1. A nationwide ban on smoking at all food establishments
Starting this year, smoking is banned in all restaurants, coffee shops, hawker centres, and even open-air eateries. Under the new ruling, those found smoking in prohibited areas will be fined RM250.
In fact, a 60-year-old hawker at the Bayan Baru Food Court was among the first to be slapped with the RM250 fine for lighting up on 1 January despite neighbouring hawkers warning him against it.
Besides tobacco products, vape and shisha with nicotine are also included in the ban.
2. Sales and Service Tax (SST) of 6% for digital products and services
The 6% tax, which has come into force from 1 January 2020, applies to any and all digital services provided by foreign companies regardless of whether they are for individual or business use.
According to Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah, examples of digital services include online music and online subscriptions like Spotify and Netflix, e-book subscriptions, e-marketplace platform usage, cloud computing-based subscription, and online computer software purchases.
The Star reported that the revenue collected from the 6% digital tax could be more than RM2.4 billion a year should all foreign digital service providers register for the digital service tax.
3. Mandatory child car seats for private vehicles
Under the Child Restraint Systems (CRS) guideline that was announced in October 2019, the enforcement of the installation of child car seats for private vehicles has now been made compulsory.
However, in the first six months, no summons will be issued for vehicles found without the CRS.
A guidebook called 'Buku Garis Panduan Kerusi Keselamatan Kanak-Kanak di Malaysia' (Guidelines for Child Restraint System in Malaysia) developed specifically by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) was launched last year.
The MIROS guidebook can be used by parents to help in identifying and installing the CRS.
4. A nationwide ban on plastic straws at all food establishments
While the ban was issued in 2019, there was a year-long grace period given for the implementation. In 2020, the ban will be enforced on traders and operators of food outlets. Eateries will now no longer be allowed to provide plastic straws for drinks to customers.
However, people who are disabled or with special needs will be exempted from the ban. Exemptions will also be given to straws which are not made from conventional plastic.
If you're looking for alternatives to the plastic straw, you can consider getting metal straws.
5. Implementation of the minimum wage increase
This year, workers in urban centres will see increased minimum wage from RM1,100 to RM1,200.
The minimum wage will be applicable to all workers in the private sector except for domestic service, as stipulated in the Minimum Wages Order 2018.
It takes effect in major towns under 57 city and municipality councils. Elsewhere, the minimum wage remains at RM1,100 a month for the rest of the country. Full list here.
6. Toll rates to be reduced by at least 18% across all PLUS highways
According to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, motorists stand to enjoy up to 18% discount on toll rates on the North-South Expressway with the government's proposed takeover of Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (PLUS).
For Penang, toll rates for the Second Penang Bridge will be reduced to RM7.