Malaysia’s Personal Finance Roundup 2018

|Posted by | Banking & Finance

2018 is coming to an end, paving the way for 2019. It will be the start of a new year under a new ruling government, and a 2019 Budget that is quite different from before. What has happened this year for Malaysia, and what is to come?

In last year’s Malaysia personal finance roundup, we detailed what to expect for 2018. To refresh everyone’s memories, you can read the article here, or just check out the list below.

  • BR1M had RM6.8 billion allocated for its 7 million recipients
  • Various government aids to be given, such as the children savings aid
  • Malaysia moving towards a cashless society

What’s happened with Personal Finance scene in Malaysia for 2018?

It has been quite a rollercoaster of a year. The General Election, the tax holiday, and the rise of a cashless society. There have been many changes and we can only expect more as we move into 2019.

The Tax-Holiday of 2018

Following the change of government after the general elections in May, a tax-holiday was introduced. It was the start of the abolishment of the much-victimised Goods and Services Tax (GST). The tax-holiday began in June and went on until the end of August, for a total of three months.

Being tax free for three months saw an increase in sales as most of us took advantage of the situation to enjoy goods at lower prices. Cars, especially, saw the large jump in sales. Almost 199,000 units were sold during the three months. (Some are still waiting on their booking!).

The Reintroduction of SST

The Sales and Service Tax (SST), was reintroduced into Malaysia on 1st September 2018, following the abolishment of GST. It was originally replaced with GST in the previous administration. It is now reinstated as per the current government’s manifesto.

Implementation of SST saw an increased number of tax-exempted goods; ten times more compared to GST. Medicines and pharmaceutical products, including personal hygiene products have no sales tax imposed. Taxes on certain items, on the other hand, are increased to 10%, including household electrical appliances, tissue, and cars.

Credit cards now have a levy of RM25 per credit card under the Service Tax.

Moving to a Cashless Society

E-Wallets for Everyone

2018 saw the rise of e-wallets. Seemingly every company is putting out its own e-wallet, such as Razer Pay, Boost, and GrabPay. These e-wallets can be linked to credit cards, debit cards, and even standalone (needing top-ups). Many retailers are becoming more accepting of e-wallets too, making payments safer and more convenient daily.

Touch ‘n Go RFID

Malaysia’s widely used electronic payment system has been the payment medium for our highway tolls and public transports for quite a while now. While they are making TnG cards more accessible to people for uses outside of transportation (shopping and payments), they have also launched the pilot phases for their RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) programme this year.

TnG RFID will launch in January 2019 and is currently in its pilot-testing phases. The programme aims to increase our toll efficiency and reduce traffic congestion.

They have also launched a testing phase that enables users to link their Touch ‘n Go cards to their Touch ‘n Go e-wallets directly. This means that users will be able to pay and reload their Touch ‘n Go cards without doing so at a kiosk.

Making Houses Accessible

Launching not too long ago, is FundMyHome. It’s a property purchasing scheme that aims to make housing more accessible and affordable to people. The scheme uses a peer-to-peer financing model to help people purchase their homes.

How it works is that a home-buyer must simply pay 20% (upfront) of a property’s current value and pay nothing else for the next 5 years. The remaining 80% is paid by investors aiming to make profits in the future.

After the 5 years, the home-buyer can decide to either sell the property (profiting both themselves and investors if the value appreciates) or purchase the remaining 80% at the current property value.

Cheaper Internet for Malaysia

In the past months, there has been a reduction of internet prices (or increase in speed and quota at the same prices for better value). This follows the introduction of the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing by MCMC. New plans with higher internet speeds at lower prices are available, and existing internet subscribers can either switch to the new plans or enjoy upgraded speeds such as unifi Turbo.

Read more about the current broadband internet plans here: Malaysia Broadband Plans: Latest Prices For Maxis, Unifi, and Streamyx

Budget 2019

Malaysia’s 2019 Budget is tabled by the new government, a first in several decades. There will be changes that affect the people in the coming year. Among some of the newer changes coming are the introduction of new taxes, such as the soda tax starting 1 April 2019 on drinks with sugar content, the departure levy when leaving the country, as well as digital tax on digital services (only implemented 1 January 2020).

You can read more about the Budget 2019 in the articles below:

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