Tengku Zafrul: Sudden imposition of windfall tax may scare investors

pic by BERNAMA

IMPLEMENTING a windfall tax to companies who are making an extraordinary profit from the Covid-19 pandemic could impose a negative perception on potential investors, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He added that the government needs to be cautious in implementing the tax on other sectors in addition to the existing levy on the palm oil sector.

“To ensure Malaysia’s recovery plan is successful to help us get out of the pandemic, the government will safeguard the financial assistance for the people and businesses by optimising the expenditure and debt.

“For windfall tax, at this point, it is imposed on commodity products such as palm oil based on the threshold of monthly prices.

“Any new introduction of windfall tax should be reviewed carefully as it could impose negative perceptions on investors who may see it as the government is taking advantage of their profits,” he told Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He added Malaysia may lose potential investments should businesses are closing their doors on investing in Malaysia or opt to move out of the country.

Tengku Zafrul, who is also the coordinating minister to the National Recovery Plan, was responding to Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s remark on the excessive profit made by certain companies as a result of the pandemic.

Syed Saadiq said the government should not hesitate in imposing such measures given the dire state of Malaysia’s poverty rates, which have doubled while more than one million people have been jobless since the pandemic began and 500,000 more expected to be in the next three months.

The Muar MP also pointed out that while the 50 richest people in Malaysia have seen their fortune increased by 14%, the average Malaysian salary has dipped by 17%.

Meanwhile, responding to MPs from Sabah on questions related to vaccine supply for the state, Tengku Zafrul said the single-dose vaccines CanSino and Johnson & Johnson will be distributed to Sabah to expedite and facilitate its vaccination programme.

“The federal government has decided to support the Sabah government’s effort in supplying a single-dose vaccine to raise the vaccination rate.

“It is supposed to be revealed by National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar tomorrow, but the vaccines that will be supplied are CanSino and Johnson & Johnson,” he said.

Previously, Khairy Jamaluddin said Sabah would be among the first states to receive the single-dose CanSino vaccine when three million doses of the vaccine arrive in Malaysia in August.

The distribution of single-dose vaccines for states with rural areas will help tackle the logistic and communication issues as the residents do not have to travel twice to get the vaccines.

By the end of the month, Sabah is expected to receive more than one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine with close to 900,000 doses having been received.