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Friday, November 22, 2013

GST: Dewan Ulamak gesa ulama haraki bangkit


NOV 21, 2013 HARAKAHDAILY

SHAH ALAM: Krisis kewangan yang sedang dihadapi kerajaan mendesak mereka mengemukakan sistem baru percukaian yang dinamakan GST (Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan) yang bakal dikenakan kepada seluruh lapisan masyarakat tanpa mengira miskin atau kaya bermula pertengahan 2015 nanti.

“Dalam situasi ini Ulamak Haraki perlu bangkit menegaskan prinsip-prinsip percukaian dalam Islam yang memberi keadilan kepada seluruh rakyat,” tegas Ketua Dewan Ulamak PAS Pusat, Ustaz Datuk Harun Taib dalam ucaptama pada muktamar tahunan dewan itu kali ke-52 di Dewan Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam, di sini pagi ini.

Teks beliau dibacakan timbalannya, Ustaz Datuk Ahmad Yakob pada muktamar yang bertemakan ‘Ulama Haraki Menangani Fasad Mengisi Kemenangan’.

Jelasnya, prinsip-prinsip percukaian islam adalah:

1. Cukai hanya boleh diambil di saat kerajaan benar-benar berhadapan situasi yang sangat memerlukan iaitu kewangan negara tidak cukup menampung perbelanjaan mengurus dan pembangunan negara.

2. Disyaratkan pula keperluan kewangan itu berlaku bukan kerana ketirisan dalam perbelanjaan atau pemborosan.

3. Apabila cukai dikenakan ia tidak boleh meliputi seluruh masyarakat tanpa membezakan kaya atau miskin. Kaedah cukai ialah diambil daripada orang-orang kaya dan diberikan untuk kegunaan orang-orang miskin.

Beliau berkata, antara ciri penting negara Islam ialah merupakan negara hidayah bukan negara jibayah (cukai). 

Jelasnya, di zaman Umar bin Abdul Aziz menjadi Khalifah beliau berjaya memulihkan krisis kewangan negara dalam masa dua tahun. 

Katanya, kesedaran rakyat yang kaya dibangkitkan sehingga mereka berlumba-lumba membayar zakat dan cukai negara. 

“Berbeza hari ini rakyat mencari jalan dan alasan meloloskan diri daripada cukai negara sehinggakan kerajaan kerugian cukai berjuta-juta ringgit,” ujarnya. 

Kesannya, kata beliau di zaman Umar bin Abdul Aziz rakyat miskin yang ingin menerima bantuan sangat sukar dicari berbanding hari ini rakyat miskin yang memerlukan bantuan mencari-cari dan menagih bantuan kerajaan.

Kecurangan ekonomi negara berulang saban tahun


NOV 22, 2013 HARAKAHDAILY

SHAH ALAM: Kecurangan terhadap ekonomi negara berulang saban tahun dan bukti kelemahan serius pengurusan kerajaan BN didedahkan berulang ganti melalui Laporan Ketua Audit Negara, tegas Presiden PAS, datuk Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang.

"PAS berpandangan bahawa perkara sebegini berlaku kerana wujudnya tangan-tangan ghaib yang lebih tinggi dan lebih berkuasa, yang bertindak mengatur segala operasi perolehan dan pengurusan kerajaan, lantas membenarkan penyelewangan dan pembaziran berterusan berlaku dengan terang dan nyata," ujarnya ketika membentangkan ucapan dasar pada Muktamar Tahunan PAS Pusat ke-59, dekat sini, pagi tadi.

Beliau memberi contoh penurunan penarafan Malaysia sebagai A minus (A-) dari ‘Stabil’ pada bulan Julai kepada ‘Negatif ‘ oleh Fitch Rating, sebuah Badan Penarafan Antarabangsa di Hong Kong.

Implikasi penurunan ‘penarafan’ itu, ujarnya akan menekan kos pinjaman seperti bon dan negara kehilangan tarikan sebagai destinasi pelaburan.

"Penyakit ini adalah secara khususnya berpunca dari tadbir-urus kewangan negara yang tidak pruden atau bijak. Kerajaan BN khasnya di bawah pentadbiran sekarang mesti bertanggungjawab," tegasnya.

Menyentuh pembentangan Bajet 2014 oleh Perdana Menteri, Ustaz Abdul Hadi berkata tiada tindakan menyeluruh dalam membaiki ‘kedudukan fiskal-kewangan’ negara yang semakin kritikal.

Beliau turut mempersoalkan tindakan kerajaan BN yang memaksa rakyat menanggung beban kemelesetan ekonomi sedangkan pada masa yang sama kerajaan terus mengamalkan penyelewengan dan pembaziran.

"Mengapa rakyat yang perlu menanggung beban sedangkan kerajaan langsung tidak sensitif. Malah dalam ruang lingkup yang lebih besar, lebih banyak faedah yang boleh direalisasikan oleh kerajaan dan rakyat sekiranya kerajaan bersungguh membasmi penyelewengan dan rasuah.

"Ini kerana mengikut perangkaan Bank Dunia, rasuah dan penyelewengan boleh menjejaskan 30% daripada KDNK sesebuah negara.

"Jesteru, inilah yang sepatutnya menjadi keutamaan kerajaan dan bukannya menekan rakyat terlebih dahulu," ujarnya.

Ustaz Abdul Hadi turut menyifatkan Cukai Jualan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) yang bakal dilaksanakan kerajaan BN pada 2015 sebagai cukai yang "berselindung di bawah takrif keadilan yang sarat dengan kezaliman".

PAS ujarnya, konsisten menentang perlaksanaan GST kerana ia boleh melemahkan masa depan ekonomi negara melalui cukai dan melemahkan kuasa beli rakyat sedangkan ketirisan dan penyalahgunaan dana negara masih berleluasa.

Beliau turut mendesak kerajaan supaya tidak menandatangani Perjanjian Perkongsian Negara-Negara Rentas Pasifik (TPPA) memandangkan perjanjian perdagangan bebas pelbagai hala yang dianggotai 12 negara rantau Pasifik itu lebih menjaga kepentingan Amerika Syarikat.

"PAS melihat bahawa jika sekiranya kerajaan Malaysia menandatangani perjanjian TPPA ini, maka ianya bakal mengundang mudarat yang jauh lebih besar daripada manfaat kepada rakyat negara ini," tegasnya.

Pakatan backs PAS’ stand to oppose GST


Published: Friday November 22, 2013 MYT 2:25:00 PM 
Updated: Friday November 22, 2013 MYT 3:11:51 PM
Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang delivering his speech at PAS’
59th Muktamar in Stadium Malawati on Friday.
SHAH ALAM: Pakatan Rakyat leaders fully supported Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's criticism of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which the PAS president likened to a mere "painkiller" for the Government while it continues to misuse public funds. 

DAP deputy chairman Tan Kok Wai said Abdul Hadi covered a few topics of interest in his policy speech at the PAS muktamar held at the Malawati Stadium, here. 

"We agree with his stand to oppose the GST, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and to promote education for all. 

"We have no problems with the policies mentioned by him," he said when met on the sidelines of the PAS muktamar on Friday. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced in his Budget 2014 speech that the GST would be introduced on April 1, 2015, at a rate of 6%. 

The GST would replace the sales and services taxes, which would be abolished. 

Tan said the DAP was also agreeable to Abdul Hadi upholding the position of Islam as the country's official religion, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. 

"DAP hopes that PAS will play a more progressive and dynamic role in promoting political cooperation in Pakatan so that it will be a more powerful force to take on Barisan Nasional in the next general election," he said. 

In his speech, Abdul Hadi said PAS was consistent in opposing the implementation of the GST because it would weaken the economy via a taxation system that lowers the spending power of the people. 

The PAS leader also said the GST was just a "painkiller" for the Government by making the people pay while leakages and misuse of public funds continued to be rampant. 

PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the Opposition pact was united in opposing the GST as discussed in its meetings. 

On Abdul Hadi urging the Government not to sign agreements which goes against Islam and promoted "immoral activities", she said Pakatan had to discuss the matter in coming up with a common ground. Abdul Hadi had urged the Government against signing the human rights agreement deemed to be clashing with Islamic principles.

GST sumbang RM21 bilion



Antara barangan asas yang dikecualikan cukai barang dan perkhidmatan ialah
beras, gula, garam, tepung, minyak masak, kacang dal, rempah ratus, ikan masin,
cencaluk, budu dan belacan. - GAMBAR HIASAN
SHAH ALAM 21 Nov. - Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia menjangka untuk mengutip tambahan RM5 bilion hingga RM6 bilion dalam cukai setahun sebaik sahaja cukai barang dan perkhidmatan (GST) dikuatkuasakan pada 2015.

Timbalan Pengarah Kanan (Bahagian GST), Mohd. Sabri Saad, berkata GST akan menggantikan cukai jualan dan perkhidmatan (SST) sekarang, yang menyumbang antara RM16 bilion dan RM17 bilion dalam pendapatan kepada kerajaan setiap tahun.

Beliau berkata, pada keseluruhannya GST dijangka menyumbang kira-kira RM21 bilion kepada kerajaan.

"Perlaksanaan itu sepatutnya tidak membebankan rakyat kerana ia bukan cukai baharu tetapi menggantikan SST. Hanya barang dan perkhidmatan yang tidak dicukai sebelum ini akan mendapat kesan satu kali dari segi harga," kata Mohd Sabri.

Mohd Sabri berkata demikian kepada pemberita selepas taklimat GST oleh Kastam Diraja Malaysia, Wilayah Persekutuan untuk media dan wakil daripada Persatuan Pengguna Malaysia dan persatuan artis Seniman.

Beliau berkata selepas perlaksanaan GST, Indeks Harga Pengguna (IHP) dijangka meningkat sedikit.

Sebagai sebahagian daripada program reformasi cukai kerajaan, GST adalah lebih cekap, berkesan, mesra perniagaan, telus dan berupaya menjana lebih banyak sumber perolehan yang stabil, kata beliau.

Mengenai isu peningkatan harga akibat pengambilan untung, Ahmad Sabri berkata, kerajaan akan menggunakan Akta Kawalan Harga dan Anti Pencatutan 2010 untuk mengekang masalah ini.

"Program kesedaran akan dilaksanakan ke atas GST dan bimbingan pembeli akan dikeluarkan tiga bulan sebelum pelaksanaan GST," katanya.

© Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd

Pekeliling panduan harga dikeluarkan


2013/11/22 - 05:07:34 AM 
Pengguna boleh memantau jika terdapat peningkatan harga barangan atau
perkhidmatan yang tidak selaras dengan perubahan harga yang disenaraikan. - Gambar hiasan
Kastam maklum pada orang ramai babitkan 925 item sebelum, selepas GST dilaksana

Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia akan mengeluarkan senarai pekeliling panduan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan membabitkan 925 item dalam tempoh tiga bulan sebelum pelaksanaan Cukai Barang dan Perkhidmatan (GST) pada 1 April 2015. 

Penolong Kanan Pengarah Kastam II, Mohammad Sabri Saad, berkata senarai panduan itu penting untuk memaklumkan kepada orang ramai mengenai perubahan harga sebelum dan selepas GST dikenakan ke atas barangan dan perkhidmatan yang lazim digunakan. 

Beliau berkata, ia akan menjadi garis panduan kepada orang ramai untuk melihat peratusan peningkatan atau penurunan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan apabila GST dilaksanakan kelak.

Katanya, harga barangan dan perkhidmatan akan mengalami perubahan susulan pengenalan kadar GST pada enam peratus berbanding cukai jualan dan perkhidmatan (SST) semasa pada kadar 10 peratus dan enam peratus.

Pengguna boleh pantau

“Senarai panduan itu juga membolehkan pengguna memantau jika terdapat peningkatan harga barangan atau perkhidmatan yang tidak selaras dengan perubahan harga yang terdapat dalam senarai itu. 

“Jika terdapat kenaikan harga yang melampau, orang ramai boleh membuat aduan kepada pihak berkuasa untuk mengambil tindakan kepada peniaga atau penyedia perkhidmatan yang berbuat demikian,” katanya pada sidang media selepas menyampaikan taklimat mengenai “Pelaksanaan GST : Menjamin Kesejahteraan Rakyat” di Shah Alam semalam.

Mohammad Sabri berkata, pelaksanaan GST membolehkan Jabatan Kastam mengutip cukai tambahan berjumlah antara RM5 bilion hingga RM6 billion setahun berbanding pelaksanaan sistem SST.

Beliau berkata, menerusi SST, jabatan itu berjaya mengutip cukai tahunan berjumlah antara RM16 bilion hingga RM17 bilion.

Mohammad Sabri menegaskan, pelaksanaan GST tidak akan membebankan rakyat terutama golongan berpendapatan rendah kerana barangan keperluan dikecualikan GST.

Lagipun, katanya, GST bukan sistem cukai baru sebaliknya ia adalah menggantikan sistem cukai SST.

“Saya tidak nafikan akan ada peningkatan dari segi Indeks Harga Pengguna (IHP) apabila GST diperkenalkan kerana terdapat sesetengah barangan dan perkhidmatan yang ketika ini tidak dikenakan cukai akan dikenakan cukai yang mana akan memberi kesan kenaikan sekali saja dari segi harga,” katanya.

Susun semula cukai

Mohammad Sabri juga menjelaskan bahawa pengenalan GST adalah sebahagian daripada usaha penyusunan semula cukai oleh kerajaan dan ia lebih berkesan, cekap, mesra perniagaan, telus dan mampu menjana sumber pendapatan yang lebih stabil.

Beliau menegaskan hanya perniagaan dengan jualan kasar lebih RM500,000 setahun saja dikenakan GST sementara perniagaan kecil-kecilan dikecualikan cukai itu.

Mengenai isu peningkatan harga melampau, Mohammad Sabri berkata, kerajaan akan menggunakan Akta Kawalan Harga dan AntiPencatutan 2010 untuk membendung perkara itu.

'Kadar tarif elektrik kekal'


2013/11/22 - 04:27:49 AM

Kuala Lumpur: Kerajaan tidak melihat sebarang keperluan untuk menaikkan kadar tarif elektrik berikutan kestabilan harga minyak dunia.

Timbalan Menteri Kewangan, Datuk Ahmad Maslan, berkata harga runcit petrol dan diesel dunia kekal di bawah paras AS$100 dolar satu tong. 

“Kalau minyak sedang turun, kenapa pula nak kaji tarif elektrik. Kita tak boleh kata apa sekiranya perkara ini belum lagi jadi, lagipun saya tidak diberikan apa-apa taklimat mengenai tarif elektrik akan naik, selalunya kementerian kewangan akan dipanggil,” katanya ketika diminta mengulas mengenai kajian tarif elektrik yang sedang dijalankan Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air. 

Menerusi kenyataan media sebelum ini, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) bergantung sebanyak 70 peratus kepada gas yang dipengaruhi harga minyak dunia bagi menjana elektrik, manakala selebihnya bergantung kepada arang batu dan hidro.

Sasar KDNK 5.5 peratus

Ahmad juga berkata, kerajaan yakin negara bakal mencatatkan pertumbuhan Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) 5.5 peratus tahun depan, berdasarkan asas ekonomi yang kukuh dan banyak projek dilaksanakan untuk memperkukuh lagi ekonomi. 

“Ekonomi Malaysia berada di landasan ke arah mencapai sasaran pertumbuhan setahun penuh sebanyak 4.5 peratus hingga lima peratus bagi 2013,” katanya pada sidang media mengenai seminar berkaitan pemerkasaan ekonomi, di sini, semalam. 

Ahmad berkata, bagi meningkatkan pemahaman rakyat mengenai Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) sebelum dilaksanakan, kerajaan akan mengadakan Seminar Pemerkasaan Ekonomi Nasional.

GST ‘unIslamic’, PAS ulama tell Putrajaya


BY ZURAIRI AR
NOVEMBER 21, 2013
PAS wing representative Azhar Yaacob said that the GST was a cruel,
burdensome measure that was unIslamic. He spoke against the tax
at the PAS Ulama Muktamar at Dewan Banquet MBSA, Shah Alam,
November 21, 2013. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
SHAH ALAM, Nov 21 — PAS ulama wing labelled Putrajaya’s proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) ‘unIslamic’ today in a vehement rejection of the new consumption tax scheduled for kick-off in April 2015.

According to a representative from the wing comprising Islamic clerics, the GST is a ‘cruel’ measure that would burden Malaysians, especially the young, who are already saddled with household debts and various daily payments like toll charges.

“Suddenly in this situation where they already cannot breathe, Umno and Barisan Nasional government has introduced the GST ... This is something which goes against Islam,” said wing representative Azhar Yaacob.

“Rulers cannot, and it is even haram (forbidden), to take money from the public as long as the country’s finance is enough for the survival of the people and the rulers.”

The cleric also stressed that the PAS ulama differs from their allies in Pakatan Rakyat, who support GST conditionally, claiming that the ulama will never agree with the tax since it is seen as against the religion.

Azahar was debating a motion before a 500-strong crowd, during the wing’s annual muktamar (conference) here themed “Ulama Haraki Menangani Fasad, Mengisi Kemenangan” (Progressive clerics handling damage and fulfilling victory).

According to Azahar, in Islam a taxation system must only take from the rich and give for the poor, but the opposite is happening with GST since even those who are liable to receive zakat (alms) money must also pay the consumption tax.

In addition, any money taken through tax must be spend for the use of the public, and not to cover any leakage and wastage that happen in Putrajaya, citing the example of the controversial RM1.6 million funding of a “K-pop” concert during a Youth Day celebration last year.

“Do we redha (accept), when we pay taxes ... Then suddenly we find out that it was used for maksiat (vices). I ask you, do you redha or not?” Azahar asked the crowd, who replied with a loud ‘no’.

While tabling Budget 2014 last month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Malaysia will finally implement the long-delayed GST at 6 per cent beginning April 2015 to tackle its chronic deficit.

To offset the new tax, Najib also announced that personal income tax will be reduced by 1 to 3 percentage points, depending on the income bracket.

A one-off payment of RM300 under the 1 Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) will also be made following the implementation scheduled for April 1, 2015.

The GST is a consumption tax, meaning all Malaysians will be taxed according to their level of spending, regardless of income. This differs from income tax that is only applicable after a certain salary level is exceeded.

Malaysia’s proposed GST rate of 6 per cent is the lowest in the region, whereas most countries implement a 10 per cent value added tax (VAT).

The tax was first announced during Budget 2005 and was originally scheduled to be implemented in 2007 before it was deferred.

The GST Bill was then tabled for the first reading in 2009 for implementation in late 2011, but was withdrawn during the second reading in 2010 following fierce public resistance.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/gst-unislamic-pas-ulama-tell-putrajaya#sthash.IXRexKd7.dpuf

Govt optimistic on 5.5% GDP growth next year


Published: Thursday November 21, 2013 MYT 6:52:00 PM 
Updated: Thursday November 21, 2013 MYT 6:53:33 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is optimistic over Malaysia notching a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5.5% next year, driven by strong economic fundamentals and the many projects to further strengthen the economy.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the Malaysian economy is on track to achieve the full-year growth target of between 4.5% and 5% for 2013.He said this at a media briefing here today on the one-day seminar on national economic empowerment, on Nov 24.

Ahmad said the seminar will cover three major agenda of the national economy, namely, the Budget 2014, economic empowerment of Bumiputera's and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). 

It is being organised by the government following the announcement on the implementation of the GST on April 1, 2015.

The minister expressed confidence that through the seminar, 75% of Malaysians will understand the need and importance of implementing the GST.

The seminar will see 3,000 participants from among the political fraternity, community leaders, non-governmental organisations, government agencies and youths.

Similar seminars will also be held in other states such as Kelantan, Penang, and Selangor from mid-December to early February 2014. 

"Experts will share insights on how to master the GST concepts and discuss opportunities, processes, challenges, as well as critical issues that can impact a business," Ahmad said.- Bernama

Customs to collect additional RM5bil-RM6bil annually with GST


Published: Thursday November 21, 2013 MYT 5:49:00 PM 
Updated: Thursday November 21, 2013 MYT 5:51:26 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department expects to collect an additional RM5bil to RM6bil in tax annually once the goods and services tax (GST) is implemented in 2015.

Its Senior Assistant Director (GST Section), Mohd Sabri Saad, said the GST would replace the current sales and services tax (SST), which had contributed between RM16bil and RM17bil in income to the government annually.

He said overall the GST was expected to contribute about RM21bil to government. 

"The implementation should not burden the people as it is not a new tax but a replacement of SST. Only those goods and services which were not taxed before will have a one-off impact in terms of prices," said Mohd Sabri.

Mohd Sabri said this to reporters after a GST briefing by the Royal Malaysian Customs, Federal Territory for the media and representatives from Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations and Seniman, an artist association.

He said after the implementation of the GST, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was expected to increase slightly.

Being part of government's tax reform programme, the GST was more efficient, effective, business-friendly, transparent and capable of generating a more stable source of revenue, he said.

On the proposed GST Model to replace SST, he said the tax would be charged at the rate of six per cent.
He said only businesses with gross sales of RM500,000 and above were subjected to the tax while small businesses would be excluded. 

On the issue of price increase due to profiteering, Ahmad Sabri said government would use Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2010 to curb the problem. 

"A comprehensive awareness programme will be conducted on GST, and a shopper's guide will also be produced three months before the GST implementation to inform consumers on price changes," he said.

The shoppers guide, which covers 925 items in CPI basket, will serve as a reference on the movements of the prices of goods and services after GST. - Bernama

RMC: GST at 6% to raise RM22b revenue


| November 22, 2013

The Royal Malaysian Customs believes GST is a good solution to fix leakages in the current consumption tax collection and result in the extra revenue.

by Prem Kumar Panjamorthy

PETALING JAYA: The proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) at 6% will contribute a revenue of up to RM22 billion to the government’s coffers annually.

The new tax, effective April 1, 2015, subject to legislation approvals, will raise tax receipts by an additional RM5 billion to RM6 billion, on top of the current earnings of RM16 billion derived from the existing sales and services tax.

The Royal Malaysian Customs (RMC) believes GST is a good solution to fix leakages in the current consumption tax collection and result in the extra revenue.

“We expect at 6%, an additional of RM5 billion to RM6 billion will be raised. This additional amount will actually flow back to the people through incentives and cash aids.

“Corporations will also benefit through the non-tax packages and several redemption packages we are working on. Companies involved in the supply side of manufacturing will be reimbursed the GST they are charged,” RMC senior assistant director in-charge of GST Mohammad Sabri Saad told a media briefing yesterday.

He said the reimbursements will help contain major price hikes of several end-products like in the automotive and retail sectors.

Mohammad Sabri said Malaysians should not have the misconception that GST will only result in increase in prices of good and services.

“Products and services that are being charged 10% sales and service tax now will only be charged 6% GST. That would drive down the end-price.

“We cannot give the exact amount of price increase or decrease, as April 2015 is still 15 months away, and prices of goods would fluctuate by then,” he pointed out.

The Treasury and RMC are working together to set up a “shopping guide” for Malaysians, with a list of 325 essential goods showing price difference of pre-GST and post-GST. The guide will be made public in January 2015, Mohammad Sabri said.

“If consumers find that supermarkets or premises over price GST-taxed items against the guide, they can issue an official complaint to our department, so that action can be taken.

“We are in talks with supermarket and hypermarket operators over the possibility of them absorbing minimal hikes in price due to GST. It’s a winwin solution, where the prices do not change, people will not panic and business maintained for the retailers,” he said.

The RMC target of RM22 billion is somehow, far less than KPMG’s collection projection of at least RM30 billion.

The international tax and audit firm had said the government will earn a 20% hike in collection through GST over the current consumption tax revenue. It predicted a collection of RM25 billion for only the first nine months of GST implementation in 2015.

The GST has been proposed as part of the federal government’s commitment to reduce its budget deficit and with the view of achieving a balanced budget in 2020.

The 2014 government revenue is estimated RM224.1 billion, of which income taxes are expected to contribute RM125.7 billion while indirect tax collection estimated at RM38.8 billion.

The GST will be introduced in place of the sales tax and services tax introduced in 1972 and 1975, respectively.

Malaysia’s 6% GST will be the lowest in the Asean region, compared to Singapore (7%), Thailand (7%), Indonesia (10%), the Philippines (12%), Laos (10%), Vietnam (10%) and Cambodia (10%).

Items exempted from GST include rice, flour, vegetables, sugar, fish, chicken, salt, cooking oil, eggs, beef, chicken, mutton, spices, cencaluk, budu and belacan.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

City & Country: Will GST exemption translate into cheaper homes?


By Au Foong Yee of theedgemalaysia.com
Saturday, 16 November 2013 11:00 




ANTICIPATION is high that an increase in the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) and a ban on the developer interest-bearing scheme (DIBS) will bring down property prices. But there has been little focus on the government’s move to exempt residential properties from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will replace the current sales and service tax from April 2015.

That the government will revise the RPGT upwards in Budget 2014 was a foregone conclusion that generated many a discussion. However, the effectiveness of the new RPGT structure, and the DIBS ban, in forcing property prices down to more affordable levels remains to be seen because, ultimately, pricing is a function of supply and demand. 

In the meantime, let’s focus on the exemption of residential properties from GST and its impact on homebuyers. Will prices dip or at least remain unchanged?

Unlikely. Why? First, there is a need to understand GST and the three supplies that come under it — standard-rated supply, zero-rated supply and exempt supply.

Simply put, standard-rated supply refers to goods and services that are subject to GST at a standard rate (which will be 6% based on the Budget 2014 announcement). 

What this means: GST is collected by the businesses and paid to the government. Businesses providing standard-rated supplies are required to charge a GST of 6% on products or services provided to customers. This is known as the output tax. They themselves would have paid for supplies (goods or services) that are subject to GST, which is known as the input tax. If the input tax of the businesses is bigger than their output tax, they can recover the difference from the government.

Under zero-rated supplies, businesses are eligible to claim from the government input tax credit incurred from acquiring supplies to produce such goods or services. This means the consumer does not pay any GST.

Yam: There needs to be engagement 
and clarity, so that there will be 
no hiccups come April 2015 
As for exempt supplies — the category in which residential properties have been placed — they are not subject to GST. Businesses providing exempt supplies cannot charge their customers GST on the end product (in this case, the residential property), but the developer of the residential property is not eligible to claim input tax credit from the government on GST paid to develop the project.

This being the case, the developer will be saddled with extra costs due to the 6% GST that is payable on nearly all its inputs (construction cost, services, materials and so on) which it cannot claim from the government. Being business entities, they would pass on the non-claimable input tax to the consumer (read: residential property buyer).

The effective percentage increase in cost to the developer due to the non-claimable input tax credit is not immediately clear.

Yes, a developer currently pays a certain amount of sales and service tax on, for example, consultant fees, but that would be a fraction of the input tax credit for, for instance, the cost of construction and infrastructure, which, incidentally, could account for up to 40% or 50% of the total cost of a development.

So, how can housing prices dip?

Commercial properties, on the other hand, come under standard-rated supplies. But will serviced apartments, which are, for all intents and purposes, dwellings built on commercial land, be classified as residential or commercial properties for the purposes of GST?

Then, there are the mixed-use developments that comprise residential, commercial and industrial offerings. Developers will face challenges in apportioning input tax credits on indirect costs. Should it be based on the gross built-up area? Or perhaps even on employee time for different aspects of the project. 

Whatever the model, variations in the numbers can be expected as the project gets underway and this could stretch for 5, 6 or even 10 years, depending on the project’s size and market conditions. 

Inevitably, developers will need to spend a hefty sum on GST compliance. Now, who will pick up the tab for this added cost? The consumer, of course.

Still, to echo Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia president Datuk Seri Michael Yam, the government cannot be expected to declare property development a zero-rated supply. Indeed, development companies are paying some form of sales and service tax even now.

“We support GST. Because the business of property development is complex, there needs to be engagement and clarity, so that there will be no hiccups come April 2015,” Yam says. “Otherwise, the experience could be hellish …”

Level the playing field

If you had bought a property last year, you would have signed on the dotted line with the understanding that whatever gains you make will be subject to a 10% or 5% tax if you were to dispose of it in the second or third year of ownership.

The government’s moves may not result in lower property prices 
However, with the new RPGT structure that is effective from Jan 1, 2014, you will be taxed 30% on your gains should you sell the property within the first three years of ownership. 

If indeed the sole intention of the government in raising the RPGT is to curb speculation, is there a need to render it retrospective? While this is not a new practice, what would stand Malaysia in good stead would be to level the playing field and make it transparent so that investors are bound by the RPGT that existed at the point of investment. 

According to Rehda, the government collected a total of RM540 million from RPGT in 2011; RM300 million in 2010; RM42 million in 2009 and RM110 million in 2008.

Another move by the government to curb speculation is the abolition of DIBS. Developers are also required to be transparent on their pricing. In addition, foreigners can only buy properties priced at least RM1 million — up from RM500,000 before.

In all these moves, Yam sees the government equating the rise in property prices with speculation, and he begs to differ.

For instance, he says, the secondary market accounted for the bulk or RM50 billion of the RM68 billion worth of residential property transactions last year. Speculators tend to focus on new launches.

The minimum entry level of RM1 million for foreign buyers should also be location-specific, Yam says. 

For instance, a Malaysia My Second Home participant wishing to settle away from the property hot spots will not require a RM1 million home, which would be too spacious for his or her lifestyle.

“We have 26,000 acres to build in Iskandar Malaysia. Do we or don’t we wish to roll out the red carpet for foreign buyers?” asks Yam.

And, oh, for those who are relieved that Budget 2014 was silent on higher stamp duties on property purchases, it may be too soon to celebrate. The government does not need to wait until Budget 2015 to review this.

Au Foong Yee is managing director of The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd
This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on November 4, 2013. 

‘Exports will be exempted from GST’


| November 19, 2013

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan says the government aims to increase exports by excluding the manufacturing sector from the 6% GST and offering various aid to the small- and medium-sized industries.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will exempt all exports from the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015 to boost the manufacturing sector, said Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan.

Ahmad Maslan also said the government in the Budget 2014 had promised various aid for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the prime minister was actively looking for new markets through his visits to emerging countries.

“With that, we hope that our exports will soar,” Ahmad Maslan told Ahmad Hamzah(BN-Jasin) in the Dewan Raykat today.

Although Ahmad Maslan did not explain the exemption, according to the Custom Department, GST is meant to be a local consumption tax.

“The exporter may recover the GST incurred by crediting the amount on his output tax,” it said.

The department said the GST was charged on raw materials and components but the exporters could claim all input tax on the exports.

Ahmad also said the recent murder of a Taiwanese tourist and the abduction of his partner in Pom Pom Island, Sabah, by Abu Sayyaf terrorists, would not affect tourism because there were still plenty of other sites to visit.

He said Kuala Lumpur was ranked fourth among the world’s top shopping destinations and still attracted tourists, and “KL is very far away from Pom Pom Island”.

Malaysia should prepare for a crisis


| November 17, 2013

DAP MP Liew Chin Tong urges the government to come up with ideas to weather an economic storm, expected in two years time.

GEORGE TOWN: The government should prepare the people for a possibility of a financial crisis that could affect Malaysia come 2015.

Stressing that he is not trying to create a panic nor to gain politically mileage, DAP MP Liew Chin Tong urged stakeholders to come up with ideas on how Malaysia could weather such an eventuality.

“We should not mask ourselves with the goodwill our economy brings today. We must be prepared for future challenges,” he said.

For starters, Liew said that the soon to be adopted Goods and Services Tax (GST) would burn holes in the pockets of the lower and the middle income earners in the country, which would hurt domestic demand, the main driver of the nation’s economy.

Liew warned with GST, cost of living would skyrocket, which in turn would increase inflationary pressure on consumers.

“Malaysia may go the way of Europe and US by falling into a recession due to higher costing of goods and services, which will spike our inflation rate,” he said.

The DAP leader also said that the government should take into consideration the possibility of fuel prices going down in the global market, which would affect Petronas’ profits.

“Petronas in the main contributor the nation’s coffers. If it’s profits dwindle, it means that the country will have lesser money to contribute for government expenditure,” said Liew.

He added that the rising household debt ratio to the gross domestic product (GDP) and the recent downgrade by Fitch Ratings would affect the nation’s borrowings in the future.

“And will the property bubble in Malaysia implode anytime soon? he asked, as it seems to be running out of control speculations.

Liew added that the political impasse and the racial polarisation in Malaysia would also have an effect on the nation’s economic growth.

‘Oil palm prices under pressure’

On the external factor, Liew said that the government should be concerned if the US government decided to cut costs in its imports.

“The manufacturing sector will be drastically affected if US producers cut costs,” he said.

The parliamentarian also said that palm oil prices in the global market are under pressure due to competition from soya

“It will directly affect Malaysia’s agriculture sector, which is largely run by the lower and middle income groups,” said Liew.

Hence, the Kluang MP extends an invitation to the likes of economists, technocrats, socialists and politicians to deliberate on the matter, in order to find solutions in the event the country’s economy nosedives in 2015.

GST a second ‘vampire bite’ for Sabahans


| November 15, 2013

Already drained by the higher cost of living as a result of the 33-year old carbotage, Sabahans now face the 'fangs' of GST, said Sabah MP Jimmy Wong.

KOTA KINABALU: First time MP Jimmy Wong has likened the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the second ‘vampire’ that will “Gigit Sampai Tulang” (bite to the bone) of the people of Sabah.

In his maiden Budget speech at Parliament, Wong said the first vampire was the Cabotage Policy which has been sucking the blood of the people for the last 33 years.

The only cure, he said, is to exempt Sabah from the GST as its citizens have the lowest purchasing power in the country.

Wong noted that the average monthly household income in Sabah in 2012 was only RM4,013 compared to the national average of RM5,000.

“In fact, if we take into consideration the cost of living in Sabah, which is about 30% higher than in Semenanjung, the household monthly income in Sabah is only about RM2,800.

“This makes Sabah as the state with the lowest purchasing power in the country, therefore I disagree for the GST to be implemented in Sabah,” said the Kota Kinabalu MP.

Wong also urged the government to abolish the Cabotage Policy that has been enforced in Sabah for 33 years and had been identified as the main factor for the higher price of goods in Sabah by as much as 20% to 30% more than in the peninsula.

“This Cabotage Policy has been like a vampire that has been sucking the blood from the people of Sabah.

“We can imagine what will happen to a person whose blood is being sucked continuously for more than 30 years,” he said.

Wong also said the government’s price standardisation programme had failed to lower the price of goods in Sabah because the actual issue that must be addressed is the Cabotage Policy.

“Coupled with the GST proposal to be implemented by April 2015 it means the people of Sabah are like “sudah jatuh di timpa tangga” (double trouble).

“GST and the Cabotage Policy will be very lethal to the people of Sabah’s economy. GST is a second vampire that will “Gigit Sampai Tulang” (bite to the bone) of every Sabahan,” he said.

Isu Bernas lebih berkesan dari isu GST


| November 13, 2013

Bernas mampu menjadi isu besar kerana ia memberi kesan kepada ramai golongan berpendapatan rendah dan nasib mereka perlu dibela.

SUBANG: Pakatan Rakyat kali ini mensasarkan serangan terhadap monopoli syarikat Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) untuk memenangi hati pengundi Melayu golongan bawahan khususnya di sektor pertanian.

Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berkata, Bernas mampu menjadi isu besar kerana ia memberi kesan kepada ramai golongan berpendapatan rendah dan nasib mereka perlu dibela.

Ini katanya berikutan keuntungan berjuta ringgit yang dikaut taikun Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary ekoran dasar penswastaan Bernas, namun tidak membela nasib petani dan usahawan Bumiputera sebaliknya terus memerah keringat orang Melayu miskin demi mengkayakan kroni Barisan Nasional (BN).

“GST, TPPA juga isu penting tapi impaknya tak besar sama seperti pendedahan kes lembu (NFC).

“Pakatan Rakyat kena ambil peluang tangani dan pertahankan isu Bernas ini secara berterusan supaya mendapat tempat dihati orang Melayu termasuk petani Cina di Sekinchan,” katanya di hadapan kira-kira 100 pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat dalam satu majlis makan malam, malam tadi.

Syed Mokhtar memiliki 53.7% saham Bernas selain menguasai lesen AP import beras dengan memperoleh keuntungan sebanyak RM3.6 bilion sehingga tahun 2012 dan dijangka meningkat hingga RM3.9 bilion pada 2015.

Malah kerajaan turut memanjangkan monopoli Bernas terhadap pengurusan bekalan beras negara dan monopoli pengimportan beras sehingga 10 Januari 2021.

Pada masa yang sama, Ketua Umum PKR itu berkata isu yang melibatkan kaum lain termasuk minoriti di Sabah dan Sarawak juga tidak boleh diabaikan.

Beliau turut menyeru pemimpin lain menunjukkan komitmen yang tinggi supaya terus kekal relevan dalam Pakatan Rakyat.

Anwar juga sempat berterima kasih kepada Menteri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim kerana mampu menangani sentimen dalam masa sama mengekalkan prestasi urus tadbir negeri dengan baik tanpa sebarang kompromi.

Sementara itu, Khalid sebagai tuan rumah majlis berkata, kepimpinannya bersedia untuk bekerja lebih keras dan mahu membuktikan peluang yang diberikan kepada rakyat sebagai pemegang amanah sebelum ini diteruskan.

“Walaupun mereka tahu bukan senang nak dapat projek daripada saya tetapi mereka masih menyokong…satu perkara yang tak perlu takut kita akan kekal bekerjasama dan terus bersikap amanah menguruskan wang rakyat,” katanya.

MCA backs GST but urges for corporate, income tax reduction


| November 12, 2013

Dr Chua Soi Lek says the government should gradually reduce corporate and income tax to assist the middle income group once the GST is implemented.

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek advised the government to gradually reduce corporate tax and income tax once the 6 percent goods and service tax (GST) is enforced on April 1, 2015.

He said MCA agrees with the implementation of GST to broaden the government’s tax revenues but something should be done to assist the middle income group.

“We want the government to have a re-look at the income tax and corporate tax and to reduce it gradually with the implementation of GST.

“GST should also be maintained at 6% for the next five years,” he told a media conference after chairing the MCA central committee meeting today.

In the recently unveiled Budget 2014, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had pledged to reduce corporate income tax by 1% from 25% to 24%,and slash income tax by 1%-3% for all tax-payers.

Chua said that implementation of GST is necessary as only a limited number of people are currently paying tax.

“Assuming we have a 13 million workforce, only less than 15% of the people are paying tax.

“We feel that GST is fairer and more equitable in the long term. The more you consume, the more you pay, it can reduce incidents of tax evasion,” he said.

Today’s central committee (CC ) meeting was the first to be chaired by Chua after he lost his bid to pass a motion to censure his deputy and rival Liow Tiong Lai in the recent extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Another motion allowing MCA members to assume federal cabinet posts was also rejected with a razor thin 10-vote majority.

Commenting on this, Chua said the current leadership will reintroduce the motion for MCA to rejoin the federal cabinet in the coming annual general meeting (AGM) to be held in December, but would leave it up to the new leadership to convene another EGM in order to discuss this specific topic.

Customs to educate public on GST


| November 10, 2013

GST is a single tax system introduced to eliminate the flaws seen in the multi-tier Sales and Service Tax (SST).

INTERVIEW

PETALING JAYA: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is nothing new and replaces the in-efficient Sales and Services Tax (SST).

In an exclusive interview with FMT, Royal Malaysian Customs director-general Khazali Ahmad shared some insights on GST and its implementation.

The Customs DG said the GST will help to avoid any of the double taxation under SST.

“For example, any soft drink or mineral water could be subjected to 10 percent sales tax at the manufacturing stage and if someone consume these drinks at the hotel, they will be subjected to another six percent service tax.

“So to avoid this, the government has taken the right step by introducing GST,” he said.

According to Khazali, sales tax was introduced in 1972 and subsequently in 1975, as there were some flaws as well as inefficiency found in both tax scheme.

“Since these two taxes have some flaws and inefficiency, we wanted to have a better and robust tax administration system,” he said.

He also pointed out that in 1989, the former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin mooted the initial idea to replace the SST with a better tax system.

During the recent budget, PM Najib Tun Razak announced that the GST will be implemented on 1st April 2015.

“As we all know, there are 160 countries having GST tax system. We studied carefully before implementing GST.

“The general public will be educated on the GST through the programme we are developing.

“The six percent rate is introduced after a careful study and this will not be too burdensome for the public,” he said.

In addition, he stated that the rate is among the lowest compared to other Asean countries and added that it comes as a package whereby the income and business tax will be reduced with government subsidies such as1M given to cushion the situation.

When asked on how the customs will educate the public on GST, the DG said they have been educating the public since 2005 and will continue doing so until it is implemented in the next 17 months.

Customs to engage in GST outreach programme

Meanwhile GST advisor to Royal Customs Zaleha Hamzah said to educate on GST, the Customs will target three main groups – consumer, government and business groups.

“For the consumer group, we will educate on the scope of the GST and the items that will not fall under the category.

“The information will be disseminated through Custom State directors and consumer NGO.

“For the government, we will educate the statutory bodies, higher learning institution, and government staff through an outreach programme.

“On the business group, we have been educating them through sector leads since 2005 when the GST business plan was introduced,” she said.

In addition, the Customs DG also said they have a committee on implementing GST chaired by himself and the state directors to ensure a smooth GST implementation.

Higher power prices likely early next year


| November 8, 2013

Electricity could rise as much as 19%, from 33.5 sen/kWh to 40 sen sen/kWh, early next year when the government cuts fuel subsidies for power producers.

By P Vijian

KUALA LUMPUR: The government plans to cut fuel subsidies for power producers in the first quarter (1Q) of 2014, to trim soaring subsidies for the energy sector which touched RM24.8 billion so far this year.

Electricity could rise as much as 19%, from 33.5 sen/kWh to 40 sen sen/kWh, if all the subsidies are removed, according to estimates.

Loo Took Gee, secretary-general to the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, said the reduction in fuel subsidies for the power sector is essential to stabilise the economy.

She said the government consulted stakeholders in the energy sector and a new power tariff rate would be announced next year.

“You can expect it in the 1Q of next year, so be prepared for it. We need to stabilise our economy and this is one way,” Loo told The Malaysian Reserve in Petaling Jaya.

Loo, who participated in the “Reforms in Peninsular Malaysia’s Electricity Sector” forum organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, said fuel subsidies had to be reduced gradually, taking cognisance of the country’s fiscal condition.

Loo did not say how much more power producers will have to pay for fuel to generate electricity with the subsidy reduction but it is inevitable that Malaysians will pay higher for electricity.

“Everybody must use energy judiciously and prepare ourselves for an increase in energy cost because we have been receiving huge subsidies all these years,” she said.

Based on estimates, Malaysians may have to pay 40 sen/kWh, compared with the current electricity price of 33.5 sen per kWh, when subsidies to power companies are cut.

The cabinet last revised electricity price in June 2011, with a 2% increase in base tariff and before that power rates were reviewed in 2006.

The government had previously signalled that it will cut the natural gas subsidy for the power sector because of rising costs. The power sector buys gas at a subsidised price of RM13.70 per mmbtu, compared with market prices that are three times higher.

The subsidy rationalisation is also the first move towards market-based prices as well as a plan to introduce a fuel-cost pass through mechanism so that consumers pay higher or lower electricity prices according to the market.

Under this plan, which is already in place for petrol and diesel, the fuel cost would be reviewed every six months.

Subsidy removal for the sensitive energy sector is part of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s fiscal consolidation agenda to trim worrying fiscal deficit and send a strong message to global rating agencies that Malaysia is firm on its budgetary reforms.

Malaysia’s fiscal deficit is at 4% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and national debt is expected to touch 54.8% of GDP or RM541.3 billion this year.

Najib reduced the fuel subsidy for petrol and diesel by 20 sen per litre in September. By reducing the subsidy, the exchequer will save about RM1.1 billion this year and RM3.3 billion annually.

This was followed by a 34-sen sugar subsidy cut in Budget 2014, announced on Oct 25, where Najib also introduced the Goods and Sales Tax (GST).

The GST, slated to begin on April 1, 2015, is expected to generate RM23.1 billion in the first nine months and RM32 billion in 2016.

Kenaikan minyak belum membebankan


| November 8, 2013

Kenaikan minyak malah harga barang, itu perkara biasa dan seluruh dunia berdepan masalah tersebut

KUCHING: Kenaikan minyak sebanyak 20 sen dan pemotongan subsidi gula baru-baru ini oleh kerajaan mendapat reaksi berpanjangan daripada majoriti rakyat Malaysia.

Namun begitu, bagi warga Sarawak khususnya, mereka berpendapat hal tersebut belum mendatangkan kesan yang mendalam bagi mereka.

Pelaksanaan Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) bermula April 2015 juga merupakan hal biasa yang dialami.

“Kenaikan minyak sebanyak 20 sen bagi saya belum membebankan,” ujar Mohamad Bujang ketika ditemubual mengenai kesan kenaikan minyak baru-baru ini.

“Saya sudah 26 tahun hidup, rasanya tidak terbeban,

“Kenaikan minyak malah harga barang, itu perkara biasa dan seluruh dunia berdepan masalah tersebut, kerajaan beban, kita tolong mereka,” tambah beliau

Seperti yang sedia maklum, kenaikan minyak menurut kerajaan sebagai satu langkah rasionalisasi subsidi, mengurangkan kebergantungan rakyat kepada subsidi kerajaan dan menjimatkan pendapatan kerajaan sebanyak RM1.1 bilion setahun.

Pemotongan subsidi gula pula menurut pemerintah merupakan satu langkah kerajaan mengurangkan masalah kencing manis yang dihidapi rakyat Malaysia.

Sementara itu, Akmal Firdaus pula menambah bahawa pelaksanaan GST pula merupakan cukai biasa yang dikenakan kerajaan bagi menambah baik pembangunan negara.

“Mengenai GST… Siapa mahu bekerja secara percuma? Kerajaan laksanakan itu demi kebaikan rakyat,

“Kami tidak terbeban, jika terbeban… Apa boleh buat?,” soal beliau

GST apabila dilaksana, dapat memberi pendapatan kepada negara sebanyak RM27 bilion setahun.

NGO Islam iaitu Yayasan Dakwah Islam Malaysia melalui Ashraf Wajidi Dusuki memetik kenyataan bahawa rakyat perlu mengawal nafsu berbelanja, dan jangan meruungut tentang harga barang naik.

“Kesederhanaan merupakan salah satu prinsip utama dalam Islam bila berbelanja dan orang-orang yang ‘kategori iman tinggi’ adalah orang yang tidak boros,” tegas beliau

Dr Subra backtracks on GST stand


| November 7, 2013

With the initial denial that GST will have an impact towards healthcare costs, the Health Ministry now says it is looking into ‘minimizing’ the GST impact.

PETALING JAYA: After reportedly assuring that healthcare costs will not rise due to the goods and services tax (GST), the Health Ministry today backpedalled and pledged instead there would be “no substantial increase”.

Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam said that talks with the Finance Ministry on “minimizing” the impact of GST on increasing healthcare costs were ongoing.

“Please be rest assured that the Health Ministry will continue to play a pro-active role in minimizing the effects of GST on essential health services so as to ensure that all Malaysians, particularly those in the low income group, will continue to have access to affordable health care.

“Towards this end, we are continuously engaging with the Finance Ministry and looking at all possible angles on how this could be achieved,” Subramaniam said in a statement today.

However, the minister’s statement contradicts with numerous news reports in which he apparently maintained healthcare costs would not be impacted whatsoever by the GST, as it is exempted from it.

This lead to backlash from DAP leader Tony Pua, who pointed out yesterday that despite healthcare being GST-exempted for the public, hospitals would still be charged with the 6% GST by their suppliers.

This meant hospitals would have to raise the prices of their products and services so that the public may absorb the increased costs, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.

He speculated that patients may see a 7.3% increase in price of drugs after the GST is implemented.

“The Health Minister, and many other Barisan Nasional leaders are obviously either ignorant about what is meant by GST-exempt, or chose not to be truthful about it,” Pua had said in a statement.

But Subramaniam today said he believed Pua had received the wrong impression, as the former’s explanations had not been conveyed in full by the media.

“In my response to the questions by the press, I had stated that health services were GST-exempt and the government was committed to ensuring that there would be no substantial increases in the cost of healthcare even after the implementation of GST,” said Subramaniam.

He also urged the public to stop speculating about the possible impact of the GST on healthcare costs, pointing out that the implementation would only be in 2015 and discussions between ministries were still ongoing.