PM: No More New Tax This Year Except on Sugar, but Expect Reforms

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There will be no new tax for this year, except for sugar tax which was announced during the 2019 Budget, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced today.

“(However), it (implementation) is delayed a bit as we want to ensure that the mechanism is effective to primarily meet our health objectives,” he said at the Invest Malaysia 2019.

The excise tax of 40 sen per litre on sweetened beverages which was supposed to start on April 1, 2019, however, has been postponed to July 1, 2019.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced in his Budget 2019 speech last year that the sugar tax would be on beverages that contain sugar exceeding 5 grams per 100 millilitres, as well as juices that contain more than 12 grams per 100 millilitres.

The Prime Minister also said that beginning next year, the government will use the revenue collected from this tax to provide free and healthy breakfast programme for all primary school children.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“We want our kids to be strong and healthy to perform in school,” he said.

To ensure the sustainability of the economy, Dr Mahathir said that Malaysians must improve their productivity, which can be done with a quality workforce enabled by quality education.

According to Dr Mahathir, bigger reforms will be expected after the special task force to review the national education policy from preschool to tertiary education, completes their findings next month.

The reforms, said Dr Mahathir, would touch on several key areas – improving English language competency, quality of teachers, and the employability of graduates.

“In the last 10 months, key steps have been taken towards these ends. These include reforming the curriculum where the national civic and religious education curriculum are currently under review to ensure values are practised and inculcated.

FMT

“In other words, let’s make national schools great again.”

Dr Mahathir said that exams for Standard One to Three have been abolished to make way for a more holistic development of each child.

He added that the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates will be increased by making it more accessible, experiential and meaningful.