KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 15,542 restaurants are expected to collect the Goods and Services Tax (GST) when it is implemented on April 1, next year.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said GST would involve more restaurants as compared to service tax which was imposed on 4,357 restaurants.
"GST is one of the government's measures to restructure the country's taxation to be more transparent, efficient and business-friendly," he said when replying to a question by Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Kulai) at the Dewan Rakyat here today.
He said to ensure the interest of all strata of society, GST would be exempted from basic necessities and basic services such as healthcare, private education, public transport, toll and housing.
Ahmad said a Customs Department study found those with a monthly income of RM1,000 and below spent more than 33.4 per cent of their income on food and drinks, and 31.4 per cent more on housing, water, electricity and fuel.
He said expenditure for these items amounted to 64.8 per cent of the income and almost all of these goods and services were exempted from GST.
Apart from that, he said as of last month, 4,967 GST awareness and training programmes were conducted and attended by 271,288 people from target groups such as consumers, civil servants, school and students of higher education institution.
"For the business sector which is the critical group in the implementation of GST, the government is formulating briefing and training programmes through three approaches, namely to be organised either by the government or the private sector or jointly by both," he said.
Meanwhile, when met at the Parliament lobby, Ahmad said the government would give an additional one-off cash assistance of RM300 to recipients of 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) next year to cushion the impact of rising Consumer Price Index when GST comes into force.
He said the total aid would involve an allocation of RM2.5 billion which is part of the GST revenue collection for the year.
"If the government were to announce the amount of BR1M next year as RM700 and coupled with the additional aid of RM300, the total value will be RM1,000," he said.
He said the other mechanism would be to reduce personal income tax by between one to three per cent involving an allocation of RM2.44 billion. -- BERNAMA