PUTRAJAYA, April 16 – Putrajaya is studying a proposal to abolish the service charge among other suggestions to address the dispute over the fee, a Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry official said today. In a press conference here, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad said the proposition was among those put forth to address the debate on whether business can or should collect the charge.
“Next Monday, we will be meeting with NGOs (non-governmental organisations), industries and those from food and beverages industries to discuss on this service charge,” he said. “One of the suggestions to us is to abolish service charge and restructure payment for employees. We will look into that as well and, hopefully, come up with different ideas if not solutions.” He added they decided on a meeting so there could engagement with all parties involved as opposed to making a “unilateral” decision on the issue.
The issue arose after consumers complained over the continued collection of the service charge following the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Although the charge dates back decades, some consumers began refusing to pay for this after the GST came into effect on April 1. This prompted the ministry to first say that such charges are not regulated, before issuing a directive that businesses must have collective agreements with their employees before charging for service.