Financial institutions told to undertake CSR for the rakyat instead of windfall tax, says Ahmad Maslan

KUALA LUMPUR: Financial institutions will have to undertake corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes for the rakyat instead of having a windfall tax imposed on them, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (pic).

The Deputy Finance Minister said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was likely to announce the CSR programmes in Parliament later this week.

“There was no mention of a windfall tax in Budget 2023 but the Finance Minister (Anwar) ordered the banking institutions to undertake CSR programmes for the rakyat, particularly for the B40 group.

“This is a form of aid that will be announced.

“It is likely that the Finance Minister will announce what the CSR are when he winds up debates (on the budget) at the policy stage,” Ahmad said when replying a supplementary question raised by Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semprona) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (March 6).

Shafie asked if a windfall tax would be imposed on financial institutions which had made huge profits in recent years.

He raised the issue of the windfall in light of the rise in the overnight policy rates (OPR) by financial institutions.

Budget 2023 was tabled on Feb 24 with six days set aside for debates before replies by Anwar this coming Wednesday (March 8) and Thursday (March 9).

Earlier, Shaharizukirnain Abd Kadir (PN-Setiu) asked if the government would play a role in fixing the OPR and not leave the responsibility to the banks.

Shaharizukirnain said that the OPR was not only affecting individual borrowers but also those in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

“This coming Thursday and Friday (March 10), there will be meetings (by Bank Negara).

“We hope..and as I said, hope, that there will be no changes to the 2.75% OPR,” Ahmad said in response.

He acknowledged that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the manufacturing sector were affected by the OPR.

In light of this, he said that RM40bil was set aside under the Budget 2023 to assist the SMEs.

Earlier, Ahmad also acknowledged worries by the rakyat over the repayment of their bank loans in light of rising OPR.

However, he said that not all borrowers are affected by the OPR, only those whose loans are based on floating interest rates.

He noted that as of December last year, 50.3% of household borrowings were those involving fixed interest rates, representing 6.4 million accounts.

He added that some 3.5 million accounts or 54.8% were those earning less than RM5,000 a month, or in the B40 group, that had taken loans with fixed interest rates.

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