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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Most city folks still unclear over GST

Bernama| Updated: January 15, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Generally, the people are still baffled over the Goods and Services Tax, despite its implementation in April next year, according to a random survey by Bernama in the federal capital.

The survey carried out in Masjid Jamek, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Duta and Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur found that only eight per cent of the 60 respondents admitted understanding the GST, and were of the view that it should have been implemented earlier.

About 75 per cent more said they did not understand the GST and were worried it would further burden the people.

Almost 17 per cent replied they had not heard of the GST.

Rodzi Kamaruddin, 44, said he did not know much about the GST, its mechanism or effects on the financial position of individual citizens or country.

"I am still confused. The information available is limited. I want to know the rationale for introducing it," said the clerk at a law firm in Jalan Masjid Jamek here.

The owner of a food stall at the Jalan Duta Hawkers' Centre, Masariman Zanur Ali said he only knew of the GST from news reports but was not familar with its functions.

"Nonetheless, according to my understanding, GST is a tax on various items, including instant noodles which is sold here," he said.

GST will be introduced at six per cent by the government replacing the existing consumption tax system which included sales tax and service tax at 16 per cent.

Up till 2009, GST has been implemented in 146 countries in which France was the first country to adopt it in 1954.

Among Asean countries, Indonesia was the first to practise GST in 1984, followed by other countries, with the exception of Malaysia, Brunei and Myanmar.

Businessman, Nor Hazriana Othman, 37, said the people were confused as the government said GST was good while the opposition claimed it was bad, which made the situation rather complicating for the people.

Human resources manager Sheila Solomon, 40, is worried GST would only add to the burden of the people as prices of goods would go up.

A retiree, Janaki Kaniappan, supported the implementation of GST on the condition the government raised the efficiency of departments managing it and monitored them closely to ensure consumers were not cheated by traders.

"GST should not be implemented in a hurry and there should be a trial period as was the case in other countries," she said.

University student Bryan Choi felt the government was still slow in coming up with more information on GST and hoped for more promotion on the matter to combat negative perceptions.

Like most Malaysians, Faudah Johari, an academician, was also unsure of the GST and still not ready to be burdened by new taxes.

"I am worried of traders capitalising on the situation when the GST is implemented. I think the government has to ensure the people's income continued to rise to cushion them from the effects of GST."

Story first published on: January 15, 2014 09:10 (MYT)

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