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1. Release of Customs documents based on Estimated Time of Arrival
From 1 July 2008, the release of documents based on ETA instead of Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) of the vessels is accepted in cases where inspection is not required. Clearance of cargo can also be done even on weekends and public holidays. The approval process, starting from pre-submission of documents to the release from Customs’ gates, will now take only one day compared with 3 days previously.
The implementation of this mechanism is subjected to the following conditions:
- The Manifest is in order;
- Declaration is in order;
- No inspection is required;
- Shipment meets all regulatory requirements including risk assessment; and
- Payment of duty is made.
2. Deferred Payment of Duties
Beginning 1 July 2008, Royal Malaysian Customs facilitates deferred payment of duties to:
- Petroleum Warehouses;
- Public and private bond warehouses; and
- Duty free shops.
Deferred payment of duties is allowed if:
- Total amount of Bank Guarantee equals the amount of tax payable; and
- Done through Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT).
The infrastructure to enable e-Payment to the Government has been in place since 1 July 2008. As of 31 December 2008, 89 Government agencies have started accepting online payments for a total of 148 services.
For members of public who are not e-ready, payments can still be made the conventional way:
- over the counter at post offices;
- respective agencies;
- banks; and
- kiosks placed at selected places such as shopping malls.
Among the numerous e-payment services available are driver’s licence and road tax renewals, and settlement of summonses at Road Transport Department branches. Payment through e-services is also accepted at 111 approved sites for the booking of theory tests, issuance and renewal of learner driving licences, and renewal of competent driving licences.
Other departments and ministries that have extended their online services include The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) for traffic summonses, the Immigration Department, Land and Mines Department, Inland Revenue Board (IRB), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and Public Service Department.
Settlement of the Assessment Tax through e-payment is also accepted for most of the local councils throughout the country.
1. Establishment of One-Stop Centre for Incorporation of Companies
A One-Stop Centre to expedite the incorporation of companies has been established in the Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation (SMIDEC) since 11 August 2008. The centre operates from Mondays and Wednesdays from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Key agencies involved in business registration are in the OSC. The agencies are Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), Inland Revenue Board (IRB), Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Social Security Organisation Malaysia (SOCSO), Royal Malaysian Customs (RMC), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) and several financial instituitions and commercial banks.
The OSC facilitates the establishment of a new company, provision of advisory services on financial and business operations, application for loans and grant schemes and the checking of loan and grant application status.
The One Stop Centre is located at the 19th Floor, West Wing, Menara MATRADE, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Off Jalan Duta, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
2. Reduction of the charges for incorporating a company by MAICSA
The Malaysian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (MAICSA) has agreed to reduce the charges for incorporating a company from RM3,700 to RM2,800 and the annual corporate fees from RM1,850 to RM1,200.
1. Publication of The Guidebook on Registering Property [Freehold] in Malaysia
The Guidebook on Registering Property [Freehold] in Malaysia was launched on 31 July 2008 with the aim to assist members of the business community, potential investors and the man-in-the-street in navigating through the processes and procedures for registering property. It will also create awareness and provide information and proper procedures on registering property in Malaysia.
Improvements include simplifying forms and allowing on-line processing, as well as reducing the time for registration of freehold property from 144 days previously to only 41 days, via the Electronic Sistem Taksiran Pindah Milik Harta Tanah (e-STPH) and Valuation Information System (VIS); and 61 days through manual processing. There are now standard procedures for registering property in all land offices and the streamlining of land registration fees in all states.
This is the first in a series of guidebook on registering property, with guidebooks for strata-title and leasehold properties are expected to be launched in 2009.
1. Business Licensing Electronic Support System (BLESS)
Launched on 5 September 2008, BLESS is one of the initiatives by PEMUDAH together with the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Department to develop an internet-based system for the application of business licences. In moving towards an on-line system, the aim is to increase speed, transparency and predictability in the application and approval of licences. The system will show the time taken by the various departments to process the applications, thus ensuring that the Government Department and agencies adhere to their client’s charter.
It enables on-line tracking of the progress and monitoring of applications as well as on-line payment of fees. It also provides companies with the convenience of storing their information on-line and transferring their profiles from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) to BLESS for a minimum fee without having to submit any of the forms which were previously required for this process.
The first phase of implementation of BLESS is confined to the Klang Valley, catering to the manufacturing, construction and involving 77, 63 and 27 types of approvals, permits and licences for the manufacturing, construction and hotel sub-sectors respectively.
The second phase, which is expected to be fully operational by June 2010, will include other sectors such as the distributive trade sub-sector and private higher education industry within the Klang Valley. The third and final phase will be the nationwide roll-out of BLESS which is targeted to be completed by June 2012.
2. Distributive Trade Sub-Sector
Previously, a total of 52 approvals from 19 different Government agencies were required for a company seeking to open a hypermarket. The process took a total of 492 days. The number of approvals has been reduced to 37 while the number of Government agencies remains. The significant change in the reduction of approval time is due to the introduction of e-Lesenniaga by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) which enables companies to apply on-line for licences and permits.
3. BLESS Call Centre
Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU)
Prime Minister’s Department
East Block, Ground Floor
Bangunan Perdana Putra
Tel: +603-8888 1717 / 1718
Fax: +603-8888 3702 / 3711
1. Expatriate Posts and Passes
One of the factors impacting the investment environment is the facilitation of the approval of expatriate posts and passes. The Immigration Department (IMI) has reduced the time taken to process expatriate applications from 14 days to 7 days.
With PEMUDAH’s intervention, there has been not only reduction in processing time but also improvement in the approval process. In 2008, 97 per cent of the applications were processed within 7 days. In addition, a total of 30,321 passes were issued by the IMI, of which 86 per cent were processed within 3 days.
2. Facilities for Expatriates
The Immigration Department also made improvements by providing certain facilities to expatriates including:
- Extending the Expatriate i-Card facility to the whole of Malaysia as of March 2008; and
- Improving rules and regulations pertaining to expatriates’ spouses, family members and maids, whereby spouses, family members and maids are given the same treatment as their principals.
The regulations for dependent passes and employment for foreign spouses and expatriates were also amended. These changes were introduced to facilitate the access to talent already available in the country and are captured in three new circulars, effective from 20 November 2008:
- Malaysian Immigration Circular No.30/2008
- Husbands of expatriates holding Employment Passes will be issued with Dependant Passes;
- Malaysian Immigration Circular No.31/2008
- Foreign spouses of Malaysians are allowed to work while on Social Visit Passes without having to convert them to Employment Passes; and
- Malaysian Immigration Circular No.35/2008
- Spouses of expatriates holding Dependant Passes are allowed to work without converting their Dependant Passes to Employment Passes.
1. Improvement Measures by the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia
PEMUDAH and the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRB) continued to work to enhance the process for payment of taxes.
Beginning 2008, companies and individuals can register their tax files electronically via the e-Daftar. Companies can also submit their estimates and revisions of corporate tax liability on-line, providing an additional time-saving option for filing tax returns.
Other improvements include clarification of:
- conditions and circumstances that would allow over payments to be set-off against tax instalments. This includes guidelines on when a group of companies could enjoy this set-off and the required documents;
- circumstances under which lower tax estimates could be considered; and
- circumstances under which penalties on late payment or under-estimation could be lowered or waived, and the scale of penalties which would increase with the number of offences the company committed.
Individual employees are relieved of the burden of having to claim for deduction in their personal tax returns with the introduction of a list of common employment benefits. This guide helps to clarify to the employers the activities that could be considered as expenditures incurred by the employees.
A joint review of the Public Ruling on Entertainment Expenditure has helped to clearly outline the circumstances under which a company would be eligible for a full or partial deduction on entertainment expenses.
Beginning 2008, tax payers and tax agents can submit their tax returns at any Assessment Branch in addition to the Central Processing Centre. All that is required is that they provide the proof of submission by manual means. Other than hastening the submission process, IRB has also incorporated an English section on its website www.hasil.gov.my to ensure that non-residents and foreigners are able to access information pertaining to their tax returns.
The IRB Client Charter now stipulates the timelines for IRB staff to address taxpayers’ appeals and objections. There is an internal mechanism to monitor their adherence to the charter.
2. Improvement Measures by Royal Malaysian Customs (RMC)
PEMUDAH together with the Royal Malaysian Customs (RMC)launched a number of measures in 2008 to facilitate trade:
- Companies are now allowed to make payments at the nearest Customs office instead of only at controlled stations.
- Excise Forms 7 and 8 can now be downloaded from the website www.customs.gov.my and forms can be submitted through diskette, CD or thumb drive.
- The new Sales Tax Composite Form CJP1, is now only needed to be submitted in 3 copies instead of the obligatory 6 copies previously; and
- Eliminated the requirement to submit the Daily Sales Record (Attachment A of Form CP3) for Service Tax purposes as well as an attachment to the Sales Tax Form CJ10.