Saturday, 02 March 2013 16:38

(PJ Mar 2 News) YBAM URGE GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT FAST THE POLICY OF TAX-EXEMPTION ON RELIGIOUS. Since the announcement by PM on ‘Religious donation will be tax-exempted’ news in 2012 Budget session in the month of September 2011, YBAM welcomed the released announcement. Since then, Finance Ministry and IRB each separately in different time met up with various religious units to discuss and announce the implementation plans. Till now in the month of March 2013, one and a half years have gone by, how many religious organisations or person really benefit from this?

The concept initially announced by PM was so simple that as donor of school and religious bodies will enjoy certain tax rebate. Donations can be used for daily administration expenses. Such policy is to encourage more donations which benefit the organisations. Currently, many organisations are still left in the dark on the application process.

President Mr Goh Qing Song stated that on 29 May 2012 Finance Ministry and IRB briefed 200 Buddhist and Taoist representatives on tax amendments passed by the parliament. Each person just received a copy of Simplified version of Garis Panduan (see attachment Pg.1 and 2) where one clause states that the organisation must have the ‘house of worship’ sited on a religious land approved by local authority.

‘But actually it is done by way of temple or association in Malaysian non-Islamic places such Buddhist premises. Beside temple premise, you also find Buddhist society headed by lay person. How many of these non-Islamic places have religious lands approved by the government? Such kind of clause shows concerned authority has very limited understanding of present situation in non-Islamic organisations.

Due to the reason that the application procedure is too tedious and complex plus it received many complaints causing a lot of opposition voices. So much so that the department must review the procedure concerned.

Goh Qing Song indicated that the relevant government units should allow every proper religious body to apply successfully to become a tax-exempted unit in easier and faster, especially application procedure should be more convenient.

As such, except those short-listed certifiers, government should be action-oriented by helping issue certificate of admission to religious tax-exemption List to national bodies and let the national body to help government to recommend proper religious organisations which fulfil application guideline so as to become the benefactor.

On 25 August, 2012, YBAM officially written to deputy minister requesting to be a tax-free certifying unit. But did not received any response.

On 21 September 2012, a reminder sent to Dato’ Donald Lim requesting to be included in a tax-free certifying unit, with proposed amending 3 clauses (see enclosure: XXII/HQS/A01/038 ). However, no approval was received yet.

Till 14 January 2013, YBAM officially met deputy minister and IRB officer, again appeal to be a tax-free certifying unit which still has not received approval yet.

Since after PM announcement till now, many bodies still do not know how to apply? How many religious organizations benefited from this policy? How many people will receive tax rebate after donating to religious body?

YBAM urge government provide clear accurate statistics, simplify application procedure with clear direction and explanation including publicity. Government should be action-oriented by letting more body and individual donor who qualify to benefit.

Goh Qing Song: Being a national young Buddhist leading body with national influence, YBAM work hard in coordinating with 265 Member Organisations Nationwide, help member to obtain from government unit development plan and service, encourage youth learn Buddhism and training works with more effective push !

Sadly to say, no more latter news after spending time and energy in dealing with every party, YBAM has still not received any approval yet. Even though facing such unfavorable situation, last week YBAM also has written to his 263 member organisations nationwide, encouraging them to apply for being a tax-exempted unit. This will help member to obtain more welfare benefits, thereby encouraging more people donate to religious body.

In attendance: YBAM President Goh Qing Song, YBAM Deputy President Loh Yit Phing, YBAM Secretary General Wong Sook Kim, YBAM Advisor Dato’ Ang Choo Hong, MBCC President Eddie Wong, VBCM President Allan Koo, YBAM SLC Chairperson & YBAM National Councils.

YBAM will report progress, complaints, requests of the above application in a press conference. (Please see enclosed progress chart for details ).

News Background

Upon our enquiry with Deputy Finance Minister Dato’ Donald Lim Siang Chye’s Personal Assistant, Mr Soon replied that Inland Revenue Board (IRB) will draft a guideline.

Till 29 May, 2012, Finance ministry and IRB reported tax-amendments which were passed by Parliament to 200 Buddhist and Taoist reps. Every one of 200 attendees just received only one copy of the Simplified version of Garis Panduan (see attached Pg.1 & 2).

Since PM announced news of ‘Tax-exemption on Religious Donation’ in 2012 Budget in September 2011, but after a lapse of 8 months, then only use a first simplified version of guideline in reporting to Buddhist and Taoist bodies. While waiting for release of amended guideline, YBAM indicated wish to be a certified unit to the PA of deputy minister. But he responded no such application procedure yet.

Thus, YBAM on 25 August 2012 sent an official request letter to Dato’ Lim SC to self propose itself as one of tax-exemption certifying unit.

On 7 September, Deputy Finance Minister finally only discussed tax-exemption on devotee’s donation, and completing related guideline with MCCBCHST representatives. Meanwhile he also indicated only MCCBCHST member can become certifying unit, recommend body who fulfill conditions of application guideline to become benefitting unit.

On 14 January 2013, YBAM deputy president, sec-gen and others officially met with deputy minister and IRB officer again appeal to be a tax-free certifying unit. They again reject YBAM’s application based on the following reasons: 1. Basing on result of discussion with MCCBCHST on Sep 7 and 2. Late proposal. But actually YBAM already written to deputy minister proposing to be included into the list of certifying unit.

YBAM is a national body which consists of 263 member organizations. Sadly to say, after spending time and energy dealing with every party, applying, meeting and requesting to be certifying unit, there is still no approval yet.