No windfall tax for toll road operator

Nor Mohamed: No plans to impose levy on concessionaires

KUALA LUMPUR: Contrary to market talk, windfall tax will not be imposed on toll road operators, said Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

Following the June 4 government announcement of a windfall tax on independent power producers and a gazetting of the levy on July 1, the market has been rife with talk of similar taxes for other fixed margin concession sectors.

Speaking yesterday at the launch of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd's (PUNB) bumiputra entrepreneur-networking programme, Nor Mohamedsaid: “There are no plans, at least in the Finance Ministry for windfall tax on toll concessionaires.”

On the possibility of the Finance Ministry intervening in the currently stalled Malayan Banking Bhd acquisition of Indonesia's PT Bank Internasional Indonesia Tbk (BII), Nor Mohamed said it was not for the ministry to intervene at this time.

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop visiting a booth after the launching

“It is a commercial merger and acquisition, it is not for the Ministry (of Finance) to intervene at this time. It is purely a decision for Maybank. I have every confidence in the Maybank management,” he said.

It has been reported that Maybank could see a deposit penalty of RM480mil. However, if it proceeds with the deal, Maybank could lose up to RM3.5bil on having to sell 20% of BII to the public within two years of the takeover, under current Indonesian market regulations.

Meanwhile, Nor Mohamed said PUNB had managed to develop about 6,100 successful bumiputra retail entrepreneurs in the past eight years.

Going forward, his ministry had allocated RM25mil for PUNB to acquire premises in shopping centres and other locations in major cities for its retail entrepreneur development programme.

On the country's gross domestic product (GDP), Nor Mohamed said second quarter growth was expected to “still be good” compared with the first quarter, which at 7.1% was “very, very good”.

However, global market turmoil and rising costs did have an impact on the second quarter GDP growth, he said.

While Malaysia's inflation in June was high at 7.7%, the ministry viewed this as a “one-off” with inflation expected to “stabilise for the rest of the year”.

“Malaysia needs to improve resilience to global volatility by improving competitiveness through efficiency and productivity gains,” he added.

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