Consider tax breaks, cash aid for M40 too, economists tell Putrajaya as living costs soar

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — Middle-income earners in Malaysia are feeling the financial pain from rising living costs and are in need of government assistance too, according to economists and a consumer group.

Economist Nungsari Ahmad Radhi suggested the government consider more tax breaks for the country’s 40 per cent of middle income earners classified as M40, Sinar Harian reported today.

“The M40 are the main income tax payers. They too are affected by the rising price of goods but not so bad as to be unable to afford food.

“I call on the government to give them income tax deductions and more income tax exemptions,” he told the Malay daily.

Nungsari also suggested that the government impose higher taxes on the country’s top tier income bracket to offset the potential loss of revenue to federal coffers from lowering taxes on the M40 group.

“Our government is well aware of the severe fiscal constraints and they should look at both revenue and expenditure in determining priorities when all citizens face the rising costs of living,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that the government should look for ways to save on less urgent spending so that more financial resources can be directed to current needs.

Economic analyst Mohd Yusof Saari suggested several ways in which the government could ease the M40 group’s financial burden.

Among them are to bring back budget shops and cash aid as temporary reliefs.

“This is a critical time for the lower income groups, especially the B40 and and a majority of the M40. The soaring prices of goods is impacting them significantly,” Mohd Yusof told Sinar Harian.

Weighing in on the effects of higher living costs on the middle income group, Federal of Malaysian Consumer Association president Datuk N Marimathu called on the government to provide cash aid as well until the country’s economic situation improves.

“The government has to use existing funds to also give financial allocations to the M40 group to reduce their living costs.

He also suggested the government help provide some form of educational and health assistance to the middle income earners.

“Right now, there is a lot of medicine that is unavailable in the market. This is a dangerous situation for the B40 and also the M40,” Marimuthu was quoted saying.

He also felt that the government should not be so hasty to abolish subsidies in the current economic downturn but continue them until prices of goods have stabilised.

An increasing number of Malaysians have taken to social media to highlight how they have been impacted by the soaring prices of goods and services.

Last Thursday, the government announced an additional RM100 cash aid for households and RM50 for singles under its Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia programme.

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