KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced that the RM1,000 Goods and Services Tax (GST) e-voucher by SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) was now open for application. He said the voucher was meant to be a simple, fast and effective way for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to purchase or upgrade GST-compliant accounting software. “All they need to do is to submit an online application for the e-voucher, which can be used to purchase software from participating vendors.
“I urge SMEs to come on board and take advantage of the assistance provided by the government to ensure a smooth transition in the implementation of the GST,” said Najib, who is also Finance Minister, at the opening of SME Annual Showcase (SMIDEX) 2014 here, Wednesday. The six per cent fixed rate GST, to be implemented on April 1, 2015, will replace the present sales and services tax with a rate of up to 16 per cent. While calling on all stakeholders, particularly businesses, to have a clear understanding of how to prepare for the GST, the prime minister said Malaysia too could learn from 160 countries which have gone through challenges in implementing and understanding this system.
“The government has allocated RM100 million (out of RM250 million) to conduct a nationwide awareness and training programme through various channels. “The remaining RM150 million has been allocated for the SMEs to update their accounting software,” Najib said. The prime minister also announced that SME Corp would work with the Securities Commission to establish the Malaysia Unlisted Trading Platform, which would facilitate financing opportunities for SMEs.
He said it was important for the government to promote growth and expansion of SMEs through the capital market as many have found it challenging to enter the official capital market due to various requirements and high listing cost. “To make it easier, last year the Securities Commission announced the establishment of the Malaysia Unlisted Market or MyULM, to provide both access to capital and the information to facilitate transactions,” Najib said. The prime minister also said the government was spending RM13 billion for SME development programmes this year compared with RM12 billion last year.
“These funds are not only from the government but the private sector as well. “In fact, close to 50 per cent of the funds for this year’s programmes are sourced from the private sector,” he said. Last year, RM12 billion was spent on 157 SME development programmes which in turn supported nearly 890,000 projects across all economic sectors, increased productivity, new business registered, higher profits and more job opportunities. On Asean commitment, Najib said: “Malaysia is ahead of the curve in readying the economy for greater integration.
“Ultimately, we want Asean to be a highly-competitive, inclusive region, one that is fully-integrated into the global business environment. “For Malaysian SMEs and international investors, the Asean Economic Community promises to bring real benefits but it will also alter the business environment and thorough preparation is essential.” At the same event, Najib presented the Premier Award and RM1 million cash prize to KLSMC Stem Cells Sdn Bhd for being the Most Innovative SME. Earlier, Najib witnessed a number of public-private sector partnerships formalised through several Memorandum of Understandings which included SME Corp and Department of Standards Malaysia, Padiberas Nasional Bhd and Malaysian Debt Ventures Bhd.