Good morning to all and welcome to the media conference.
The Malaysian Government is implementing and will implement various policies that will bring impact to SMEs. The ACCCIM SME Survey conducted this year therefore has focused on three important topics, i.e. (1) understanding and readiness of SMEs on implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST); (2) full implementation of Minimum Wages with effect from 1st January 2014 and its impact to the SMEs; and (3) the SME’s usage and concerns on e-Banking in response to the Bank Negara Malaysia’s decision to impose 50 sen levy on cheque with effect from 2nd January 2015.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
GST is a new taxation system for Malaysia which will not only affect the general consumers, but will also have adverse impact to the businesses as their cash flow will be affected along with the needs to reform their accounts and tax reporting system.
In fact, when the Government first announced the introduction of GST in 2005, ACCCIM has established a GST Task Force to study the concept, rate and impacts of GST to the various economic sectors, and had specially paid a courtesy visit to the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry to learn from their experience on problems encountered and remedial measures when GST was first introduced in Singapore. Members of the ACCCIM’s GST Task Force comprises of chartered accountants, professionals and experts from various sectors. In the past 10 years, ACCCIM has been closely following-up and monitoring the progress of announcement and implementation of GST, including actively participate at meetings and consultations with Government Ministries and Agencies such as the Ministry of Finance, Royal Malaysian Customs, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), SME Corp. Malaysia and etc. to discuss the various issues encountered so as to mitigate the impacts of GST implementation on businesses.
Despite the Government has deferred the implementation of GST for several times, over the years, ACCCIM and its 17 Constituent Chambers all around Malaysia have continuously organise GST awareness programmes among our members. ACCCIM support the Government’s measure for introducing the GST, however, we hope that the Government will keep the 6% GST rate for a period of at least 3 to 5 years; and allow for a two years grace period of learning and settling down, and should not take stern legal action and impose heavy penalties to businesses who have unintentionally make mistakes during these two years.
ACCCIM would like to once again urge all businesses who meet the threshold of RM 500,000 annual turnover to register with the Royal Malaysian Customs before the deadline of 31st December 2014. At the same time, businesses must ensure that they themselves and their staff understand the concept and operational model of GST, the impact on company’s financial accounts, and the correct format of statement submission before the actual implementation of GST on 1st April 2015.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Businesses and industries sectors have been hit by the impact of the Minimum Wages (MW) since its implementation last year. Although the Government has deferred the implementation of MW for foreign worker employed by SMEs to 1st January 2014 due to outcry from private sector, for the SMEs, the implementation of MW has added burden to their operation cost. In May 2014, ACCCIM has submitted another memorandum to the National Wages Consultative Council (NWCC) for review and consideration. We call upon the Government to remain the existing minimum wage rate, to re-define the “Minimum Wage”, to allow allowances such as overtime allowance, transport allowance to be included in the minimum wage, to practice Productivity-linked Wage System as to move up the value chain and enhance the competitiveness of the businesses/industry with the wage ties comparatively to the productivity; at the same time, in order for ACCCIM to effectively reflect the viewpoints of businesses and industries players, ACCCIM once again requested the Government to appoint ACCCIM representative to sit in the NWCC and related technical committees.
With the objective to promote the usage of e-banking services, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has announced the imposition of 50 sen levy on cheques of which will take effect from 2nd January 2015. This measure, when implemented, will adversely added cost burden to businesses especially those in the small towns and rural areas. ACCCIM had submitted numerous memoranda to Governor of BNM on this issue and have attended many meetings with officers of BNM to discuss and request the BNM to review the imposition of the 50 sen levy taking cognizance of the real and practical difficulties in so doing. ACCCIM is of the view that unless the BNM can ensure that the e-banking services may replace the conventional banking service entirely, and at the same time, it can offers a safe, secure, stable broadband and convenient service to businesses, then only it can consider imposing a 50 sen levy on cheque. Otherwise, it is not fair to the consumers, especially the SMEs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We will invite Mr. Koong Lin Loong to present the detail reports to you shortly. ACCCIM has conducted the SME surveys since 2008, and the results of these surveys have attracted the attention of the relevant Government Ministries and Agencies. We hope businesses will continue to participate in the surveys as well as activities to be organized by the ACCCIM so as to enhance the collective views and representation of ACCCIM when negotiating with the Government for a more business friendly policies and environment.
Lastly, I would like to express our appreciation to businesses who have participated in the survey, and members of the SMEs & HRD Committee led by Mr. Koong Lin Loong for their efforts in conducting this survey.