Not all medicines are exempt from GST, says minister

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government has no intention to exempt all medicines from the goods and services tax (GST) when it is implemented in April next year.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said the ministry had already identified 320 chemical compounds which were approved as “zero-rated” under the GST, involving more than 4,200 brands of medicine.

“So far, there has been no attempt to exempt 100% of the medicines from the GST ... but we are also trying to get basic medical equipment to manage patients and treatments falling under the category,” he said after launching the Malaysia Neuro Symposium here yesterday.

He said non-essential drugs would be bound for the GST upon implementation of the tax, beginning April next year. Subramaniam said this in response to the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, which on Monday, appealed to the government for all medicines to be zero-rated under the GST.

Meanwhile, in response to a statement from Pasir Mas MP, Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz, blaming Thailand for the alarming rate of HIV infections in Kelantan, Subramaniam said PAS should educate the people on this issue.

“It is an individual choice, so the PAS-led Kelantan government should go back to their people to educate and strengthen them mentally.

“We cannot blame anyone. The border will always be there and it is up to people to decide what they want to choose ... being ruled under PAS, they should be better,” he noted. — Bernama

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 14, 2014.