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Not right time to reinstate GST, says deputy finance minister

Steven Sim Chee Keong cites the slow global economy and rising prices of goods.

2 minute read
Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim Chee Keong. Photo: Bernama
Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim Chee Keong. Photo: Bernama

 The time is not right to reintroduce the goods and services tax (GST) as the global economy is still slow, Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim Chee Keong said.

He said the government needed to look at GST's implementation holistically and not only accept suggestions from certain parties.

"These parties have their reasons for GST's reintroduction. For example, traders might say they can claim back, but we need to look at the situation holistically and not just from one or two parties.

"I am not saying whether GST is good or bad, but this is not an appropriate time (to implement GST), especially since we are facing a slow global economy and an increase in the price of goods," he said after a dialogue session held in conjunction with the Perak state-level Budget 2024 roadshow in Ipoh today.

The media previously quoted Deputy Finance Minister I Ahmad Maslan as stating that several parties favour the GST, including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia, traders, and economic analysts.

Maslan, via a post on his Facebook, said previously that he faced strong opposition over the GST, but now many parties have assisted in explaining the tax.

Sim said the government has other avenues to increase the country's revenue apart from reimplementing GST.

"So we have other ways, (such as) better fiscal management, a better taxation system, and government procurement.

"We have all these methods, including targeted subsidies. So, with all these methods, we can manage our fiscal needs without resorting to GST for now," he said.

Meanwhile, Perak Menteri Besar Saarani Mohamad said prior to the budget's roadshow, the state government had sent a list of nine high-impact projects that had been identified with financial implications totalling RM138.67 billion to the finance ministry.

He said these projects would be the state government's main focus as they would be the main pillars for the state's development plan, Perak Sejahtera 2030.

"The state government has listed the health sector as one of the main focus in the state’s priority list for the federal government in the upcoming Budget 2024, with applications for RM1.47 million in project funding," he said.