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Thursday, April 10, 2014

GST: Strengthen enforcement capability

April 10, 2014
FMT LETTER: From Sukhdave Singh, via e-mail

While the Perak Consumer Movement (PCM) is supportive of the GST, it cannot be denied that the average consumer is worried if it would have an adverse impact on their livelihood.

With subsidy rationalisation and the recent increase in fuel and electricity prices, consumers are now left even more worried if GST will be further impact their livelihoods.

PCM believes that GST will bring about a reduction in the prices of goods and services as businesses pass on the benefits of reduced tax incidence to consumers by slashing the prices of goods.

But what if businesses take advantage by increasing prices of goods and services squarely blaming the GST? Is the government enforcement machinery ready to act against profiteers?

PCM calls on the government to ensure that all enforcement capability, equipped with relevant laws are ready to be fully deployed to deal swiftly against profiteers.

There is also a pressing need for more strategic and transparent communication from the government to the public and businesses to create awareness on GST.

Civil Society groups must be roped in to ensure the message is communicated correctly and professionally.

Consumer Associations should be encouraged to set up complaint units within their respective areas to support the government by channelling grievances to the correct enforcement agencies for action.

As the implementation of GST is a paradigm shift in the way tax is collected in Malaysia, consumers especially low income earners should not be left in a lurch for want of action by authorities.

We have seen over the years how traders have profiteered on a handful of price control items announced by government during festivities.

The writer is secretary, Perak Consumer Movement

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