In Budget 2021 debate, Syed Saddiq moots taxing glove companies for ‘extraordinary profits’, lowering college fees

19-Nov-2020 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Glove makers in Malaysia who have earned “extraordinary profits” in the Covid-19 pandemic should be subjected to a windfall tax, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

While debating the proposed Budget 2021, the Muar MP urged the government to have the courage to tax companies like Top Glove, which he said could be used for the public good.

“My proposal is for the government to introduce a windfall tax on rubber glove companies in Malaysia that have enjoyed profits by many folds in the Covid-19 season,” he said.

He pointed out Top Glove’s RM1.9 billion profit for the 2020 financial year or a 417 per cent jump from previously and Supermax’s RM789.5 million net profit in the first quarter of 2020 which represented a 32-fold increase year-on-year.

Syed Saddiq said the RM400 million commitment from Malaysia’s top four glove manufacturers to fight the coronavirus was insufficient, especially when the vaccine when available is expected to cost RM3 billion.

He claimed a windfall tax on glove makers could gain the government RM4.8 billion in revenue that can be used to benefit Malaysians, especially those on the front lines.

“It’s not that we want to punish, but when they get extraordinary profits, when people are suffering, only because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they have not only a moral responsibility but also a legal responsibility to return that money for the use of the public to face Covid-19 too,” he said.

Syed Saddiq cautioned that failure to impose the windfall tax could subject the government to public scrutiny and speculation of reluctance.

“Because later, many outside will ask why suddenly they are afraid of mega companies, is it because they think election is nearing, if we don’t impose this tax, in the end, the tauke (boss) can give big contributions to political parties? The public will ask,” he claimed.

The former youth and sports minister also suggested lower tuition fees for college and university students, noting complaints that many were learning remotely instead of in campus as the virus had forced many to stay home.

“Not only that, not only because they are not using the facilities in universities, they have to pay for the cost of internet at home. At the same time there are many decisions done at the last minute,” he said.

As for the RM300 million allocation announced by the government for operators of private institutions of higher learning, Syed Saddiq questioned why such operators are not reducing their study fees, stressing that this is unfair.

“The government should put preconditions, if you get this aid, reduce the cost of university tuition fees, both in public and private institutions of higher learning,” he said.

While thanking the government for allocating RM150 million for laptops for the youths, Syed Saddiq highlighted that the previous Barisan Nasional government had also allocated RM400 million to provide “1Malaysia” laptops for free but said such laptops did not last long beyond a few months’ use.

“That’s why I hope this allocation will be used as best as possible, carry out open tender, pick the best, make sure our youths get quality laptops, not as was practised before this,” he said.

In Budget 2021, the government had announced a RM150 million allocation via contributions from government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies to Tabung Cerdik to provide laptops for 150,000 students in 500 schools as a pilot project to be supervised by Yayasan Hasanah.


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