Newspaper coverage on 28th October 2017, following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Budget 2018 annoucement. [BERNAMA]

KUALA LUMPUR: PricewaterhouseCoopers Malaysia said the Budget 2018 is focused on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of addressing the increase in cost of living as well as progressing towards a high-income economy.

(PwC) Malaysia tax leader Jagdev Singh said many of the measures announced are focused on the man on the street, addressing issues of the B40 and M40 groups, civil servants, and women in the workforce.

“There are no significant measures that impact corporates directly as tax rates remain the same, while the existing incentives are maintained,” he said in a statement.

Jagdev said the Budget 2018 delivered timely in reference to the reduction in personal tax rates, up to RM1,000, which would will benefit a large number of taxpayers.

He also said a reduction in corporate taxes was not expected, given the focus on reducing the budget deficit.

“However, I had hoped that targeted measures based on productivity increases, and investment in R&D would be introduced, and this was visibly missing in Budget 2018,” he said.

He noted the government plays a crucial role in shaping public perception on home ownership, following its initiative to promote rental properties that mirrors the situation in many developed countries.

However, he said a central government agency should focus on the three key aspects of home ownership including supply, demand and social aspects.

On another note, Jagdev said cash handouts remain to be the best way in providing immediate relief to the B40 group, and Budget 2018 continues what was started in 2012.

“While there may appear to be a long list of different cash handouts, this is necessary as the requirements of the different target audience are unique and difficult to address singularly,” he added.

Previously, the concept of TN50 announced in the last budget has been developed further in Budget 2018, with the focus on education is certainly appropriate as we move towards a digital environment.

“As we progress, technical and vocational education training would be a very important element to develop the right skill sets to differentiate us from our neighbours,” he said.

He said this year’s budget provides more details on budget allocation focused on infrastructure development, particularly on the Digital Free Trade Zone.

“This is an important building block to attract key global players in choosing Malaysia as the digital hub for their operations.

“The next step would be to develop a set of tailored incentives which meets the requirements of the individual investors,” he added.

He said the Budget 2018 provides a framework for shaping the workforce of the future, and hopes in the long run measures; it would focus on increasing its competitiveness in the new economy.

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