Guan Eng: Review, amendment of SST goods list by year end

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 2): The government will be reviewing the list of goods under the new sales and services tax and amend it by the end of the year after it conducts a study on whether some goods should be taxed following feedback from the public, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"The full list has already been uploaded but we need to make amendments. We need to impose the SST on Sept 1. I have no choice, because we could be in a deficit if it was not implemented on Sept 1.

“After getting the views and requests of the people...we will be making another round of amendments and I hope  people will be patient,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama after a briefing on the implementation of SST in Penang, on Saturday.

He also said there were problems with food items that should not be taxed. The problem arose when they are grouped with others. "The problem is all imported foodstuff such as seafood like abalone as well as prawns were lumped in the same group, so we have to make the amendment. That is why we may take out some items which ordinary people consume, and we will also study on whether to reduce or increase the rate,” he said.

The Bagan MP also admitted there have been some confusion over SST's implementation of SST.

As example, he said there were complaints from consumers who ate at restaurants such as nasi kandar shops which imposed a service tax of 6%. He said through SST, the government had raised the threshold for service tax to RM1.5 million compared to RM500,000 under the goods and services tax or GST. Only restaurants with sales exceeding the threshold have to impose the 6% service tax.

"I want to stress that service charge is not a tax. It is a collection for restaurant waiters and waitresses. In the past, GST is charged on service charge but under SST we do not tax service charge,” he said.

Lim also assured prepaid card buyers that they would be receiving the full amount if they reload their prepaid mobile phone. 

“We have issued the order that we want to ensure that a prepaid card for RM10 will be worth RM10. The 6% service tax will be credited back as it is set in the service tax system.

“There should not be technical problems but if it happened, we will give rebate to the buyer for the same value. So do not be taken in by parties who are instigating that a RM10 prepaid card is worth less than RM10. It is not true,” he said. 

Today, during a similar SST briefing in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, he said the government will be meeting telecommunication companies to ensure that prepaid users get the full reload value for every top-up.