BUDGET 2017 COMMENT Malaysian Investment Banking Association Chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim

We wish to extend our appreciation to the Government for its commitment in ensuring the economy continues to expand at a healthy pace, and at the same time reduce the fiscal deficit and address the public debt with the overall objective of bringing prosperity to the nation and promoting the well-being of the Rakyat.

We appreciate the Government’s efforts to further invigorate the Capital Market by introducing the Small and Mid-Cap PLC Research Scheme with the aim to conduct research on 300 companies. Capital Market Research Institute will be established with initial funding of RM75 million, provided through Capital Market Development Fund. Also, the Government-linked investment companies will allocate a special fund up to RM3 billion to licensed fund managers to invest in potential small and midcap companies. Such measure will improve capital market transactions and banks non-interest income.

The Budget 2017 has also proposed to strengthen PR1MA House Financing Scheme by announcing 1Malaysia People's Housing (PR1MA) House End-Financing Scheme. This scheme will be offered by four financial institutions comprising of CIMB, Maybank, RHB and AmBank in collaboration with EPF and Government with the aim to assist low to middle income groups earning between RM2,500 to RM10,000 per month to acquire their first homes. It is through the special stepped-up feature for the financing allowing servicing of only interest by borrowers for the first 5 or 10 years of the loan tenure to be followed by a principal and interest repayment for the balance of the tenure. This measure is to improve the affordability of low to middle income for first time home buyers.

In an effort to encourage youths to embark on long-term investment through the Private Retirement Scheme, the Government unveiled a one-off increase of the existing RM500 incentive to RM1,000 to the Private Retirement Scheme contributors with a minimum accumulated investment of RM1,000 during the period of two years. Such measure will provide opportunities and inculcate the importance of saving by the youths from an early age to ensure sufficient savings after retirement.

To further boost the contribution of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Government unveiled a new scheme specifically for the year of assessment 2017 and 2018 which offers a reduction by stages based on a percentage increase in income compared to the previous year of assessment. Other measures includes export promotion programmes through MATRADE, MIDA and SME Corp, loan financing and insurance credit facilities, 2% rebate on interest rates charges, tax reduction on chargeable income up to the first RM500,000 from 19% to 18% effective next year, revitalizing eUsahawan and eRezeki programmes and introducing new and various entrepreneurship programmes.

We are pleased to note that the Government is also placing priority on empowering human capital which is a critical factor for the future of the nation and placing priority on addressing the rising cost of living for the Rakyat, especially the low-and middle-income groups. To cushion the burden of the Rakyat, the Government continues to provide various assistances and incentives to the targeted groups.