Finance Ministry says looking at options to raise revenue, reduce leakage

Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah said the MOF recently formed a multi-agency task force to look at the leakage arising from the sale of illicit cigarettes and liquor. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah said the MOF recently formed a multi-agency task force to look at the leakage arising from the sale of illicit cigarettes and liquor. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — The Ministry of Finance (MOF) says it is looking at the options available in a bid to increase the country’s revenue and reduce leakage.

Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah said the MOF recently formed a multi-agency task force to look at the leakage arising from the sale of illicit cigarettes and liquor.

“The government will table in Budget 2021 the findings and actions to be taken to reduce leakage,” he said in reply to a question from Dr. Lee Boon Chye (PH-Gopeng) at the Dewan Rakyat today on whether the government would consider imposing a windfall tax for industries that have made extraordinary profits amid the Covid-19 pandemic such as glove manufacturing.

“The government has not made a decision on whether it will impose the windfall tax in order to boost the nation’s revenue, but the present government has a broad-based policy and whatever is good from the previous government will be continued,” he said.

On a question on the current economic condition from Mohamad Sabu (PH-Kota Raja), he said foreign investors are becoming increasingly confident of the current administration following its success in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as its ability to safeguard the well-being of people affected by the outbreak and to stimulate economic growth through the Prihatin and Penjana stimulus packages.

He said in the post-GE14 period from May 9, 2018 to February 29, 2020, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) fell 19.7 per cent to 1,482.64 on Feb 28, 2020 from 1,846.51 on May 8, 2018.

In the same period, market capitalisation dropped 15.1 per cent to RM1.5 trillion on Feb 28, 2020 versus RM1.87 trillion on May 8, 2018, he noted.

He said under the current administration, the FBK KLCI strengthened 5.5 per cent to 1,564.59 on August 14, 2020 from March 1.

Market capitalisation, meanwhile, rose 5.0 per cent to RM1.67 trillion on August 14 from RM1.59 trillion on Feb 28, 2020, he added.

“On March 9, 2020, more than a year after GE14, and due to the impact of Covid-19 and tumbling crude oil prices, the FBM KLCI plunged to 1,219.72, its lowest level in 11 years.

“However, the success of the present government in handling the Covid-19 impact in a holistic and effective way such as through the Prihatin and Penjana packages has boosted investor confidence, with the FBM KLCI recovering to 1,611.42 on July 29, 2020,” he added.

He said Bursa Malaysia has been one of the best-performing stock exchanges in the Asean region, noting that the factors that build investor confidence include the certainty about the nation’s revenue, market performance, economic growth and political stability. — Bernama

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