PUTRAJAYA: The donations by the people and companies to the ‘Tabung Harapan Malaysia’ trust fund to help the government pay its debt are tax deductible, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday.
“So, please retain the receipt as required under Subsection 44 (6) of the Income Tax Act 1967. You will get a tax benefit based on the amount of the donation… dollar for dollar… no cap,” he said at a press conference at the Finance Ministry here.
In a statement issued yesterday, Lim said the fund, which was launched on Wednesday, had collected RM7.08 million as of 3 pm yesterday. Speaking at the press conference, he acknowledged that it would be difficult to collect up to RM1 trillion but said that the government did not mind the amount because it was a spontaneous response of the people who wanted to contribute to help the Federal government reduce its debt.
“In addition to demonstrating their love for the country, the people were also expressing their anger over what had happened and wanted to strive together to reduce the national debt,” he said.
Lim said the fund would remain open until the government decided to stop accepting donations.
“We will ensure that every transaction from the fund is audited internally and by the auditor general,” he said.
On the comments by certain quarters that collecting donations in this way would indicate that the country was in a critical condition financially, Lim said that was the view of certain quarters.
“I feel that if the people want to demonstrate their love for the country, that is a channel and expression which I feel is most meaningful because everyone can contribute,” he said.
Citing South Korea as an example, he said the people of that country had done a similar thing and that it did not affect the economic growth.
“In fact, they used it as a programme for the people to show their love for the country. Now, that country is far more advanced than Malaysia. I feel this donation will not have any (adverse) effect on Malaysia,” he said.
In his statement, Lim said Malaysians had taken their patriotism to greater heights as they were willing to part with their allowances and spare cash to help in rebuilding the country.
“As this involves funds donated by the rakyat, the government is committed to being transparent with every sen received.
“Therefore, the amount collected will be updated daily on the Ministry of Finance’s website and its social media platforms,” he said. – Bernama