Wee: Continue tax relief for parents who save for education

INCOME tax relief for depositors in the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) should continue as it is an important policy for parents, said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

He said many parents felt that discontinuing tax relief for SSPN deposits was not a good decision.

“To me, we should appeal to the Prime Minister because this (SSPN deposit tax relief) is important to parents who are saving up to fund their children’s education,” he said at the Parliament lobby.

Dr Wee also said it was not too late for the government to decide on extending tax relief for SSPN contributors, as the 2023 year of assessment only begins early next year.

“There are still nine more months for those who are saving (under SSPN). If an announcement is made soon, it will be happy news to all parents, particularly those with lower and middle incomes,” said Dr Wee. The government had previously offered tax relief of up to RM8,000 to SSPN depositors to encourage parents to save for their children’s education. Dr Wee said the previous administration had continued with the tax relief, which was part of Budget 2023 that was tabled in October last year.

On March 27, Deputy Finance Minister Steven Sim said the individual tax relief for SSPN contributors would be discontinued, due to the reduction of two percentage points for the M40, higher medical claims and other forms of tax relief.

Meanwhile, when debating Budget 2023 on education at the committee stage, Dr Wee, who is Ayer Hitam MP, said the absence of a clear breakdown of allocation for Chinese and Tamil schools would pose a problem for the Education Ministry in determining the amount.

He said 890 government assisted schools and over 400 national-type schools would be affected by the lack of a formula for distribution.

“What is the formula for the allocation distribution, as I had previously voiced out? I appeal to the ministry to address this issue and to address it fast,” he said.

Dr Wee said this in reference to the RM900mil set aside under the Budget for maintenance of schools, which includes vernacular, religious, missionary and government- assisted schools

He shared his experience in dealing with the issue when he was the former deputy education minister from 2008 to 2013.

“Things were a mess because we did not know how much was to be distributed to these schools. But since 2009, the breakdown of allocation was made very clear. There is no proper breakdown now,” he said.

Dr Wee also questioned the shortfall in the RM777mil announced as expenditure allocation, but only RM625mil is reflected in the Budget.

“Why is there a shortfall of RM152mil? Was it dropped from the Budget? This must be explained,” he said.

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