By Nur Aimidiyana Zuher
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Many members of the public and even businessmen remain sceptical over the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that will be implemented in 2015.
They harbour unfounded fears that GST could have negative consequences on the economy and may not be productive, adding further confusion on GST.
So how to ensure that the people understand and appreciate GST?
This is where the Selangor Malay Business Chamber's Youth Wing Chairman Syfik Idzywan Sidek hopes that the government will establish close rapport with non-govermental organisations (NGOs) to create greater public awareness on the virtues of GST.
He said the move would help the government reach out to the public and business community in creating greater awareness on the benefits of GST.
GST BENEFITS BOTH THE PEOPLE AND THE GOVERNMENT
"We welcome the cooperation of the Royal Malaysian Customs in explaining to the people on the virtues of GST," he said to Bernama.
GST at a rate of six percent is to take effect on April 2015, replacing the existing consumer tax system that is the sales and services tax (SST) that amounts to 16 percent.
Up to 2009, GST has been implemented in 160 nations with France being the pioneer when it implemented GST in 1954.
Meanwhile, the GST Project Director of the Finance Ministry's Tax Review Panel Ezleezan Othman explained that GST is a broad based consumption tax that people have to pay on goods or services.
"GST is not a waste but instead improves the existing tax system and tax collection," he said.
GST AND BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Based on the feedback from the business community, Ezleezan noted that they were receptive towards GST that would replace the SST.
He added that the taxation under GST has been simplified for businesses through the MyGST, an accounting computerisation system to manage the GST' taxation.
"The software also allows systematic management of their business. MyGST makes it easy for businesses to download forms and pay the tax or check on their business and the system is regulated by the customs department," he said.
When asked on the GST training grant worth RM100 million, Ezleezan noted that associations representing businesses had to utilise the allocation in the best manner possible.
"Any of the associations that want to train their members on GST, they can apply for the training grant from the Finance Ministry," he said.
However, the conditions imposed will be made known when the application is made and it depends on the special committee that will evaluate the application.
BUSINESS COMMUNITY HAVE TO BE SMART IN CHOOSING
"The grant helps the business community to grasp GST and therefore there is no reason why the prices should go up when GST is implemented," he said.
As for the Malaysian Muslim Economic and Social Chamber (DESMMA) President Mohd Fazil Abdullah, the continuous awareness campaign on GST is the best approach in familiarising people with GST.
"Many were against the GST initially, but they have to understand on the benefits of GST and accept the new tax system with an open heart," he said.
He said that the businessmen have to be smart in the choices that they make and have to seek raw materials at reasonable prices to maintain their production cost.
He provided an example of the furniture business that would attract more consumers if the prices were reasonable.
To procure cheaper furniture, traders should import them from China as the country products were cheaper due to the low labour cost.