Monday, July 13, 2009

Do We Push Policies or Be Pushed by Policies?

Do the Muslim business associations get involved actively/effectively in budget dialogues or discussions (or lobbies)? Were they referred to at all? Did they try hard to be invited to the dialogues and discussions or make written proposals to the relevant ministries or agencies?

The following Budget 09 incentives accorded to the real estate and construction industry - were they the handiworks of the Persatuan or Dewan? I doubt..

There would be policy changes also - to make operational aspects of those sectors tighter or more relaxed… Would we be the prime movers of those changes or mere bystander? Worse, we may not be even aware of the changes until they hit us.

Budget 2009 Incentives for the Property Sector
The following are the incentives related to the housing and property sector announced in the 2009 Budget on 29 August 2008:
Reduction of Withholding Tax for Dividend Income from REITs
Withholding tax for dividend income from Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) is reduced from 15% (Individuals) and 20% (foreign institutional investors) to 10% respectively. The proposal iseffective from 1 January 2009 until 31 December 2011.
Providing Low Cost Housing
Some rm330 million are allocated to build 39,500 units of low cost housing by various agencies nationwide under the People’s Housing Program in 2009.
50% Stamp Duty Waiver
50% stamp duty exemption to be extended to loan agreements for purchase of houses up to rm250,000 during the period of 30 August 2008 to 31 December 2010.
Improving Government Housing Loan
Tenure on new government housing loans is extended from 25 years to 30 years to encourage homeownership among civil servants. Additionally, housing loan facility will be provided for renovation works on houses not purchased through government loans. The housing loan insurance panel, previously limited to five, is expanded to include all eligible insurance companies.

Extension of Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme
Additional rm100 million fund is allocated for the Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme to guarantee loans amounting to rm2 billion. Approximately 40,000 borrowers are expected to benefit from this scheme. They can obtain housing loans from all local financial institutions for purchases of low and medium cost houses.
Training for Skilled Construction Workers by CIDB
In 2009, at least 100,000 industrial training opportunities in technical fields such as wielding, management and safety will be provided by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). The cost for such trainings for local workers will be borne by CIDB.

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