Malaysian government puts premium on office air quality and cleanliness, extends tax rebate
Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has reminded employers to provide improved ventilation in their workplaces in cases of physical meetings.
"Employers: If you need to call for physical meetings, make sure you have improved ventilation in your office," he said in a tweet.
"You can qualify for a tax deduction for upgrading your office ventilation system," he added.
According to the minister, employers may avail the avail tax deduction of up to MYR300,000 for upgrading their office ventilation system, a benefit that he said has been extended until the end of 2022.
The benefit was first introduced in the 2021 budget between March 1 and December 31 of last year, according to a report from Channel News Asia.
The minister previously urged employers to come up with flexible working arrangements for staff and provide them with "high-quality" masks and tests.
"I think we should encourage people to go for high-quality masks, either N95 or the KF94 that I'm wearing, or use the cloth mask with a surgical mask underneath, that is still okay," said Khairy as quoted by Code Blue.
In terms of flexible working arrangements, the minister recommended remote work or having rotations among employees on-site to minimise the impact of the Omicron variant in the country.
According to Khairy, it will reduce mobility over the next few weeks and will help the government have more control over the Omicron situation.
A survey from Savills Malaysia late last year revealed that 81% of Malaysians still believe that office is still a necessity for a company to operate successfully.
Inside the physical office, majority of the employees said that they value air quality and cleanliness while on site.
"This underlines that should an organisation in Malaysia wish to adopt agile working arrangements, these are some of the areas that need to be addressed and incorporated in their engagement exercise," the report read.
The same study revealed that 45% of Malaysians want to work remotely between two and three days, while choices of pure office work and pure remote work are preferred by about 15% of respondents each.