Malaysia: No GST unless Malaysians give mandate for it, says finance minister

  • Lim Guan Eng on 4 Oct 19 assured Malaysians that the controversial goods and services tax (GST) will not return unless there is indisputable proof that the public is in favour of it.
  • The finance minister said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition won the last general election on the promise to abolish the consumption tax, which it did and has since replaced with the sales and services tax (SST).
  • “If people want to revive the 6% GST, like Tun Dr Mahathir said, we have to revive it, but there needs to be a clear mandate from the people,” he said.
  • Asked if the government will make a policy change after “incontrovertible evidence” from the public, Lim said the decision must be jointly made by the PH presidential council.
  • Lim added that he has not received any instructions from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the matter.
  • Dr Mahathir told a news conference on 3 Oct 19 that his government will study calls to bring back the GST and see if it was indeed more effective than the SST.
  • But Lim said bringing back GST now may burden taxpayers even if it did enrich the Treasury. “By abolishing GST, we have managed to rein in inflation. If we allow the 6% GST to come back, we can see inflation going up,” he said.

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