Themed “Building the Economy Together”, the Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA) was launched to bolster the earlier announced PRIHATIN package. Of the 40 initiatives introduced, there are seven benefits that ordinary Malaysians can enjoy.
This article was translated from 7 faedah utama Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA) yang boleh dinikmati rakyat by Mursh Matsom.
According to forecasts released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April 2020, the world economy is expected to grow at a rate of -3%. Also, according to a statement from the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the unemployment rate in Malaysia was 3.9% in March 2020 and is expected to increase to 5.5% for the whole of 2020.
To reduce the impact of COVID-19 and the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO), the government has introduced stimulus packages such as Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) through the People’s Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) and the Additional PRIHATIN SME Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN SME+). The funds totalled RM260 billion.
In addition to these packages, Finance Minister Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz has introduced the PENJANA-Short-term Economic Recovery Plan. The plan was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on June 5, 2020.
PENJANA has 3 main objectives: Empower People, Propel Businesses and Stimulate the Economy. There are 40 initiatives worth RM35 billion under PENJANA. Here are seven benefits from these initiatives that ordinary Malaysians can enjoy.
1. Rebuilding the real estate market
Home Ownership Campaign (HOC)
The real estate market is reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and the MCO. To revitalise the country’s real estate industry, the government has re-introduced the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC).
Exemption of stamp duty
Through this campaign, stamp duty exemption will be provided on the instruments of transfer and loan agreements for the purchase of residential property worth between RM300,000 and RM2.5 million.
Besides, the stamp duty exemption on instrumentation is limited to the first RM1 million of home value. This exemption will apply to sale and purchase agreements signed from 1st June 2020 to 31st May 2021, subject to the developer giving a minimum 10% discount.
Real Property Gains Tax Exemption (RPGT)
Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) exemptions will also be granted to individuals for the disposal of residential homes from 1st June 2020 to 31st December 2021. This exemption is limited to the disposal of three residential homes per individual.
Besides, the current 70% margin of financing limit for the third housing loan onwards for properties valued at RM600,000 and above will be lifted during the HOC campaign, subject to internal risk management practices of financial institutions.
According to a statement issued by the Association of Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) president Datuk Ir Soam Heng Choon to local media, the initiatives introduced will help ease the burden of owning a home. This, in turn, will revitalise the country’s economy and real estate industry.
2. MY30 programme
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, the number of Electric Train Services (ETS) passengers in 2016 were almost 3.6 million. The figure increased to 4.1 million passengers in 2017, suggesting the necessity of public transportation.
In a bid to ease the burden of transportation costs, the government will introduce a programme called MY30 where the public only pays RM30 a month to enjoy unlimited travel passes for public transportation under the purview of Prasarana in the Klang Valley. This initiative under PENJANA is open to all citizens and will take effect from June 15 until the end of 2020.
3. ePenjana programme
Cashless payment options continue to be popular, especially in big cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru. To encourage more Malaysians to use contactless payment systems, the government will credit RM50 to e-wallet users. RM750 million has been allocated for this programme. The initiative will also be complemented by additional RM50 discount vouchers and cashback from e-wallet service companies. This programme will commence in July 2020.
4. Free internet service
Since adapting to new norms such as online learning and working from home as a result of COVID-19 and the MCO, internet access has become a necessity for every household.
Through PENJANA, the government in collaboration with telecommunication companies will provide 1GB free internet data to their respective customers from 8 am to 6 pm daily to access educational websites and video conferencing applications.
This free internet service will be available until December 31, 2020. Moreover, all users will be able to browse government websites as well as COVID-19 government applications, particularly MySejahtera, for free.
5. Single mothers and the disabled (OKU)
The government is also concerned about the welfare of target groups such as the disabled (OKU) and single mothers. Over 300,000 disabled people and single mothers listed under the Department of Social Welfare are eligible for a RM300 one-off assistance to reduce their burden. This assistance will be provided before Hari Raya Aidiladha.
6. Reskilling and upskilling programmes
AirAsia has recently laid off 111 cabin crew, 172 pilots, and 50 engineers to reduce operating costs following COVID-19 and the MCO. Other sectors may face similar circumstances. The government has allocated RM2 billion for skills development programmes for youths and the unemployed. This programme aims to provide new skills that meet the demands of job markets and industries.
Various programmes for youths will be introduced through PENJANA such as:
- training and placement programme
- short-term courses in selected institutions
- training subsidies
As for the unemployed, the government will implement upskilling programmes in industries such as electrical and electronics as well as information and communication technologies, and promote the continuation of studies through short courses and training subsidies.
7. Reforming the country’s automotive industry
Through PENJANA, the government will provide a 100% sales tax exemption on the sale of locally assembled cars (Completely Knocked Down or CKD models) and 50% on imported cars (Completely Built-Up or CBU models) from 15th June 2020 to 31st December 2020. This indirectly helps the people to own cars at lower prices.
Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) President Datuk Aishah Ahmad told local media, she expects CKD car prices to drop by almost 10% and CBU models by almost 5% based on sales tax figures that manufacturers need to put aside.
The Prime Minister used the analogy of Makcik Kiah, Kak Radziah, and Datuk Lim to illustrate the kind of cash aid an average Malaysian stands to receive from the government. Whatever narrative used by the Prime Minister, it is important for us Malaysians to understand that the government is continuously serving the people to the best of their ability.
Edited by Rebecca Hani Romeli