, in my judgement, is in the nature that is envisaged under the law to fall within the ambit of Section 23 of the MACC Act,” the judge ruled.

Justice Nazlan further reasoned that the argument that Najib had not given any instructions or directions but merely made requests and had no role to play in securing the KWAP loan cannot withstand the court’s scrutiny.

He said if these were couched as mere requests it is manifest that they were made by Najib because they were meant to be obeyed.

“Everyone else in the picture was in a position subordinate to the accused. These included the secretary-general of the Treasury and the (then) Second Finance Minister (Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah),” he said.

Justice Nazlan said the prosecution has also showed that Najib participated in the decision-making process at the meetings of the Cabinet, which the ex-premier chaired and where the two government guarantees for the loans extended by KWAP to SRC were approved.

This, he said, is clearly is a decision or action taken by Najib in relation to the government guarantee, which was to guarantee KWAP the repayment of the loan by SRC, in which Najib had an interest of a nature that is caught under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.

“In fact the accused himself, as the PM who chaired the meetings, had tabled the Cabinet paper on the second government guarantee at the meeting which approved the same on Feb 8, 2012.

“There was no disclosure, let alone any attempt to excuse himself from the deliberation on the Cabinet papers at the either of the said meetings,” he said, adding that Najib also subsequently chaired a cabinet meeting where a short-term loan was approved when SRC nearly defaulted KWAP payment.

“Given the accused’s control over SRC, he could cause the transfers of RM42 million which were through intermediary companies credited into his personal accounts and eventuality utilised and spent to his own advantage. This is gratification to the accused pure and simple,” he said, in ruling that Najib has to enter his defence on the abuse of power charge.

Najib is charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act for allegedly using his position as the prime minister and finance minister to commit bribery involving RM42 million when he participated in or was involved in the decision to provide government guarantees for loans from the Retirement Fund Inc to SRC amounting to RM4 billion.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012. If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years, and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value received or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The Edge is reporting the proceedings of the SRC trial live.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.


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Malaysia’s Tax Budget 2020 highlights


KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 11): The following are the highlights of Budget 2020:

Malaysian economy

Government

  • The Bureau of Public Complaints will be replaced by the Malaysian Ombudsman to enhance govt’s governance and delivery systems
  • Govt to move forward with the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to increase public confidence and trust in police.
  • Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) offers to guarantee additional tranche of Samurai bonds with lower interest rate of less than 0.5% compared with 0.63% previously. The federal government plans to issue the bonds early next year. Issuance size to be determined after further discussion with JBIC.
  • Home Ministry to receive RM16.9 billion boost for 2020.
  • Allocation for Islamic affairs under PM’s Dept increased to RM1.3 billion from 1.2 billion in 2019
  • Govt has set up National Committee on Investments (NCI), chaired by Minister of Finance and Minister of International Trade and Industry
  • Allocation for Defence Ministry raised from RM13.9 billion in 2019 to RM15.6 billion in 2020

1MDB

Corporate, finance and fintech

  • Govt will continue to ensure at least 30% of tenders of each ministry are reserved for only Bumiputera contractors
  • 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 to increase the digitalisation of operations for Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SME)
  • RM50m allocation proposed to encourage SMEs to engage in more export promotion activities
  • Govt to provide extra RM50m for SC’s My Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) to assist SMEs that have difficulties in getting financing
  • Govt to merge Bank Pembangunan Malaysia, Danajamin Nasional, SME Bank and EXIM Bank Malaysia to restructure development financial institutions (DFI)
  • Govt allocates RM1 billion in investment incentives to attract Fortune Fortune 500 companies and global unicorns
  • Govt to offer special investment incentive package worth RM1b per year for five years to local companies capable of penetrating overseas market
  • Additional RM10m allocation to be set aside for MITI to increase monitoring to ensure approved investments are realised
  • Government evaluating Carey Island development feasibility for next growth phase
  • Govt intends to develop a 100-acre logistics hub at Special Border Economic Zone at Kota Perdana in Bukit Kayu Hitam to strengthen trade relations with Thailand
  • National Fiberisation & Connectivity Plan will adopt public-private partnership approach involving total investment of RM21.6b
  • RM20m allocation for Cradle Fund to train and offer grants to high-impact technology entrepreneurs
  • Licensing for digital banks to be opened for public consultation by year end. A framework is expected to be released in 1H2020
  • Digital bank licensing framework will be finalised by Bank Negara and open for application in the first half of 2020
  • Govt to allocate additional RM50 million to Malaysia Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) to benefit equity crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platforms.
  • Ceiling on Market Development Grant (MDG) by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) raised to RM300,000. Cap on entry to export exhibitions also raised to RM25,000. RM50 million allocated to encourage SMEs to join promotional activities.

Entrepreneur

  • RM445m Bumiputera entrepreneur development grant for access to financing, provision of business premises, entrepreneurship training
  • Govt to provide loans worth RM100m under Small Industries Entrepreneurs Financing Scheme for Chinese community
  • Govt to provide RM20m in loans under entrepreneur development scheme for Indian community
    Govt to allocate RM500m as guaranteed facility for women entrepreneurs via Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Bhd (SJPP)
  • Skim Jaminan Pinjaman Perniagaan will be enhanced, with the government guarantee raised to 80% of the loan amount while the guarantee fee is reduced to 0.75%. A RM500 million guarantee facility has been set aside especially for women entrepreneurs.
  • SME Bank will introduce two new funds: a RM200m fund specially for women entrepreneurs, and a RM300m fund to support SMEs with potential to become regional champs
  • Ministry of Entrepreneur Development to give RM10 million for advisory services and awareness for the halal industry
  • Tax incentives for venture capital and angel investors will be extended until 2023
  • Govt jobs worth RM1.3b dedicated for Bumiputera contractors

Internet and tech

  • Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) has successfully reduced broadband prices by 49% and increased speeds by three times
  • RM250m will be set aside by MCMC to prepare broadband access via satellite technology to increase connectivity in rural Malaysia, especially Sabah and Sarawak
  • Matching grant fund of RM25m will be set aside to encourage more pioneer digital projects that benefit fibre optic infrastructure and 5G
  • RM20m allocated to MDEC to groom local champions in producing digital content
  • RM50 million grant to develop 5G ecosystem to prepare for  5G transformation worldwide
  • Smart automation matching grant (up to RM2m) for 1,000 local manufacturers and 1,000 services companies to automate business processes
  • To boost use of e-wallets, govt to offer one-time RM30 digital stimulus to qualified Malaysians aged 18 and above with annual income less than RM100,000
  • 14 one-stop digital improvement centres to be set up in every state to faciltiate access to financing, development of business capacity
  • RM10m to be set aside for MDEC to train micro-digital entrepreneurs and technology experts to leverage e-market places, social media platforms
  • Digital Social Responsibility (DSR) is commitment from business sector to enhance workforce with digital skills needed by society. Contributions from the private sector to the DSR will be given tax
  • R&D in public sector to be intensified with RM524 million allocation to ministries, public agencies exemptions.
  • Government to up e-sports allocation to RM20m due to high potential
  • Green Investment Tax Allowance (GITA) and Green Investment Tax Exemptions (GITE) extended to 2023 in line with sustainable development

Palm oil

  • Govt has launched palm oil replanting loan fund worth RM550m for smallholders
  • Govt to implement B20 biodiesel for the transport sector by end-2020. This is expected to increase palm oil demand by 500,000 tonnes per annum.

Rubber

  • RM200m set aside for ‘Bantuan Musim Tengkujuh’ to eligible rubber smallholders under RISDA, Lembaga Industri Getah Sabah
  • RM100 million allocated for Rubber Production Incentive in 2020 to enhance income of smallholders faced with low rubber prices

Agriculture

  • Allocation for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry increased to RM4.9 billion, including RM150 million to support plant integration programmes such as for chilli, pineapple, coconut, watermelon and bamboo.
  • RM855 million allocation under Federal Government Padi Fertilizer Scheme to boost padi yield

Civil servants

  • Civil servants’ emoluments to exceed RM82 billion
  • Civil servant pension will cost RM27.1 billion
  • Civil servants’ cost of living allowance or COLA to be raised by RM50 a month starting 2020 for support group, with an additional RM350 million a year
  • Civil servants will be allowed early redemption of accumulated leaves (gantian cuti rehat) for up to 75 days as replacement pay for those who have served at least 15 years
  • Govt announces RM500 special payment for civil servants Grade 56 and below. Govt retirees to get special payment of RM250, also extended to non-pensionable veterans
  • Govt to allocate RM330 million to the Property and Land Management Division under the Prime Ministers Department to repair and maintain the public service quarters. Meanwhile, RM150 million and RM250 million is set aside to repair and refurbish Malaysian Armed Forces family housing units (RKAT) and PDRM quarters.
  • Fire fighters to get a special allowance of RM200 a month, which will benefit 14,400 personnel under the Fire and Rescue Dept, amounting to RM35 mil.

Highway and tolls

  • The Cabinet has approved the proposed offer to acquire four highways in the Klang Valleyy – Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS), Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Sprint Expressway (SPRINT) and SMART Tunnel (SMART) to be funded via Government-guaranteed borrowings.
  • Citizens to enjoy average 18% discount on all PLUS highways
  • Effective Jan 1, 2020, toll rates for cars at the Second Penang Bridge will be reduced from RM8.50 to RM7.00.

Public transport

  • RM450 million proposed to acquire up to 500 electric buses for public transport in selected cities nationwide
  • Govt intends to proceed with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) between Johor Bahru and Singapore.
  • It will also invest RM85 million beginning 2020 to ease congestion at the Causeway and 2nd Link by enhancing vehicle and traffic flow through the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.

Fuel subsidy

  • Individuals owning not more than two cars and two motorcycles can get fuel subsidy for one vehicle. The qualifying criteria are:
    • A passenger car with 1,600cc engine capacity and below, or
    • Any car above 1,600cc must be more than 10 years old, or
    • A qualified motorcycle must be 150cc and below, or
    • Any motorcycles above 150cc must be more than 7 years old.

 

  • From January 2020, the targeted fuel subsidy or PSP will be launched in Peninsular Malaysia with two eligible categories as follows:
    • For eligible recipients of the BSH, the petrol subsidy receivable will be RM30 per month for car owners and RM12 per month for motorcycle owners. This subsidy will be in the form of cash transfer, deposited into the recipient’s bank account every 4 months. The first payment will be made in April 2020 for the period January to April 2020; and
    • For all other motorists who are not BSH recipients, they will receive a special Kad95 which allows them to enjoy the fuel subsidy at a discount of 30 sen per litre limited to 100 litres per month for cars or 40 litres per month for motorcycles when purchasing RON95 at the petrol station. The Kad95 will be implemented progressively during the first quarter of 2020.

Taxes

  • Govt will merge Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Customs Appeal Tribunal into the Tax Appeal Tribunal, to be operational in 2021. Through this, taxpayers unhappy with the decision of IRB director-general or the Customs D-G can appeal
  • Govt proposes that a new band for taxable income in excess of RM2 million be introduced and taxed at 30%, up 2 percentage point from the current 28%. This will affect approximately 2,000 top income earners in the country.
  • Govt has repaid GST refunds amounting to RM15.9b to more than 78,000 companies, and income tax refunds of RM13.6b to 448,000 companies and 184,000 taxpayers

Medical and Healthcare

  • To support local medical device industry, government will introduce an initiative to encourage local producers to upgrade equipment and tools used in public clinics and hospitals, based on a minimum allocation of 30%.
  • RM227m to be set aside to upgrade medical equipment, and RM95m to renovate infrastructure and medical facilities, like in Hospital Pontian
  • RM1.6 billion to build new hospitals and upgrade existing ones. The hospital includes Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang, Hospital Kampar, Hospital Labuan and the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Sabah Heart Centre.
  • Govt to allocate RM60m for pneumococcal vaccination for all children
  • RM319m to build and upgrade health and dental clinics and quarters facilities; new clinics will be built in Setiu, Sg Petani, and Cameron Highlands, as well as Kudat and Tawau in Sabah, and Lon San and Sg Simunjan in Sarawak
  • Health Ministry to get RM30.6 billion allocation, compared to RM28.7 billion under Budget 2019

MySalam

  • MySalam to be expanded so that those with critical illnesses will get RM8,000 cash; those being treated in govt hospitals can also claim RM50 wage replacement a day for up to 14 days

Islamic finance

  • Islamic Economic Blueprint to be formulated to position Malaysia as centre of excellence for Islamic finance
  • Special Islamic Finance Committee to be set up to develop the Islamic finance ecosystem

FELDA

Property and housing

  • RPGT base year for asset purchase revised to Jan 1, 2013 for asset acquired before that date
  • To reduce supply overhang of condominiums and apartments amounting to RM8.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019, govt will lower the threshold on high rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 in 2020.
  • Govt to extend Youth Housing Scheme administered by Bank Simpanan Nasional from Jan 1, 2020 until Dec 31, 2021. The scheme also offers a 10% loan guarantee via Cagamas to enable borrowers to get full financing and RM200 monthly instalment assistance for the first two years, limited to 10,000 home units.
  • Public Sector Home Financing Board to offer free personal accident insurance for up to two years to new government housing loan borrowers
  • To help those who can’t come up with 10% deposit or get financing to buy homes, govt will collaborate with financial institutions to introduce the rent-to-own (RTO) financing scheme, where up to RM10 billion will be provided by the financial institutions, with the governnment supporting via a 30% or RM3 billion guarantee.
    • This RTO scheme is for purchase of first home up to RM500,000 property price.
    • Under this scheme, the applicant will rent the property for up to 5 years and after the first year, and the tenant will have the option to purchase the house based on the price fixed at the time the tenancy agreement is signed.

Gaming Industry

  • To curb illegal gambling, govt proposes a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM100,000 for illegal gamblers, along with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months.
    • For illegal operators, a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM1 million and a 12 month minimum mandatory jail sentence will be imposed.
  • To curb illegal gambling, govt proposes a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM100,000 for illegal gamblers, along with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months.
  • Starting 2020, total number of special draws for Numbers Forecast Operator (NFO) will be reduced from 11 to 8 times a year..

 

Employment

  • Hiring fresh graduates: Two-year pay incentives of RM500 a month. Hiring incentive of RM300 a month.
  • Incentives to get women into the workforce:
    • Two-year pay incentive of RM500 a month
    • Hiring incentive of RM300
    • Tax exemption for women returning to work will be extended until 2023.
  • Govt revises Employment Act, including increasing maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days from 2021
  • Govt proposes to raise minimum wage in urban areas to RM1,200 a month in 2020
  • Govt to launch Malaysians @ Work initiative aimed at creating better employment opportunities for youth and women, reducing over-dependence on low-skilled foreign workers
  • Malaysians who replace foreign workers will get a monthly wage incentive of RM350/RM500 for two years, depending on the sector. Employers will get a monthly incentive of RM250 a month throughout the same period.

Tourism

  • RM25 million allocated to Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council to strengthen Malaysia’s position as the preferred destination for medical tourism in Asean for oncology, cardiology and fertility treatments.
  • Govt to contribute RM100 million towards construction of new cable car system to Penang Hill
  • RM1.1 billion allocated to Ministry of Tourism and Culture, of which RM90 million is specifically for VMY2020 promotion and programmes

Sabah and Sarawak

  • Govt plans to double special alowance for Sabah to RM53.4m and Sarawak to RM32m; this to be doubled further to 106.8m for Sabah and RM64m for Sarawak in five years
  • RM587 million allocation for rural water projects, of which RM470 million will be for Sabah and Sarawak
  • RM500 million for rural electrification benefiting more than 30,000 rural households, majority in Sabah and Sarawak

Aid and subsidies

  1. Govt to spend RM24.2 billion on subsidies and social assistance
  2. RM100 million grant proposed for Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA) of which 80% will be programme-based
  3. RM57 million provided to Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA), in addition to RM83 million allocation for the community’s economic development, education and infrastructure.
  4. RM575 million proposed for socio-economic assistance to senior citizens benefiting 137,000 seniors whose household income is below poverty level
  5. RM25 million allocated to manage, administer and expand food bank programme
  6. Allocation for subsidies and social assistance increased to RM24.2 billion, including welfare aid such as Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). BSH scheme expanded to cover 1.1 million single individuals aged above 40 earning less than RM2,000 per month.

Rural development

  • RM10.9 billion allocated for rural development projects in 2020, from RM9.7 billion in 2019
  • RM738 million provided for Risda and Felcra to implement income generating programme
  • RM1 billion set aside for rural roads throughout Malaysia, primarily targeted at Sabah and Sarawak

Education and training

  • Allowance for KAFA teachers increased by RM100 a month, to benefit 33,200 existing teachers
  • RM735 million proposed for school maintenance and upgrading works
  • Government allocates RM210m to expedite digital infrastructure establishment in public buildings like schools
  • Education Ministry to receive largest allocation of  of RM64.1 billion in 2020 from RM60.2 billion in 2019
  • Allocation for TVET programmes raised from RM5.7 billion in 2019 to RM5.9 billion in 2020
  • RM1.3 billion proposed for education institutions under MARA, a further RM2 billion for student loans benefitting 50,000 students

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Malaysia’s Budget 2019: Making the tiger roar again in 3 years

Malaysia economic outlook looking better on firmer ties with China, says Manulife


KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 1): The economic outlook in Malaysia is looking to be better as the strengthening relationship with China is expected to pave way for rising investment flows from China to Malaysia, according to Manulife Asset Management Services Bhd.

In its mid-year market outlook report today, Manulife Asset Management Services head of total solutions and equities investments Tock Chin Hui said the revival of major infrastructure projects is expected to pump-prime the economy for the second half of the year.

“Malaysia corporates and consumers are expected to spend more due to the progressive disbursements of tax refunds and the resumption of infrastructure projects, which will eventually drive domestic consumption, and investor sentiment is expected to improve as the government continues to embark on structural changes to overhaul the economy and future-proof it.

“Looking ahead, Malaysian equities offer attractive dividend yield and significant defensiveness amid uncertainty caused by trade tension. The Malaysian market is expected to show resilience and could outperform regional peers given its defensive trait and year-to-date laggard performance,” said Tock.

Commenting on the region, Manulife said Asian assets could offer opportunities given their resilience to market volatility in the first half of 2019.

It said Asian equities have held up strongly despite the negative impact of escalating Sino-US trade tensions, and the US Federal Reserve’s increasingly dovish stance has allowed Asian bonds to remain in a good position.

Manulife Investment Management chief economist and head of macroeconomic strategy Frances Donald said central banks have entered a global easing cycle in response to the deteriorating global growth activity and heightened uncertainty surrounding international trade policy.

“This uncertainty has created a confidence shock that is slowing global hiring and business investment along with global trade.

“We expect the Federal Reserve will cut rates at least twice in 2019 as insurance against deteriorating growth in the face of heightened uncertainty but also to stoke inflationary pressures which have been absent.

“Should trade tensions re-escalate in the second half of the year, we would expect the Federal Reserve to respond with more than two rate cuts,” said Donald.

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