KUALA LUMPUR,Nov 18: A former minister has called for the government to introduce a “windfall tax” as a way to increase its revenue.
Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Ind-Muar) said several glove companies had raked in billions this year, primarily due to the increase in demand worldwide following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Companies involved with (the production and sale of) gloves have made profits,” he said while debating the 2021 budget.
He named four companies – Top Glove Corp Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Supermax Corporation Bhd and Kossan Rubber Industries – as being the biggest beneficiaries of this increased demand for rubber gloves, making billions more than they had last year.
But the former youth and sports minister said the government was not taxing them and had instead only received RM400 million in the form of items donated by these companies. He said under the windfall tax, the government could collect up to RM4.8 billion in taxes.
This revenue could be used to buy Covid-19 vaccines which would cost Putrajaya RM3 billion, with leftover money used to build hospital facilities, schools and as cash handouts to those in need.
Syed Saddiq also urged Putrajaya to work as a team with the opposition to ensure the 2021 budget is passed. “Take the middle path. Call the opposition MPs to find a solution.”
It is still not known if the budget will be passed as the opposition and Barisan Nasional backbenchers’ club chairman Najib Razak said they would only support the budget if their two conditions – allowing contributors to withdraw RM10,000 from Account 1 of the Employees’ Provident Fund and extending the loan moratorium – were met.
Syed Saddiq also said the governing Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition should allocate money for opposition MPs.
“Some may say why didn’t Pakatan Harapan (PH) do the same when they were in power?”
He said under the PH administration, PAS-run Kelantan was given a direct aid of RM400 million while Terengganu received RM1.2 billion.
“If we could implement this then, why not do the same now as the people need help, especially during the pandemic,” he said.