Rosmah hopes GST will curb prices of house calls for housewives like her

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PETALING JAYA: The goods and services tax (GST) should prevent hairdressers and tailors from overcharging for house calls, said the prime minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (pic) yesterday.

“It is really hard to make tailored clothes these days. Their prices come up to RM500, and I am speaking as a representative of housewives who buy made-to-order clothes.

“We have to make beautiful clothes to attend functions, but the prices are way too high. For those who can afford, it’s all right.

“But what about housewives like us, with no income?” she said at a briefing on the GST for members of Bakti, the association of wives of ministers and deputy ministers in Petaling Jaya, yesterday.

Rosmah complained that the charges by hairdressers, tailors and make-up artists who make house calls are “really high” and “do not make sense”, lamenting that she had to fork out RM1,200 each time she dyed her hair at home.

She said that housewives like herself, who have no choice but to use their services, often become victims and are burdened with exorbitant prices.

“Housewives, especially, often become the victims of such traders because there is no price control and guidelines by the government on house-call services,” she said.

Despite the tumbling oil prices, Rosmah said, these errant business people have refused to lower the prices for their services.

“Do we (housewives) have to keep asking our husbands then? For those who have husbands who don’t mind giving [money], it’s fine. But sometimes, there are husbands who say ‘Hey, I gave you last week and you want more?’

“So I feel that we (the government) should monitor these things as they (traders) will make exorbitant profits,” Rosmah added.

She also said that traders who provided services at clients’ homes are usually those who work independently — and are not likely to register for the GST.

“Tailors and hairdressers will not register but we don’t want them to increase the charges for their services.”

The prime minister’s wife said that she did not want to make a big deal or “too much noise” over this issue as some might say that even her husband is quiet about it, but noted that this is the “reality”.

“When the prices of these services increase by RM200, we feel the pinch and if we complain, I am just afraid that they won’t want to make our clothes. And it is hard for us as wives of civil servants,” she said.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan, who gave the briefing on the GST, said that many were still confused about the implementation of the consumption tax, thinking that it would cause the prices of goods to increase.

“That is not right. People think that when the GST is implemented, the prices of goods such as furniture, electrical items and clothes will go up but, in fact, it would decrease.”

Speaking to reporters later, the deputy minister said that Bakti’s call for control in the service tax for house calls was a good suggestion and will be considered.

“It is a good suggestion, and I believe the relevant ministry — the Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives and Consumerism Ministry — will look into this,” he added. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 24, 2015.