Malaysia's middle-income group may get aid

Malaysia's middle-income group may get aid

KUALA LUMPUR - The 2014 Budget, which will be tabled in two weeks, may include a tax exemption for the middle-income group.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the tax exemption was among the measures being considered by the government to ease the burden of this group, amid the escalating cost of living. "This has not been confirmed yet, as it is under consideration, along with other things."But what has been confirmed is that there will be something for the middle-income group to be announced in the budget."

Speaking at the re-launch of Malaysian Association of Corporate Treasurers (MACT) here yesterday, Ahmad said it would be inappropriate for the middle-income group to receive incentives like 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M), hence, a tax exemption would be an ideal alternative.

However, he did not mention a tax category. "Tax exemption is nothing new. We have enforced a tax exemption on 29 items many years ago, and this has resulted in a gradual reduction in tax collection. "This helps the deserving group to spend money on other things to support their living costs."

On measures to help the lower-income group, especially after the fuel price hike, Ahmad said BR1M was just one of the many benefits given to the group to offset the impact.

He said that although the rationalisation of petrol and diesel subsidies implemented by the government had caused an increase of 0.3 per cent in the country's inflation rate to two per cent, the situation was under control.

Ahmad said the people could benefit from the subsidies on seven items that formed a bigger aid package.

"The bigger aid package for the middle-income group includes education aid, as well as the five to seven subsidised items like petrol, cooking oil, flour, sugar, cooking gas and rice. "All these items are worth more than the RM500 (S$195) one-off BR1M incentive."

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