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Friday, November 15, 2013

`Data bank will stop price hikes'

Publication: NST
Date of publication: Nov 14, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 022
Byline / Author: By Lavanya Lingan; Sameer Ahmed Shaikh

THE government will set up a data bank to monitor the prices of goods and services once GST (Goods and Services Tax) is implemented.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Hasan Malek told the house yesterday that this would prevent traders from taking advantage of or abusing the system, which will come into effect in April 2015.

"The data bank can help the government in monitoring whether traders are up to their tricks or trying to reap excessive profits," said Hasan.

He added that laws, such as the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Acts, were sufficient to address any price hike.

Hasan said continuous campaigns to educate the public on GST would be conducted, with information continued to be shared and distributed so that the public would understand what GST was all about.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan lauded the setting up of the data bank, saying it would help consumers and the government to monitor the prices of goods and services.

Ahmad, when met at Parliament lobby, described the move as brilliant. He said any price hike once GSTwas enforced would be temporary, based on the experience of other countries that had carried out the system. He added that with technology, the data bank could be made available to consumers.

"Through this, consumers can access and make comparisons of prices on their mobile phones. And if they find that the prices are excessive, they can complain to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry."

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