Date of publication: Oct 26, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 003
THE implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) of six per cent will strengthen the nation's economy, and will not bring a huge impact to the people, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said the GST, which will be implemented beginning April 1, 2015, would have a positive long-term effect on the country's economic growth.
"In the long run, the government will be able to manage the economy more effectively, which brings greater impact to the public.
"Many developed countries have implemented GST, and in the Asean region, we are the only one that has not implemented it.
"I think it is time that we followed suit," he said at Parliament lobby yesterday.
Muhyiddin said the government would ensure that the public received enough information on the implementation, and that all parties involved in the implementation received proper training before the implementation to minimise any shortcomings.
He said the tax rate of six per cent was not too high, and it was supported by the reduction of individual income tax of one to three per cent, 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M), and the one-off cash payment of RM300 per BR1M household, once the GST was implemented.
"These are very realistic approaches to ensuring the smooth implementation of GST.
"Replacing the sales and service tax with GST is a neutral move, and will not bring too huge of an impact, especially to the low- and middle-income groups."
Muhyiddin said daily essentials, such as food, health services, education, transportation and water, were exempted from the tax, thus matters of concern to the public were addressed.
"We have done thorough research.
"This move will strengthen the economy, Malaysia's (economic) rating will be at a good level and will result in foreign investors having higher confidence in us.
"If there are any views or suggestions on the GST, the government will always be ready to listen."
On the 2014 Budget as a whole, Muhyiddin said it gave attention to strengthening the economy, further reducing Malaysia's fiscal deficit and the country's enhancing economic resilience.
"I am happy that the Education Ministry has received a huge allocation of RM54.6 billion, which is 21 per cent of the Budget. I am also grateful that aid for students, such as book vouchers, are to be continued," said Muhyiddin, who is also education minister.
Muhyiddin said the newly-unveiled Budget was holistic and comprehensive, and all issues concerning the wellbeing of the rakyat, the economy, infrastructure, education and safety were addressed in detail.