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BLOG: Malaysia’s Budget 2024: Economic Reshaping and Implications for APAC

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s Budget 2024, or Belanjawan MADANI Kedua, was recently unveiled with much anticipation, signaling a substantial shift in the nation’s economic policies and aspirations. This budget comes at a pivotal time, where the world is grappling with unprecedented challenges, and Malaysia is determined to make a comeback as an economic champion in the ASEAN region. Let’s take a closer look at the key highlights and the implications for both Malaysia’s economy and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

 

A Record Allocation

Budget 2024 is historic, as it represents the largest budget ever tabled in Malaysia’s history, with a staggering total allocation of RM393.8 billion. While the allocation for development expenditure appears lower than in the Revised Budget 2023, it is an expansionary budget, aimed at addressing pressing issues and improving the lives of the Malaysian people.

 

Key Focus Areas

The budget centers on three core areas: 

 

  1. Best Governance for Service Agility: Malaysia seeks to restructure its governance to ensure efficient and agile public services. This includes fiscal responsibility and measures to rationalize subsidies, which are among the highest in the world.

 

  1. Restructuring the Economy: To foster economic growth, the budget introduces structural changes to the tax system, including the introduction of a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and an increase in the Service Tax from 6% to 8%. The budget also aims to stimulate specific sectors such as green technology and global services.

 

  1. Improving People’s Living Standards: The budget introduces measures to ensure a fair wage compensation system and a more competitive labor market. This includes the Progressive Wage Model, which aims to enhance wages and skills in the Malaysian job market.

 

Tax System Changes

The budget introduces significant changes to the tax system:

 

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): CGT of 10% on unlisted shares will be imposed from March 1, 2024.
  • Service Tax: The Service Tax rate will increase from 6% to 8%, with exceptions for food and beverage as well as telecommunication services.
  • High-Value Goods Tax: Specific high-value items like jewelry and watches will be subject to a 5% to 10% tax.
  • Global Minimum Tax (GMT): Malaysia will implement the Global Minimum Tax under Pillar 2 of BEPS 2.0 in 2025.



Implications for Malaysia and the APAC Region

The structural adjustments within the budget underscore Malaysia’s steadfast dedication to fiscal responsibility and bolstering economic resilience. These strategic measures have been carefully crafted to enhance revenue generation, trim the deficit, and align Malaysia with international tax norms. The overarching objective of the budget is to maintain equilibrium by offering assistance to those requiring support while concurrently fine-tuning the nation’s fiscal stance.

 

The ramifications of Malaysia’s Budget 2024 ripple across borders, exerting a tangible influence on the broader Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in several significant ways:

 

Taxation Trends

Malaysia’s shift toward implementing a CGT and increasing the Service Tax may set a trend for other APAC countries considering similar tax reforms.

 

Economic Resilience 

By focusing on economic resilience and fiscal responsibility, Malaysia could become an example for other nations in the region, encouraging them to reevaluate their budget priorities.

 

Investment Climate 

The budget’s measures to stimulate specific sectors, such as green technology and global services, could attract international investments, positioning Malaysia as a more competitive destination for businesses.

 

Labor Market Model 

Malaysia’s introduction of the Progressive Wage Model may inspire other APAC countries to explore innovative approaches to improve the wage and skill landscape.

 

Conclusion 

Malaysia’s Budget 2024 is a pivotal economic document that outlines a path towards economic recovery and prosperity. Its impact is not limited to Malaysia alone; it can serve as a model for other APAC nations as they navigate their economic challenges. The budget signals Malaysia’s intent to shape a resilient and robust economy, which could have far-reaching implications for the entire region. As we move forward, all eyes will be on how these measures are implemented and their effects on Malaysia and the broader APAC economy.

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