No plan to implement GST, govt focusing on targeted subsidies - Ahmad Maslan

28 Nov 2023 01:07pm
Ahmad Maslan. Photo by Bernama
Ahmad Maslan. Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR - The government has no plan to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) this year and next year because it wants to focus on targeted subsidies first, said Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.

He said the government will implement the taxes as mentioned in Budget 2024 next year.

"Yes, we have to find income. So the SST tax is increased from six to eight per cent. Otherwise, how do we find income?

"One more thing, because we want to implement targeted subsidies, we will implement it on diesel first and then RON95. Because we are holding related matters (targeted subsidies), we will postpone (implementation of GST)," he said in Dewan Negara today in response to an additional question from Senator Datuk Sivaraj Chandran who wanted to know about the GST implementation plan and suggested that the GST be returned at a rate lower than six per cent.

Ahmad said he did not know when GST would be implemented in Malaysia, when 90 per cent of countries in the world had already implemented GST.

"Of course they have the finance ministry, of course they have the central bank, of course they have economic experts and all of them say that GST is better than sales and service tax (SST). Only Malaysia has reversed its thinking," he said.

Meanwhile, he said the government implemented a six per cent GST instead of three per cent at that time because if the government only imposed a three per cent tax then there would be no additional tax that the government could obtain.

"Malaysia is the only country that has implemented (GST) and then withdrawn it. These are all political reasons actually, not economic reasons. Before we have GST, we implemented SST, the good thing is that GST is only one tax, SST has two taxes," he said.

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He said that among other benefits of GST is that it can reduce the shadow economy -- before GST was implemented, 30 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was the shadow economy.

"When we implement GST, those two or three years can reduce by 10 per cent, so it results in profit-making countries and the shadow economy to remain at 20 per cent, although it should be less than that if we continue to implement GST," he said, adding that GST is not a tax on taxes.

He said, GST also reduces business costs because there is a 'tax refund' element which is the return of 'input tax' to companies and manufacturers, in addition to GST not being levied on exports.

"GST is a progressive tax, the meaning of this progressive tax is, the more we spend, the more money we have, the more tax we pay.

"GST has two rates which are zero rated and six per cent. Because there is a zero rated element, GST can help the people for example fresh food, food that people need is not subject to GST but SST now, many things have to be compared to SST. In summary, GST is much better from SST," he said. - BERNAMA