SUPP Dudong chief proposes further improvements to Penjana package

Wong Ching Yong

KUCHING, June 7: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Dudong chief Wong Ching Yong opines the RM35 billion Penjana economic stimulus package could be improved further by the government for the benefit of the people, business community and the country as a whole.

Wong, who is also an accountant by profession noted the initiative encompasses six measures, namely Internet connectivity, remission of penalty on Sales and Service Tax, tax deduction on reduction or waiver of rental, exemption of Stamp Duty (SD), tourism tax exemption for the year 2020, and also on removal of red tape for loan applications for the tourism industry.

Firstly, he observed that the free one gigabyte capacity of Internet access by the government does not apply to the majority of the longhouses and kampung in the rural areas, especially in Dudong constituency, as they are without access to Wi-Fi.

“There are about 213 longhouses and also several kampung in Dudong constituency, where all the students of these longhouses and kampung will definitely not able to take any advantage of this incentive because some longhouses and kampung still do not have electricity supply.

“Without electricity supply and Wi-Fi services, how can the students in these longhouses and kampung enjoy the transition from traditional classroom learning to the new normal of distance learning?” he pointed out in a statement today.

Wong also highlighted that for the businesses community, the cash flow burden is still strenuous, although a 50 per cent remission of penalty due and payable from July 1 to September 30, 2020 will be granted, as the late payment penalties will be between 10 to 30 per cent of underpaid tax.

He suggested that the tax penalty for Sales and Services Tax be totally waived from July 1 to September 30, 2020.

“This includes the deduction on reduction or waiver of rental, which under the stimulus package, the tenants must be small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Rental is an expenditure for almost all businesses. It is hereby proposed that the deduction should be allowed fir the landlords whose tenants are not only SMEs but to any enterprise,” he proposed.

Concerning the exemption of SD, Wong pointed that there are there are conditions to qualify for SD exemption, namely, that residential properties must have a value between RM300,000 and RM2,500,000, and secondly, transactions must be completed between 1 June and 31 December 2020 and property developers must give a 10 per cent discount to the buyer.

“It is hereby suggested that SD exemption should also be given to sales and purchases of any value for old residential houses if the purchasers are buying a home for the first time,” he added.

On the same note, Wong also highlighted that under the tourism stimulus package, income tax is only deferred for another three months.

According to him, tourism is one of the hardest hit industries in any country affected by Covid-19 and the government should seriously consider exempting the tourism industry from paying income tax for the year of assessment 2020 .

“To further assist the tourism industry, a RM1 billion tourism financing facility will be made available to finance transformation initiatives for the SME in the tourism sector. This is an encouraging measure but the enterprises in the tourism industry have experienced huge difficulties to obtain approval for the funds.

“The government should ascertain reasons as to why many enterprises in the tourism industry failed to obtain the tourism financing facility. The red tape in the government causing hardship and anguish to applicants should be eliminated,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily