No Turning Back On GST, Says PM

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 – THE government will not reverse its decision to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April next year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday. Najib said plans to implement the tax system were proceeding smoothly, with some 120,000 companies registered for GST. He said the government expected to get at least 200,000 businesses registered by the end of the year.

Speaking to delegates at the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) International Accountancy Conference at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here yesterday, Najib said accountancy bodies would play a pivotal role in the implementation of GST by ensuring that all Malaysian companies registered for GST. “There is no turning back. We are implementing GST. I would like to urge accounting bodies to play their role to ensure that the GST will be successfully implemented,” he said in his speech when opening the conference.

“I wish to call upon the MIA to provide all your support to Malaysian businesses out there, in your unique position and opportunities, to reach out in ensuring that Malaysian companies are registered and GST-ready.” Najib said MIA, through its channels, networks and clients, would have direct contact with businesses and could provide them with assistance to promote the national initiative.

“We believe that professional accountancy bodies, acting in the interest of the public, must play an active role. We need to work together to ensure that the regulation is effective and efficient.” Najib, who is also finance minister, said companies would be better prepared for GST if they registered before the Dec 31 deadline.

“I would like to appeal to all Malaysians, especially businesses, to register to avoid the classic ‘Malaysian syndrome’ of last- minute registration.”  Present were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong, Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Najib said the government was working to strengthen the accountancy profession in the country through the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). “The ETP, which seeks to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020, envisages a strong demand for professional accountants. So, we have continued our policies to develop the profession by adopting internationally accepted standards.”

Najib said the establishment of a Professional Accounting Centre at Universiti Teknologi Mara, announced during the tabling of the 2015 Budget last month, would prepare aspiring accountants to succeed. MIA president Johan Idris said the partnership between the government and accountancy bodies would bring greater value to the country’s economic development.

“In view of Malaysia’s move to boost foreign direct investments, and to make Malaysia a regional hub, professional services, such as accountancy, have a bigger role to play as partners to power the economy. “The ETP would need at least 60,000 qualified accountants by 2020. Supporting this will require manpower planning of accountants at the right place, at the right time, doing the right things suited for economic growth.

“We need qualified and competent accountants for our future, while making the structural adjustments to attract, develop and retain top accounting talent.” Johan said MIA had organised more than 250 GST programmes to educate and create awareness among the public as the implementation of GST drew closer. About 2,000 delegates from more than 20 countries attended the conference to exchange ideas and knowledge in the accounting field.

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