Dato’ Seri Raymond Liew, Founder and President of McMillan Woods
Dato’ Seri Raymond Liew, Founder, and President of McMillan Woods, on behalf of all Professional Service Provider Practitioners and SMEs pleads for financial assistance from the Government of Malaysia through wage subsidies, tax reductions and waiver of selective statutory payments for a limited time period of 3-6 months.
Everyone was awaiting news from the Government on stimulus package for SMEs that was to be announced on 1st April 2020. Many thought that finally, some attention and help are going to be given to SMEs and Professional Service Provider Practitioners alike; but the announcement never came.
As an Entrepreneur Tax Accountant and a Trusted Advisor to these SME businesses, Dato’ Seri Raymond Liew takes on the responsibility of being the voice for SMEs and the Professional Service Providers in seeking financial support from the Government. As SME owners suffer from severe cash flow problems, Professional Service Providers and The Accountants are directly impacted as they are the last in the payment-chain.
“Running an accountancy professional practice is like everyone here in the SMEs environment, we too have continuous running costs and being a professional service provider firm, our highest cost is wages and salaries cost, which to many practitioners can be as high as 75-80% of all expense costs and this is a major predator of the bottom-line.” Said Dato’ Seri Raymond Liew.
The wage subsidy of RM600 per month, for three months, to those employed in the private sector is of little help considering the many stringent conditions attached to it; plus many of the key employees earn above RM4,000 hence they do not qualify. With regard to this, Dato’ Seri Raymond Liew suggests that wage subsidy of RM600 per month should be applicable for all employees without any rigorous conditions and should be extended until December 2020 at the very least, instead of the 3 months proposed by the government. Ultimately, he hopes that the Government would provide wage subsidies of 75-80% to all SMEs and professional service practitioners for a considerable amount of time, given that the trading activities in Malaysia is lower than ever.
He also requests for waiver of all statutory payments like EPF, SOCSO, EIS, and SST to allow businesses to gain traction once the MCO period is over. It is of no cost to the Government to waive EPF contributions for SMEs and SMPs for a limited period of 6 months effective immediately; this would be a better implementation than the “Payment Deferment Options”.
At the same time, the tax authority, being one of the biggest stakeholders in our businesses should seriously consider a reduction in tax rates by as much as 30%, using Thailand as an example, for Year of Assessment 2019 & Year of Assessment 2020 immediately to allow for the past one year’s profits tax to be retained to assist with cash flows, not that many of the business owners are making profits during the COViD-19 pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of our SMEs and our fellow practicing professionals, we do hope the Government will uphold its slogan of “No one will be left behind”.