Budget 2008 Highlights, NST Online

NST Online : 8 September 2007

Budget 2008 Highlights: General

BERNAMA

 

The following are the general Budget 2008 highlights:

  • The period for income tax refund is reduced from six months to between 14 to 30 days for e-filling application.
  • Registration of companies is now immediate, compared to three days previously.
  • The approval time for the Environmental Impact Assessment is reduced from three months to five weeks.
  • Effective Jan 1, 2008, private valuation will be allowed for purposes of assessment in stamp duty payment to expedite the transfer of property by enabling it to be executed pending the final valuation from the Valuation and Property Services Department.
  • Effective Jan 1, 2008, the Customs Department will merge 16 customs foms into four.
  • Immigration Department will shorten the processing period for the issuance of work permits for skilled workers from 14 to seven days effective Jan 1, 2008.
  • Immigration Department will introduce a new category of visa for business travellers, which validity period will be longer, effective Jan 1, 2008.
  • The process for obtaining professional visit passes for knowledge workers will be streamlined by enabling applications to be made in Malaysian embassies and consulates overseas, effective Jan 1, 2008.
  • Effective Jan 1, 2008, Indian and Chinese nationals can also apply for multiple entry visas (MEV) from international financial centres such as New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • * A Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board will be established under the Securities Commission to monitor auditors of public companies to ensure that the quality and reliability of audited financial statements are enhanced.
  • The Code of Corporate Governance is being amended to improve the quality of the Boards of public-listed companies (PLCs) and the amendment will be implemented from Oct 1, 2007.
  • A 50 per cent stamp duty exemption on documents of transfer will be given for the purchase of one house of not more than RM250,000 per unit.
  • RM6.5 billion is allocated for the agricultural sector. Among the programmes to be implemented include encouraging the cultivation of floriculture, herbs and spices.
  • RM236 million is provided for the biotechnology industry. Among the projects are the development of biodiversity research centre, biotechnology commercialisation centre and anti-cancer compound research.
  • To further promote MSC internationally, the government will host the World ICT Week in Kuala Lumpur in May 2008 as well as the World Congress on Informational Technology 2008 conference.
  • Several measures will be taken to enhance Cyberjaya’s attraction as a major Cyber City including the construction of an international school, affordable homes and increasing the security level in Cyberjaya.
  • RM858 million is allocated for the implementation of various programmes to further increase Malaysia’s attraction as a major tourist destination.
  • RM22 million is provided to increase homestay activities in 47 selected villages.
  • RM30 billion is allocated for the Education Ministry, including the implementation of the Education Development Blueprint.
  • RM500,000 will be provided to each cluster school for co-curriculum activities, training as well as educational equipment.
  • The annual fee for primary and secondary schools as well as the examination fee for Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia has been abolished effective 2008.
  • The Text Book Loan Scheme will be provided to all students, irrespective of their families’ income and with no restrictions on the number of eligible children, beginning the 2008 school session.
  • School students from families with a monthly income of RM1,000 and below will be provided with a free uniform for one co-curriculum activity requiring uniform.
  • Special education teachers will receive an increase in allowance from RM100 to RM250 per month.
  • Graduate substitute teachers will receive a raise in allowance from RM85 to RM 150 per day.
  • An allowance of RM60 per hour will be provided for degree holders and RM50 per hour for diploma holders teaching Chinese and Tamil languages in national primary schools.
  • Retired teachers will be recruited to train teachers and serve as substitute teachers.
  • Primary and secondary schools funded and well-managed by trust and charitable bodies will be given income tax exemption.
  • RM12 billion is provided for the implementation of various higher education projects and programmes to produce highly knowledgable and first class human capital as well as develop world-class higher institution.
  • The Public Service Department (PSD) will increase sponsorship for undergraduate students in local universities from 5,000 students to 10,000 annually, beginning 2008.
  • The cost of living allowance (COLA) for students in local higher learning institutions, including those attending preparatory and language courses, will be increased between 23 and 84 per cent effective the start of the first semester 2007 session.
  • COLA for PSD-sponsored students in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada will be increased by up to 97 per cent effective Sept 2007.
  • RM2 billion is allocated to various government training agencies to increase the number and quality of trained workers, in line with the needs of the labour market.
  • RM480 million is allocated for GiatMARA and Industrial Training Institute (ILP) training programmes, as well as skills training in the National Youth Training Institute.
  • RM550 million is allocated tp upgrade polytechnic and community colleges to enhance the capacity of training institution.
  • RM750 million is allocated for the construction of Advanced Technology Training Centre in Taiping and ILP in Marang.
  • The scope of the Human Resource Development Fund will be expanded to provide greater flexibility for employers to choose training and advanced education programmes for their staff.
  • The Human Resource Development Fund will be amended to allow employers to provide financial assistance to enable their employees to pursue Masters or Doctoral degrees, especially in new and high technology areas
  • For 2008, RM100 million will be allocated to train 50,000 workers under the Masterskills Training Programme, encompassing management skills and physical construction.
  • For 2008, RM230 million is allocation for the Science Fund, RM300 million for the Techno Fund and RM546 million for research institution.
  • The rate of royalty payment to researchers will be increased to 80 per cent and the balance to research institutions.
  • More Technology Licensing Offices will be established in research centres and public universities such as SIRIM and Universiti Sains Malaysia.
  • A Knowledge Workers Development Institute will be set up in Cyberjaya to support the development of the digital animation industry as well as increase local expertise in the area.
  • Import duty and sales tax exemptions will be given on broadband equipment and consumer access devices
  • Tax deduction will be given to employers on benefits in kind in the form of new computers and payment of broadband subscription fees for employees
  • RM381 million is allocated for the implementation of low-cost housing programmes, of which RM191 million is allocated for the Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Disewa while RM190 million is allocated for PPR Bersepadu.
  • The government will establish a fund to provide guarantees to banks to provide loans for those without fixed income such as farmers and small traders to finance the purchase of low and medium cost houses.
  • RM50 million is allocated to provide guarantees to Bank Simpanan Nasional and Bank Islam Berhad so that they could provide loans to those without fixed income, effective Jan 1 2008.
  • EPF contributors are allowed to make monthly withdrawals from the balance in Account 2 for the financing of one house, effective Jan 1 2008.
  • RM887 million has been allocated to build more quarters for civil servants nationwide in 2008.
  • RM12 billion will be expended over the next four years to improve the public transportation system in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
  • RM4 billion is allocated to implement several projects to improve the quality of life in Sabah.
  • RM4 billion is allocated for the implementation of development projects in Sarawak.
  • Individual tax relief of up to RM300 a year will be given on the purchases of sports and exercise equipment.
  • A RM2 billion bond will be issued by Bank Negara Malaysia to be subscribed by senior citizens aged 55 years and above, who do not have permanent jobs.
  • The disabled workers monthly allowance will be increased from RM200 to RM300.
  • A special assistance of RM300 a month will be provided for eligible persons taking care of the disabled, who are bed-ridden and patients suffering from chronic illness.
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