Bajet 2024: Malaysia 2024 Budget Highlights For Businesses

The Malaysia budget 2024 – popularly known locally as ‘Bajet 2024’ – was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on 13th October 2023. Datuk Seri Anwar, who is also the country’s Finance Minister, highlighted that the Malaysia 2024 Budget, themed ‘Reformasi Ekonomi, Memperkasakan Rakyat (Economic Reform, Empowering People)’ will have an allocation of RM393.8 billion – the highest budget ever tabled in Malaysia.

As with all national budgets, the budget covers areas such as education, healthcare, property, development as well as support and incentives for local businesses. For businesses in Malaysia, here are the key budget highlights you should take note of:

1. Special incentives and funding for PERKESO

The Social Security Organisation (also known as PERKESO or SOCSO) will receive:

  • RM35 million for the SOCSO Career Building Programme to fund training as well as income replacement measures for 9,000 gig (freelance) workers.
  • RM100 million for the Self-Employed Social Security Scheme as a means to incentivise businesses to cover the remaining 10% of contributions for their gig workers.
  • RM30 million to enable SOCSO to provide a special incentive of RM1,500 for 6 months, in an effort to get over 3,000 jobseekers to apply.

Read also: Guide to Hiring in Malaysia

2. Employee Provident Fund contributions

Another crucial set of Malaysia budget 2024 highlights are pertaining to Malaysia’s Employee Provident Fund (EPF):

  • Under the EPF i-Saraan, which allows self-employed contributors without fixed incomes and gig workers to get government incentives for retirement, the government’s matching contribution limit will be increased to RM500 a year. The lifetime limit will be RM5,000.
  • The Malaysia budget will also see the creation of a flexible account for EFP contributors, allowing account holders to access it at any time.

3. Malaysia Budget 2024 brings new visas and passes to attract more talent, investors and tourists

  • Under the Malaysian Visa Liberalisation Plan, strategic investors will be able to get study passes.
  • Strategic investors will also face a much simpler approval process for employment pass (EP) applications.
  • International students will be able to apply for the Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP), allowing them to fill the demand for a bigger skilled workforce.
  • Better visa on arrival facilities, social visit passes and multiple entry visas to attract more tourists and investors to enter the country.

Read also: Labour Law Insider – APAC 2023 Q4 Legislation Update

4. More job opportunities and training programmes

  • All those appointed under MySTEP, which stands for Malaysian Short-Term Employment Programme, will be able to participate in a skills development programme under MyFutureJobs – a national job portal that is under SOCSO.
  • RM6.8 billion will be allocated towards improving Technical and Vocational Education and Training. From that amount, RM10 million will be spent on certifications for TVET graduates that are industry-recognised.
  • RM 1.6 billion will be spent to support HRD Corp’s retraining and skill enhancement efforts for SMEs and vulnerable demographics.
  • Micro-disabled entrepreneurs will benefit from a financial facility by Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) worth RM50 million.

5. Increased income tax exemptions

  1. The 2024 Malaysia budget has also introduced a series developments related to tax:
  • Another budget highlight under Bajet 2024 is that the income tax exemption for childcare allowances that are paid to employees or paid directly by employers will increase from RM2,400 or RM3,000.
  • Women going back to work after a career break can enjoy an income tax exemption which has now been extended until YA2028.

Read also: Form E and Form EA Guide for Malaysia Income Tax Filing + How to Overcome Common Filing Challenges

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