As we edge close to the announcement of Malaysia’s Budget 2021, the country’s gig economies are coming out with their own Wishlists, which they hope to see as the nation continues on the road to recovery.

Among others, Malaysia’s Foodpanda service hopes to see digital tax waivers and SME digitalisation among the top items prioritised at the upcoming budget reveal.

Foodpanda managing director Sayantan Das said the delivery services provider also hoped for government assistance in upskilling gig economy workers.

“A recent report released by Deloitte titled ‘The Next Wave: Emerging Digital Life in South and Southeast Asia’ stated that e-commerce contributed about US$28 billion to Malaysia’s gross domestic product in 2018. The report also stated that Malaysians have the second highest penetration rate of smartphones (83 percent) in South Asia and Southeast Asia and about 80 per cent of Malaysia’s population are active Internet users. Mobile phone use is likewise relatively high. Hence, the government should eliminate digital taxes for next year to encourage consumers to spend online and at the same time enable companies to reinvest in Malaysia,” he said in a statement to the New Straits Times.

He also mentions that there needs to be more incentives given to local entrepreneurs and SME enterprises to help digitise their businesses.

Bungkusit co-founder and chief public relations officer Azhar Zein suggested that the government allow the public to withdraw their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings, which will indirectly help delivery services.

“I understand that the government lacks funds as the tax base has decreased. When income decreases, expenditure decreases for the government. I do feel that the government should allow some withdrawal from the EPF Account 1 because that can inject liquidity into the market,” he said.

He also mentions that the recurring lockdown has severely limited the purchasing power of the average Malaysian. As such, they are buying much les than usual. This in turn has an adverse effect on the economy, thus affecting the recovery in turn. This ‘Catch-22’ needs to be overcome in order for Malaysia’s recovery to go into full swing.


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