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IN ensuring that businesses remain resilient amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has done very well with the implementation of economic stimulus and assistance packages.
They are closely monitoring the economic dynamics regionally and internationally.
A review is also being undertaken on the investment tax incentive framework, ensuring that tax incentives offered to investors remain relevant and in line with the current business landscape.
Advocating ESG policies
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors have become increasingly important in investors’ decision-making process.
In recognising this, the 12th Malaysia plan (12MP) has incorporated “Advancing Green Growth” as one of the transformative approaches.
This approach aims to accelerate a nationwide shift to exercise sustainable economic practices and lifestyles that value natural endowments and environment.
We know that Malaysia offers a range of green incentives to promote the adoption of green practices in businesses.
An additional area to be considered in Budget 2022 is electronic waste (e-waste).
E-waste as it stands, is the world’s fastest growing domestic waste stream, particularly as the world progresses into the digital economy. Currently, various countries have introduced initiatives to reduce e-waste.
For example, China’s e-waste treatment fee imposed on producers and importers of electronic products, and California’s e-waste recycling fee on the retail sale and lease of electronic products.
Based on the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 Report by the United Nations University, Malaysia generates approximately 280,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. This is expected to grow at an average rate of 14% per year.
Out of this 280,000 tonnes, only 25% is recycled. This brings to head the need to develop strong policy measures to ensure that we play our part in upholding our sustainability priorities.
While a “stick” approach by introducing a waste treatment fee may be adopted, the “carrot” approach by introducing incentives for producers that has achieved a certain “recycled target” based on their percentage of annual sales, may be considered.
Additionally, the current green incentives which will expire in 2023 should be evaluated and extended to effectively encourage the recycling of e-waste.
Another “carrot” that can be put forward is to have expenditure incurred by businesses in complying with the ESG standards such as professional fees for the preparation of the sustainability report should be accorded full tax deduction. Compliance with tax laws is an important component of the overall tax governance framework of a business.
Therefore, equal treatment should be accorded to professional fees incurred for tax compliance services such as tax returns preparation and transfer pricing documentation.