Ensuring sufficient revenue generation

THE introduction of the Medium-Term Revenue Strategy (MTRS) is timely to address current issues relating to federal government revenue, mainly a narrow tax base, ineffective tax incentives, tax avoidance and tax evasion and untapped informal sectors.

Total revenue as a percentage to gross domestic product (GDP) has declined from 21.4% in 2012 to 15.9% in 2020, which is relatively low compared with rating peer countries.

In addition, a high reliance on direct tax, now constituting half of total revenue, renders the revenue collection susceptible to economic growth and business cycles. Thus, an effective and sustainable revenue collection for the country is crucial to ensure sufficient financing of total expenditure.

The initiatives under MTRS are envisaged to complement the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) initiative, which will further enhance the transparency of the tax system in Malaysia.

The MTRS will also be aligned with the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) (2021-2025), particularly to ensure sufficient revenue generation to finance expenditure needs under the Plan.

Moving forward, Malaysia will extend the scope of the MTRS to non-tax revenue in the next phase of its implementation to further widen the revenue base.

To date, the technical committee on MTRS is formulating MTRS strategies and measures to be implemented in phases.

Upon approval by the steering committee, engagement sessions with key stakeholders, industry players and professional bodies will be conducted.

Feedback from the sessions will serve as value-added inputs in the final report. It will consist of new tax measures and recommendations for a better tax administration, supported by an improved legal framework.

The final report is scheduled to be endorsed by the government in 2022.

The adoption of MTRS will be implemented based on these objectives - to ensure sustainable revenue generation in the medium term in line with GDP growth, to ensure better compliance through effective and efficient tax administration, and to strengthen the legal framework in enhancing the tax system and policy formulation.

At the initial stage, the formulation will focus on the taxation system anchored on three main pillars – tax policy, tax administration and tax legislative framework.
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