‘Print media needs tax exemptions to survive’

22 May 2020 / 12:51 H.

PETALING JAYA: As a primary provider of credible news in a sea of information, players in the print media industry should receive tax exemptions to stay afloat in a challenging landscape.

At the “Will the Covid Pandemic Finally Kill the Print Media?” digital forum, industry experts said print media needs reliefs such as tax exemptions to overcome the economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founder and chief executive officer of Money Compass Media (MCM), Amy Seok, said tax relief is needed as profit margins for the print industry are very low.

“During the year when the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced, I had made pleas to the Finance Ministry to make the industry tax-exempt, but there was no response,” she said at the forum hosted by her organisation.

“Although we were struggling, many magazines chose to absorb the GST and maintained their prices for customers.”

MCM senior adviser Steve Teoh said tax exemptions would help the government’s initiatives to cultivate the reading habit among Malaysians.

“We could also engage private corporations to see if they would be interested in sponsoring efforts to revive the reading culture.”

Teoh added print organisations need to maintain their credibility and make an effort to be multilingual.

Founder and group chief executive officer of MyNews Holdings Bhd, Dang Tai Luk, said newspapers had been ahead of the times by starting door-to-door deliveries decades ago.

“For the food and beverage industry, home deliveries might be the new normal during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, newspapers have been doing this maybe even 100 years ago. Magazines and newspapers need to make a greater push for home deliveries again.

“To add value, get in touch with advertisers who would like to offer free samples, such as shampoo bottles and deliver them as free gifts with magazines.”

Dang said if changes are not made, retailers will soon be out of the game as sales of newspapers and magazines are dropping by up to 43% a year.

Ex-Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang urged the government to develop policies that push digital giants to share advertising revenue with media companies.

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‘Print media needs tax exemptions to survive’

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