Budget 2019 is still the talk of the town. You may read the 2019 Budget Speech for more details on where the country is heading, but be warned: it’s almost a hundred pages long!
With so many initiatives and taxes being tabled, we thought it would be apt to list out the top 10 key things that Malaysian consumers would be most interested to know about Budget 2019.
You may want to watch out for these new initiatives and taxes in the coming year:
1. Unlimited 30-day Rapid travel pass for Malaysians
Commuting in the city has never been this cheap! According to Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Malaysians will soon get to enjoy a 30-day unlimited Rapid bus and rail pass beginning January 1, 2019. The new travel scheme will be executed through the Touch n’ Go function that is available on MyKad and MyTentera identification cards, as reported on The Star.
The 30-day unlimited pass is available in two versions:
- The RM100 pass – can be used on all Rapid Rail services, including LRT, MRT, Monorail, the Sunway BRT service as well as all Rapid buses, including the MRT feeder buses.
- The RM50 pass – applies only for unlimited travel on all Rapid bus services in the Klang Valley.
How to get the pass: You can subscribe for the pass at all LRT and MRT stations or the four bus hubs at Shah Alam, Greenwood (Gombak), Sri Nilam (Ampang) and Terminal Kajang. Reloading of the passes can be done at any place with Touch n’ Go reloading facilities such as the Touch n’ Go kiosks, petrol stations, or ATMs.
Pass registration: Go to any of the places mentioned above in December to register.
2. Cash handouts under the Cost of Living Aid (BSH)
According to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, cash aids will be distributed to households earning less than RM2,000 to RM4,000 a month under the Cost of Living Aid (BSH) scheme. Unfortunately for singles, you’ll no longer be receiving cash handouts under BSH.
Here’s how much the cash handouts will be for each household:
|Household Monthly Income||BSH 2019 Amount|
|RM2,000 – RM3,000||RM750|
|RM3,000 – RM4,000||RM500|
For every household with children under 18, you’ll receive an additional RM120 per child (up to four children). There’s no age limit for disabled children, according to MalaysiaKini.
The BSH payout will no longer be paid out in cash next year, but instead via Special Smart Cards. Based on the report by NST Online, the ministry is fine-tuning the details of the smart card mechanism before it is rolled out next year.
“We want the incentive to be used properly to buy household essentials,” said Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister, Datuk Salahuddin Ayub in the report.
How to check or update your BSH application:
- Check your status on the BSH Official Website;
- Download the Semakan Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat app on Play Store;
- Call the LHDNM line at 1-800-88-2716;
- Call the MoF line at: 03-8882 4565 / 4566; or
- Visit the nearest LHDNM
3. Petrol subsidies for vehicle and motorcycle owners
For owners of vehicles with engine capacities up to 1,500cc and motorcycles with an engine capacity of 125cc and below, the Finance Minister said, “The government will provide a RON95 petrol subsidy of 30 sen per litre for up to 100 litres a month for cars and up to 40 litres a month for motorcycles.” The subsidies will take effect on the second quarter of 2019.
However, Malaysians who own luxury cars with 1,500cc engines and below will not enjoy the RON95 petrol subsidy of 30 sen per litre, according to NST Online.
The same report also mentioned that with this new ruling, cars that will no longer be eligible for petrol subsidies will include:
- Some Proton cars: Proton Exora (1600cc), Proton Preve (1600cc), Proton Suprima (1600cc), and Proton X70 (1800cc), based on engine capacity.
- Luxury cars: that have 1,500cc engines and below include the BMW 3 Series 318i Luxury, Audi A4 1.4 TFSI and the new Mercedes-Benz C200.
4. All toll hikes in the city to be frozen and tolls for motorcyclists will be abolished
Starting in 2019, toll hikes on all highways in the city will be frozen. The government will also abolish the motorcycle toll on both bridges connecting Penang and the mainland, as well as the Second Link Expressway in Johor.
5. Standardised prices of consumer goods
Ever since the sales and services tax (SST) took effect last September, consumers have been raising their concern and confusion over the prices of consumer goods.
According to the Finance Minister, the government has allocated RM150 million to stabilise the supply of goods and standardise their prices, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. The goods included wheat flour, refined sugar and cooking oil in the 1kg pack.
Consumers are also encouraged to help the government monitor the prices of goods so that unlawful pricing practices can be stopped. You may download the ‘Price Catcher’ app on App Store or Play Store to monitor the prices.
The app is basically a tool for you to check the daily prices of all the basic grocery items (over 446 items) at all stores and markets in all areas in Malaysia. Through the app, you can also find better product deals that will reduce your spending and the cost of living.
6. Aid for first-time home buyers
According to experts, aspiring homeowners are the biggest winner when Budget 2019 was tabled. First-time home buyers can look forward to the fund set up by Bank Negara Malaysia to help them purchase affordable homes priced up to RM150,000.
NST Online reported that the funds will be made available at AmBank, CIMB Bank, Maybank, RHB Bank, and Bank Simpanan Nasional at a rate of 3.5%, starting from January 1, 2019. The fund aims to reduce the amount of monthly instalments financing by home-based borrowers, and it will be available for two years or until the allocation is spent.
For first-time home buyers who are purchasing properties worth up to RM500,000, they will receive a grant stamp duty exemption of up to the first RM300,000 on transfer instruments and loan agreements for two years until December 2020.
7. Departure levy on travellers leaving Malaysian airports
Avid travellers, you may have to pay extra when you travel abroad next year. According to The Star, the departure levy on travellers leaving Malaysian airports will be introduced on June 1, 2019. A fee of RM20 per person for those departing for Asean countries and RM40 for other countries is to be expected.
8. International online services like Netflix, Spotify, and Steam will be taxed
Enjoy your online movies and music, and buy as much video games as you can because international online streaming services like Netflix, Spotify, and Steam will be taxed in the near future. The government has yet to reveal how the tax will be implemented and how it will be levied, but they will definitely cost slightly more beginning January 1, 2020.
9. Imported services like graphic design will also be taxed
For those who regularly seek imported services from foreign suppliers, such as graphic design, architectural services, engineering design, or information technology services, a service tax will be imposed starting from January 1, 2019.
10. New tax on sugary drinks
In a bid to curb the rising obesity crisis among Malaysians, the government will impose an excise tax of 40 sen per litre on sugary drinks starting April 1 2019. The tax applies to beverages that contain sugar exceeding 5 grams per 100 millilitres, as well as juices that contain more than 12 grams per 100 millilitres.
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