Tax incentives for media proposed

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 07 Jun 2020

PETALING JAYA: Tax incentives that encourage online subscription of news are among proposals being studied by the government in supporting the media industry, says Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

“Perhaps if there is a waiver on subscription tax, then people may want to, or people may be encouraged to, subscribe (to online news content).

“We are looking into it. It’s not in the economic recovery plan, but it’s already on the table,” said the Communications and Multimedia Minister.

Other possible measures, he added, included a tax waiver on the importation of newsprint, which is the paper commonly used to print newspapers.

He said the ministry was also closely following the move taken by Australia to push for tech giants such as Facebook and Google to pay news publishers and outlets for their content.

“I know there are already countries trying to work on this matter. We should learn from their experience and see whether this is the way to go,” he said.

Saifuddin was speaking to The Star at Menara Star here during his first visit to an English-medium news outlet as Communications and Multimedia Minister.

The Indera Mahkota MP took a tour around the head office of Star Media Group (SMG) to gain a deeper insight into the operations and inner workings of the media company.

Saifuddin was welcomed by SMG chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow, group adviser Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai and the senior management staff upon arriving at Menara Star on Friday.

Starting his visit at Star Gallery, the minister was given a briefing on the company’s various media entities across its print, digital, radio and events platforms.

He later visited the Content Department, where he had a look at how the journalists source for and produce news articles.

Following the tour, Saifuddin had a dialogue session with the senior management and editors to exchange feedback and views on the media industry.

Outlining the targets for his ministry, he said he would be championing the creative industry as well as bolstering the digital economy – a timely move in light of the push towards digitalisation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is a task force (on the digital economy) that is being formed, with myself as the chair and Khairy Jamaluddin as the co-chair.

“We have to go full force on the digital economy,” he said.

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