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Friday, October 25, 2013

Create public awareness on GST, Government urged

Published: Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM 
Updated: Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 7:42:09 AM

THE Government has been urged to put in place a proper mechanism to carry out public awareness programmes before implementing the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST).

MCA Young Professional Bureau chairman Datuk Chua Tee Yong said the Government should also not rush to implement the GST as it would create discomfort and discontent among the rakyat.

“There must be sufficient transition period for businesses to prepare while consumers must be made aware of the impact of the GST and what items are subjected to it,” he told a press conference in the Parliament lobby yesterday.

He said this was crucial as a recent survey revealed that 80% of businesses were not fully ready for GST while most consumers were still in the dark as to what goods and services would be taxable.

Although agreeing that the GST is a more transparent and accountable consumption taxation system that would benefit the nation, he proposed that exemption be made for essential goods and services so as not to burden the lower income group.

He also said that there was a risk of prices of goods and services going up including profiteering once GST replaces sales tax.

“Not many are aware that there is a 10% sales tax on carbonated can drinks while a 5% sales tax on biscuits.

“The Government must ensure that there is no addition to this if the GST is implemented,” he said, adding that personal and corporate taxes should also be lowered.

He also proposed that the Government provide funds to train staff of small and medium businesses to be GST compliant including providing accounting software for the purpose.

On claims by certain quarters that the GST would “burden the poor and benefit the rich”, Chua said this was inaccurate as it was a consumption tax that taxed those who spent more.

He suggested that GST be capped at not more than 7% at the initial stage to avoid teething problems.

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