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Friday, November 1, 2013

GST – What little we know about it

by Amy Dangin and Therenes Voo. Posted on November 1, 2013, Friday

KOTA KINABALU: Many are still unclear about what the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is all about, much less as to how it will benefit the economy and consequently the people once it is fully implemented.

A random survey shows the public at large are very much in the dark about the consumption tax announced by the Prime Minister in the Budget 2014.

Frederick Enggon, a 28-year-old semi-government employee, said although little is known about the yet-to-be-implemented GST, the notion about tax is that it is often a burden.

“It is said that the GST will benefit the people, but not many of us really know how that will happen. With the negative connotation related to tax, people will often assume that it will burden them and could not really understand how it can be beneficial instead.

“I reckon the government will elaborate in detail how the GST is going to benefit the economy and the people. If it’s going to be for the greater good, then I don’t see the need to disagree with it,” commented Frederick.

Rinto Marcus, 34, also a semi-government employee, suggested an awareness programme on the GST should be carried out for all levels of people to understand more about the move to implement it.

“It should be that the public is educated about the GST prior to announcing its implementation. Although some time is given before it is actually implemented, not knowing or having some understanding about the tax will give the public cause to presume that its effects would be mostly negative,” said Rinto.

Civil servants, Jainon and Shahrul, both opined that any move will have its pros and cons, including the implementation of GST.

“We’ve heard about it in the news but what is GST? If it’s a kind of tax then surely it will burden the people, especially the middle income and low income earners. Unless there is an increase in the current salary rates to match the implementation of GST, then it could be bad for the people,” they said.

Bank executive, Nuraida Khalid, 28, echoed the opinion that there will be pros and cons in implementing the GST.

“It might benefit some people and on the other hand, burden other people. I guess it depends on which industry they are involved in. But it would be best if studies and research are done before and after the implementation, to see how it will actually benefit the people and the country,” said Nuraida.

Thirty-year-old tutor, Carolyine Chau, said that if the GST implementation is going to make goods and services cost more than they are now, it will only mean bad for the people.

“What I understand about GST is that it would replace the existing government sales and services taxes, which are charged separately, and by combining both to become GST it presumably means that consumers will pay less once GST is implemented. But I’m not too sure about it.”

Ashley Thien, 33, a private sector employee, has a better understanding about GST than most of the public. However, he is in doubt as to whether the revenue collected through the tax would truly benefit the people and the economy.

“From my understanding, GST is meant to streamline taxation, meaning that it is done to deter people from escaping to pay taxes. So, it is taxed at every tier from the manufacturer to the end-user. It may not be a popular move to take, but it is something that is needed to help Malaysia achieve a developed nation status. The move will definitely collect some revenue for the government, and if the revenue is being used properly for the people and the country, it will do all of us some good,” said Ashley.

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