Saturday, April 30, 2016

About Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) and its funds performance at end of April 2016

Launched in 2012, the Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) is a voluntary (non-compulsory) retirement scheme in Malaysia for employees and also self employed to have another option of forced saving for their retirement.

In order to encourage savings under PRS, Malaysian government granted personal income tax relief of up to RM3,000 for individuals tax payers from their PRS savings amount deposited during the taxation year. 

Employers are also provided with tax deduction on contributions to the PRS on behalf of their employees above the statutory rate of 19%.

Note that this income tax relief for PRS is available for 10 years only, from tax assessment year 2012 until 2021.

Also note that the sales and admin charges deducted from your PRS contribution is not eligible for tax relief, you can only claim the amount from your net PRS contribution done within the year, up to RM3,000 per year.

Your PRS contributions will be deposited into your Private Pension Administrator (PPA) account, after your PRS fund provider deducted the sales and admin charges.

Your money in your PPA account is split into 2 sub-accounts (a bit similar to your EPF account). Once your money is parked in your PPA account, you can forget about it until you finally retire, because:
  • 70% of your fund is parked in Sub-account A, which cannot be withdrawn until you retired.
  • 30% of your fund is parked in Sub-account B, which you can only withdrawn once a year, and subject to an 8% tax penalty on the withdrawal amount.
Your money in PPA account is then allocated for investment by your fund manager with your selected fund scheme, which could be of category of growth, moderate or conservative.

There is no guarantee that your PRS fund will give you return. In fact, you can also lose money if your fund is not performing!

How is the performance of the available PRS funds so far?

Morningstar is tracking the PRS funds performance (there are 79 of them as at 30 April 2016) on a day-to-day basis.

As of today (30 April 2016), only 19 or 24% out of the total 79 PRS funds have made a positive year to date return. AmPRS - Asia Pacific REITs is the champion with 4.79% return YTD.

Those 19 PRS funds that have positive return year to date, and their YTD return are as below:

(Screen captured from Morningstar's PRS fund performance tracking website, double click on image to enlarge)

The worst PRS fund performer YTD, CIMB Islamic PRS Plus Asia Pacific Ex Japan Equity fund, has caused a 8.92% lost in 4 months time.

Anyhow, YTD return is for monitoring of latest return performance of the funds. If you see your fund continuously not performance well over a couple of months, you should consider switching over to another fund that is performing well over the same period of time.

Now, let's look at their full year return in 2015. There are a total of 75 PRS funds active in year 2015, and 74 of them had brought positive return, only 1 has lost money.

The champion in 2015 is AmPRS - Islamic Equity Fund with a return of 16.3%. The top 10 PRS funds in 2015 are:

And the bottom 10 PRS funds in 2015 are:

So, does it worth to lock down your money in PRS, and put it in the hand of your PRS fund managers to bring return or lost to you? You decide.

Friday, April 29, 2016

U Mobile attacked competitors again with free video streaming on top of existing data quota

If you have a smartphone or tablet attached with U Mobile postpaid and prepaid service, and you have been using it to watch online videos, here is a good news to you.

U Mobile has just launched their Video-Onz service, providing free additional quota on top of existing data plan for you to watch videos using the apps from the following 12 providers:

  • YouTube
  • YouTube Gaming
  • Youku Tudou
  • iflix
  • Astro on the Go
  • HyppTV Everywhere
  • Viu
  • Eros Now
  • tonton
  • Herotalkies
  • ONFM
  • Pocketimes

This mean that when you are watching videos with these apps, you are given additional quota on top of your existing Internet data quota for the video streaming, for free by U Mobile under the Video-Onz service.

The monthly allocation of the free Video-Onz video streaming quota on top of the existing Internet data quota of various U Mobile postpaid and prepaid plans is as below:

There is no Video-Onz quota imposed for P70, i90 and i130 postpaid plans, meanings you can watch videos or movies with the above 12 video streaming apps as much as you wish, as there is unlimited Video-Onz data for these plans. 

Nowadays U Mobile marketing is really aggressive in capturing the market share by providing competitive package that really can shake and disrupt its competitors, which is a good news for all mobile consumers in Malaysia.

Let's see what will Celcom and Digi offer to counter attack this. Maxis? Maybe their customers need to cry and scream and swear for another time again for them to finally react.

Meanwhile, the P1 (now known as Webe) under TM has been making a lot of hoo-haa recently, but until today the general public is still unclear about what they are going to offer to join this intensified competition.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Earth Day and the story of bottled water

We've just celebrated our Earth Day on 22nd April. This event has once again brought some world attention to the story of bottled water, with a video produced back in 2010.

Here is the video, which has been viewed over 4.7 millions time in YouTube:

So, what's wrong with the bottled water? It is a multi-billion business, sold 290 billion liters in 2014 and expected to continue growing at a CAGR of around 8.5% between 2015 and 2020.

Well, we are told that about half of the bottled water is sourced from tap water, and priced a few hundreds time the price of tap water. It is expensive, sometimes even more expensive than petrol.

Another half is sourced from underground or spring water. What will be the impact to the environment when millions of gallons of water is extracted away 24x7 everyday? Will it change the soil moisture, deplete the wetlands and narrow out the rivers? Will it in turn affect the surrounding ecology, and the aquaculture and agriculture condition?

Anyhow, the main issue is more on the plastic bottle itself than the water contained in it. In order to manufacture the plastic bottle, millions barrels of fossil fuel is consumed, and another millions tonnes of carbon dioxide is generated.

Each year, more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter, or worse still, floating in the sea endangering the birds, fishes and other ocean animals. Only less than 20% of plastic the water bottles are actually recycled.
In the United States of America, selling of bottled water is banned in more and more schools and colleges, and even parks.

Therefore, to save our earth and its environment, we should only drink bottled water when necessary, and not to substitute our daily drinking water with it. We should resume our traditional way of drinking filtered or boiled tap water, and use reusable water container to carry some water with us for outdoor drinking.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Negative interest rate - get paid from borrowing and get charged from saving

If you think that you can earn some interest by depositing your money in bank, and you will be charged with interest for borrowing money from bank, you have to reverse your mind-set in certain places that are having negative interest rate policy now.

I'm not kidding. The European Central Banks (ECB), Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden are already having negative interest rate for quite some times. Lately, Japan has joint the league too!

(Chart produced by Toronto Star)

The ECB started this game by charging banks that hold their cash overnight and at the same time offering a premium to banks that borrow in order to extend more loans.

During economic uncertainty time, people tend to be conservative with spending and/or investing and more keen to hoard money in their bank accounts. They are willing to do so even with zero interest rate. This brings the danger of deflation, and as an extreme measure to counter this situation, the banks started to "punish" people that keep money in their bank accounts by charging interest instead of giving interest, and to encourage people to take up loan for business and investment activities by giving interest instead of charging interest.

When this negative interest situation occurs, the traditionally safe havens to put your money, namely bank deposit and bond market, will become the places that most likely cause you to lose money. Yes, fixed deposit is dangerous, bond market is dangerous, because your money will go down the drain if you put it there, in the era of negative interest rate.

However, this measure doesn't seem to be effective to stimulate the economy, as people there are still very cautious and tend to hoard with their money. With the negative interest rate, they are forced to take out their money from bank deposit account, and then they are keeping the money in their drawer or safe instead of spending it. (Reuters: Negative ECB rates fuel demand for safe deposit boxes, German banks say)

The impose of negative interest rate in Eurozone and Japan has shown unfavourable sign of worldwide economy. What will be next after quantitative easing and negative interest rate? If there is no more option ahead, we can foresee a huge economic catastrophe forming and will hit all of us at anytime.

Are you prepared for it? And the question is: how to get prepared for it?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Income tax declaration of property rental - which expenses are deductible and which are not?

For most property owners in Malaysia who rented out their property, the rental collected from tenant is regarded as a non-business source of income and therefore is charged to the owner's income tax under section 4(d) of the Income Tax Act, 1967.

The amount of property rental income need to be declared is the gross rental income deducted by certain expenses incurred by the property in order to generate the rental.

The expenses that are income tax deductible including:

  • Assessment
  • Quit rent
  • Property loan interest
  • Fire insurance premium
  • Expenses on rental collection
  • Expenses on rental renewal, including the stamp duty
  • Expenses on repairs and maintenance
  • Expenses on replacement of rental assets
  • Property service charges, maintenance fees, sinking fund, and Indah Water bills
  • Legal expenses on renewal of tenancy agreement, recovery of rental arrears, etc. 
  • Expenses on pest control
  • Property agent fees/commission to renew the tenancy
The expenses that are not income tax deductible are initial expenses before the property is rented out, including:
  • Advertising cost to get the tenant
  • Property agent fees/commission to obtain the tenant
  • Legal cost and stamp duty for initial tenancy agreement
  • Expenses on renovation and improvement to get higher rental or to be more attractive to potential tenant
If the total rental income received is less than the total deductible expenses for the year, which shows that you have rental income loses instead of rental income gains for the year, then your taxable rental income for that particular year will be zero.

Note that rental income losses cannot be used to offset your other taxable statutory income of the year. The losses also cannot be carried forward to the next taxation year.

For more comprehensive information, you can refer to LHDN Malaysia Public Ruling No. 4/2011 : Income From Letting of Real Property.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.