Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today, 3 October, that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) could be brought back
According to Malaysiakini, Tun Dr Mahathir said that the government will study if the GST is better than the Sales and Services Tax (SST) and if it is something the Malaysians want, then the Pakatan Harapan government will consider bringing it back.
Well, if the people believe it (the GST) is better, we will study that.
This comes after the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) urged the government to bring back the GST in the upcoming Budget 2020
MIER chairman Tan Sri Kamal Salih said instead of a six percent tax rate, he suggested the new GST could be at a lower rate of three percent, reported The Star.
Kamal said the GST was responsible for keeping the government afloat when the crude oil price plummeted below USD36 per barrel in 2015.
"The GST is a fair system – some people said it is regressive because the poor would be affected," said Kamal.
"But we have exclusion clauses that will protect the lower income group, or B40."
The MIER chairman added that the current tax system will never be able to produce the same amount of collection as the GST despite the effort of expanding SST taxable sectors
Kamal said the government should reintroduce the GST as soon as possible.
He, however, added that a steady economic growth should come before it or else the reintroduction of GST would end up burdening the people, reported Malay Mail.
When asked if Budget 2020 would see the tax system change, Tun Dr Mahathir said that it would be difficult
"It will be difficult (to study it for) this budget. Maybe later on," Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by KiniTV.
Budget 2020 will be tabled on Friday, 11 October.
The Pakatan Harapan government previously abolished the GST after winning the 14th General Election.
Malaysia went through three months tax holiday before the SST was introduced, a tax system that charges 10 percent on goods and six percent on services.