SST should burden the public less

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed list of taxable goods and services under the Sales and Service Tax regime released, should be less burdensome to the public than Goods and Services Tax (GST), thanks to exemptions for most of the food and essentials and retailers no longer charging the 6% for goods.

Among the goods and services that were subjected to GST but will be exempted from SST are, medical insurance, motorcycles below 250cc, infant formula milk, doctor’s consultation fee at private hospitals, sardine, theme park and cinema tickets, bank transaction fee, maintenance services and spectacles frame.

SST will only be charged on businesses that earn more than RM500,000 annually. The threshold for businesses under the GST was different for different industries.

According to K-Konsult Taxation Sdn Bhd managing partner Koong Lin Loong, this time around, food truck and hawkers, who earn more than RM500,000 annually, will charge a service tax of 6%. Under the GST regime, those in the food business need only charge the 6% rate if they earn more than RM3 million annually.

The Customs Department today uploaded multiple documents on the lists goods and services exempted from the tax along with frequently asked questions to explain its implementation.

According to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement today, only 38% of the goods and services in the basket of goods used for the Consumer Price Index will be taxed under the regime, compared with 60% under the GST.

The basket comprises of 552 items chosen based on the current patterns of consumer expenditure.

While the SST is expected to have an impact, it is expected to be half of that of the GST. Explaining this, Lim said the projected collection for the SST next year is RM21 billion whereas the GST would have raked in RM44 billion in 2018.

In that light, he said RM23 billion will be returned to the consumer market, taking away the tax burden from the people and easing the high cost of living. This, in turn, will spur economic growth by stimulating consumer demand and raising business optimism.

Earlier during the Minister’s Question Time, Lim admitted that the GST is a more transparent and efficient system for the government to collect taxes.

“If it is favourable to the government but burdens the people, then we are not a people’s government,” he added.

Scammers using Alibaba name on unsuspecting firms

PETALING JAYA: The name of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, which together with Malaysia, launched the world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Kuala Lumpur last year, has been used by scammers to fleece unsuspecting companies of tender deposit for a purported contract work.

According to a report in Nanyang Siang Pau today, the scammers have sent out a notice of contract work to construction companies via email, inviting them to take part in a tender for which they have to pay a deposit of RM7,000.

The contract work, according to the notice that bears the letterhead of Alibaba MDEC Consortium Sdn Bhd, includes the construction of “the proposed Malaysia Digital Economy Complex” at the KLIA Aeropolis in Sepang.

According to the daily, a check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia showed that Alibaba MDEC Consortium Sdn Bhd is not registered with the commission and no company by that name was located at the KPMG Tower at Dataran Bandar Utama Damansara in Petaling Jaya, which was listed as its address in the notice.

Attempts to contact the company through the fixed line number given on the notice were unsuccessful.

A man who answered Nanyang’s call to the handphone number listed on the notice and identified himself as the project manager hanged up when he realised that he was talking to a reporter.

The notice said companies bidding for the project should reply before 5pm on July 18 together with payment for tender deposit.

The report said MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation) has lodged a police report over the notice.

A notice on MDEC’s website said neither the corporation nor Alibaba Group has any relationship, affiliation or dealings with Alibaba MDEC Consortium Sdn Bhd.

Malacca govt to enact term limit for CM

MALACCA: The Malacca government will be enacting legislation to limit the tenure of chief ministers to a maximum of two-terms.

Malacca Chief Minister Adly Zahari said the state government was currently fine tuning the draft of the proposed legislation and hoped to table it in the State Assembly next month.

“If we can, it will be tabled in August, if not, at the next assembly sitting. It is not a problem for us (limiting the tenure of the chief minister,” he told a press conference on the sidelines of the State Assembly sitting here today.

He said that if it was passed, it would apply to whichever party was in power.

He added that the state government also hoped to enact the setting up of the Malacca Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Melcat) Committee at next month’s sitting of the assembly.

“There are other proposed enactments on the cards which we will announce from time to time,” he said, adding that the new Pakatan Harapan government in Malacca was serious about chief ministers not staying on too long and the culture of efficiency, accountability and integrity. — Bernama

Impartiality and parliamentary democracy on show as Speakers walk the talk

KUALA LUMPUR: The new parliament under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government seems to be sticking to its promise of impartiality and parliamentary democracy, with two major decisions made by the speakers in as many days.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof had on Wednesday ejected DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh for refusing to retract his use of the word “samseng” (gangster) when describing the conduct of some Umno Youth members.

Yesterday, deputy speaker Nga Kor Ming, who was leading the House, made another decision in favour of the opposition when he gave its leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi the benefit of the doubt over the latter’s use of the word “munafik” (hypocritical).

Ahmad Zahid had, in his motion of thanks on the royal address, explained that munafik are those who ‘do not keep to their promises and tell lies when speaking’ when commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s admission that the government’s “10 promises in 100 days” was not feasible.

This led to R.S.N. Rayer (BN-Jelutong) to demand the speaker to use his power and ask that Ahmad Zahid retract his statement.

Upon being demanded to provide his explanation before any ruling was made, Ahmad Zahid explained that he was not specifically referring to anyone and that it was merely an advice in general.

Rayer was however not impressed with the explanation, arguing that Ahmad Zahid had clearly made reference to Mahathir.

In reply, Nga said: “I’ve heard his explanation, and he has said his statement was in general. As such, his statement shall not be deemed as prejudice.”

Ahmad Zahid also commended Nga for his stand, saying: “This is an example of a good and fair speaker.”

Meanwhile, when met by reporters later at the Parliament lobby, Nga said he was informed that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would hold his Cabinet meetings on Fridays whenever parliament is in session to make way for ministers to attend the proceedings.

Cabinet meetings are traditionally held on Wednesdays.

The government came under heavy criticism after it was revealed that almost all its ministers and deputies had left the Dewan Rakyat for the Cabinet meeting when Ahmad Zahid was to give his speech.

New minimum wage in two months: Kulasegaran

KUALA LUMPUR: The minimum wage in the country is expected to be increased within the next couple of months and will be implemented and standardised across the board for all Malaysians and foreign citizens.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said this was following the completion of the review on the 2016 Minimum Wages Order by the National Wages Consultative Council (NWCC).

“This recommendation (to increase minimum wage) will be tabled to the government in the near future. If there are no obstacles, this order will come into effect in a month or two,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Kulasegaran was asked to comment on the latest development of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) promise of standardising the monthly minimum wages of employees across the country and increasing them to RM1,500 within their first term as government.

“The implementation of the new minimum wage across the board will go on inline with our 10 promises in 100 days, to ensure the rakyat get equal rights on the aspect of salary, regardless of their states,” he said.

The current minimum wage is RM1,000 for those in the Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

It is however yet to be known what the new uniformed minimum wage would be.

Kulasegaran also explained that the minimum wage would be reviewed every two years, before finally peaking at the RM1,500 rate as promised by the end of their current term as government.

He said the review on the wages was made taking into account factors such as productivity growth rate, employers’ ability to pay the salaries and unemployment rate.

Kulasegaran added that there would not be discrimination on the minimum wage implementation against foreign workers in the spirit of human rights as enshrined in the International Labour Organisation Convention.

“The standardised wage is also to guarantee and protect job opportunities for the locals. If they are not (uninformed), then there will instances where employers would prefer taking foreigners as they could pay them at a lower rate,” he said.

The Ipoh Barat MP also acknowledged that the implementation of the new wages would incur increased costs to the private sector, as well as the government indirectly, especially for government contracts that are outsourced.

“In view of this, the government have studied the matter to ensure the implementation is done according to the rehabilitation of the country’s economy.

Warrants of arrest on two ex-1MDB executives

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has issued arrest warrants for two former executives of troubled state fund 1MDB.

The anti-graft body is seeking 1MDB’s ex-general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and former executive director Casey Tang Keng Chee, Bloomberg reported today, quoting an unnamed source.

Loo and Tang have not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Militant who planned to assassinate King and PM among 7 nabbed

KUALA LUMPUR: A 34-year-old jobless man who had threatened to assassinate the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad were among seven suspected militants arrested by the federal police counter-terrorism division (CTD) in four states since last week.

The suspect who is a Daesh supporter had also threatened to kill Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said today the man was held on Tuesday in Skudai, Johor for his involvement with militancy and for posting the threats on his Facebook page.

He said the suspect planned to pull off the assassinations as he claimed the King and the country’s leadership are “infidels who are not administrating the country in accordance to Islamic laws”.

Mohamad Fuzi said the seven people arrested comprised of four Malaysians including a woman and three Indonesian men.

He said a day earlier, a 42-year-old technician and a 24-year-old woman were held in Johor.

The woman had months earlier channelled RM4,000 to Muhammad Nasrullah Latif@Abu Gomez, a Syria-based Malaysian militant who was killed in battle in March this year.

Investigators found the technician had made threats to carry out bombings in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Phillippines after this year’s Hari Raya.

The man who posted the threats on his Facebook page was also found to be in constant contact with Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, a senior Malaysian Daesh militant who led the Southeast Asia Islamic State chapter and was the mastermind behind the Movida Club bombing in Puchong in June 2016.

Muhammad Wanndy was killed in an air raid in Syria in April last year.

In another arrest on July 12 in Petaling Jaya, Mohamad Fuzi said a 27-year-old Indonesian contract worker was caught with over 100 videos and 90 photos related to the Daesh found in his cell phone.

He said the suspect had promoted terrorism by posting the material on Facebook and had planned to join the Daesh in Syria.

Mohamad Fuzi said on the same day, a 26-year-old Indonesian businessman who had close ties with a Bandung-based Indonesian terror cell was arrested in Terengganu.

He said the man had undergone militant training in Bandung since 2015.
The suspect’s wife was also a Daesh supporter and the couple had planned to move to Syria with their children to join the terror group.

Two other arrests were that of a 42-year-old Indonesian and a 21-year-old Malaysian in Ipoh and Masai, Johor.

Both men who are factory workers had links with Indonesian and Syrian terror cells.

Mohamad Fuzi said all seven suspects are being held for terrorism under laws of the Penal Code and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

IGP: We have not arrested Jho Low yet

PETALING JAYA: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun has today refuted earlier reports claiming that Low Taek Jho has been arrested in China, saying police have yet to ascertain the exact location of the fugitive financier.

He said an Interpol Red Notice has already been sent out for the arrest of Jho Low to assist in investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

“We are not sure of his whereabouts currently. We don’t have information about him at the moment. We believed that he has travelled to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and China. But we are not sure of his exact location now,” he told reporters at a police function here today.

Mohamad Fuzi added that the police would seek help from the relevant country if they know about Low’s exact location.

“If we have his exact location, we will narrow it down and seek help from the relevant country. It is still an ongoing process,” he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he is unaware of reports that Low has been arrested in China.

“I am not aware of this, but I hope he is arrested and brought back to Malaysia,” he said when met by media at the Parliament session today.

On Wednesday (July 18), the Sarawak Report blog ran a story saying that a Hong Kong radio station, which it did not name, had reported Low had been captured in China, pending Dr Mahathir’s visit there next month.