FIRST and foremost, I would like to congratulate Ahmad Maslan and Steven Sim on their appointment as deputy finance ministers. Indeed, the image of having Umno and DAP leaders working side by side under the stewardship of the prime minister helming the most important ministry in the government marks the spirit of this unity government. Truly this marks a new era of politics for Malaysia.
Speaking of a new era, I call upon the government to seriously consider re-implementing the Goods and Services Tax or GST to ensure a more robust economy and a sustainable source of income for the government. It is quite obvious by now that GST is a far better taxation system than SST. Having a more comprehensive taxation system that covers the shortcomings and loopholes of SST outweighs the short-term pain of re-implementing it.
While there are concerns that it might affect inflation, or to be more specific, put pressure to increase the prices of goods, thus affecting the general consumer, what the government can consider is implementing a much lower tax rate as opposed to the 6% rate the last time around. What’s more, various mechanisms, such as the anti-profiteering act and short-term price control schemes, can be implemented to soften the effects of the re-implementation of GST.,
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The government needs to diversify its income and be less dependent on oil and gas revenue, which is highly exposed to fluctuations. We can’t be overly dependent on commodities that are susceptible to geopolitical influence beyond our control. Malaysia needs a more transparent and robust taxation system to help the government manage and collect taxes while ensuring a more sustainable form of revenue.
With the experience gained and the various legislative mechanisms already available to the government, I believe we can implement GST in a much more effective manner than the first time around. – December 13, 2022.
* Zaidel Baharudin is Muda vice-president.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.
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