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Saturday, January 12, 2013

HSBC says `contours of recovery' emerging in Asia

Publication: NST
Date of publication: Jan 11, 2013
Section heading: Business Times
Page number: 004
Byline / Author: By Rupa Damodaran

KUALA LUMPUR: Asian economies can now step out of the shadows of global uncertainties as the "contours of a recovery" are emerging, said HSBC Bank.

"The slowdown (in economic activities) has been short-lived and shallow, and Asia will be on a growth path in the second half of 2013 with an uptick in inflation," Leif Lybecker Eskesen, its chief economist for India and Asean said at an Asia Economic Outlook media briefing yesterday.

China's policy measures have begun to spill over in the fourth quarter of 2012, he said,

The Asean-5 economies (Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) have shown resilience due to the domestic drivers like low level of unemployment and accommodative monetary policy.

In the case of Malaysia, the resilience is further supported by projects under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and pre-election handouts.

HSBC has revised upwards its growth estimates for 2012, from 4.2 per cent to 5.3 per cent with a 4.8 per cent growth outlook for 2013.

Eskesen, however, said that to sustain growth over the medium term and pull Malaysia out of the middle-income trap, there has to be a policy push on a number of fronts, in addition to cranking up investments under the ETP.

Structural fiscal reforms should also be implemented.

Broadening the tax base through the proposed goods and services tax (GST) would help reduce reliance on pro-cyclical oil-related revenues.

He said resource allocation would be improved by the streamlining of subsidies and replacing them with targeted assistance to the needy.

HSBC expects Bank Negara Malaysia to hike the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points each in the second and third quarters of 2013, bringing the OPR to 3.50 per cent by year-end.

"As the little slacks that are left in the economy evaporate, the monetary policy has to move back into the neutral gear, which is at 3.5 per cent.

"If it doesn't, then inflation process will begin to build up."

Eskesen said structural policies will be important to support growth for Asian economies over the next few years.

HSBC expects Japan to grow by 0.2 per cent in 2013 but there are upside risks to the projection.

India is also showing early signs of stabilisation on the back of reforms but it needs more structural policies to lead the economy and for growth to kick in.

The US economy is poised to recover in the second half of 2013, led by private investments and consumption on rising confidence, to deliver a 1.7 per cent growth number for 2013.

Fiscal issues in the US will linger for a few months, he said, adding that in the case of the eurozone where the outlook remains poor, road bumps will remain for the next few years.

On the foreign exchange outlook, Paul Mackel described the renminbi as an exciting currency story as it becomes internationalised.

The renminbi will be among the leading Asian currencies which will fare better than the G4 currencies (US dollar, euro, yen and sterling).

"The volatility of the US dollar to renminbi should rise over time with greater capital account opening."

Mackel, who is head of Asian currency research, described the won and the peso as attractive while the baht is set to outperform the Singapore dollar and Taiwanese dollar and ringgit.

In the case of the ringgit, he has projected it to touch RM2.99 versus the greenback by the end of 2013.

The demand for Malaysian portfolio assets are strong but trade inflow pressures have softened, he added.

"The overall story for the ringgit is one of muddling through with continued appreciation but less opportunity for outperformance."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kutipan GST kurangkan defisit fiskal lebih cepat

2013/01/07 - 06:46:04 AM

Peningkatan kutipan cukai selepas pelaksanaan cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) dijangka mampu memangkin usaha kerajaan mengurangkan defisit fiskal negara dengan lebih pantas. 

Adalah dijangkakan selepas GST dilaksanakan, jumlah pembayar cukai individu akan diperluaskan daripada hanya kira-kira 1.2 juta ketika ini. 

Pengarah Urusan MNZWAJ Associates, Mohd Nasri Ismail, berkata, sebuah firma audit dan perunding percukaian, berkata walaupun selepas GST dilaksanakan, pengguna tidak akan berhadapan dengan kenaikan harga yang mendadak, kerana GST hanya menggantikan cukai jualan dan perkhidmatan (SST) yang sudah dilaksanakan sejak 1970-an. 

Jika sistem subsidi sedia ada ini diubah, saya yakin negara kita mampu keluar daripada mencatatkan defisit bajet lebih pantas," Mohd Nasri Ismail, Pengarah Urusan MNZWAJ Associates

Penurunan harga

“Selain itu, pelaksanaan GST juga akan menyaksikan penurunan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan tertentu kerana kadar cukai yang dikenakan lebih rendah dan seragam. 

“Contohnya, ketika ini pengguna dikenakan cukai jualan sebanyak 10 peratus bagi barangan tertentu, tetapi selepas GST dilaksanakan, kadar cukai ini akan menjadi lebih rendah,” katanya kepada BH di sini, Rabu lalu. 

Dalam pembentangan Belanjawan 2013 September lalu, Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak mengumumkan kerajaan mahu mengurangkan defisit negara kepada tiga peratus menjelang 2015, berbanding 4.4 peratus ketika ini.
BH sebelum ini melaporkan sebuah firma perunding percukaian, Taxand Malaysia Sdn Bhd mencadangkan kadar cukai GST untuk ditetapkan pada empat peratus dan waktu terbaik untuk melaksanakannya adalah 2014, ketika suasana ekonomi global dijangka stabil dan selepas kerajaan menerima mandat pemerintahan baru rakyat.

Pembahagian adil

Mengulas lanjut, Mohd Nasri berkata, jika GST dilaksanakan, pembahagian kekayaan di negara ini akan menjadi lebih adil kerana pembayaran cukai dikenakan berdasarkan penggunaan. 

“Golongan berpendapatan tinggi sudah tentu akan berbelanja lebih besar dan mereka perlu membayar cukai lebih banyak berbanding golongan berpendapatan rendah yang akan hanya membayar cukai yang amat rendah,” katanya yang juga ahli Persatuan Akauntan Percukaian Malaysia (MATA). 

Selain itu, Mohd Nasri berkata, langkah lain yang boleh diambil kerajaan untuk mengurangkan paras defisit negara adalah dengan mengkaji semula sistem subsidi negara. 

Nasri berkata sistem subsidi yang diamalkan kini memerlukan peruntukan besar daripada bajet negara dan pelaksanaannya tidak memberi manfaat yang sepatutnya kepada golongan sasar. 

“Contohnya, golongan berpendapatan tinggi menggunakan minyak petrol lebih banyak berbanding golongan berpendapatan rendah dan mereka menerima lebih banyak manfaat subsidi daripada golongan sepatutnya.

Subsidi diberi terus

“Sebaliknya, dana subsidi sepatutnya diberikan terus kepada golongan sasar seperti golongan berpendapatan rendah, pelajar dan mereka yang memerlukannya. 
“Jika sistem subsidi sedia ada ini diubah, saya yakin negara kita mampu keluar daripada mencatatkan defisit bajet lebih pantas,” katanya.

Secara umumnya, pembayar cukai tidak mempunyai masalah untuk menunaikan tanggungjawab mereka dalam membayar cukai kerana ia adalah sebahagian daripada tanggungjawab utama sebagai warganegara.

Sebaliknya, masalah ketirisan dalam perbelanjaan wang kutipan cukai yang menimbulkan perasaan tidak puas hati dalam kalangan pembayar cukai.
“Jika masalah ketirisan ini dapat diatasi sudah tentu pelaksanaan GST atau pun cukai lain akan diterima baik oleh rakyat negara ini,” katanya.