KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 – The increase in the prices of goods and services in the country is influenced by various factors and is not due to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz. He said the inputs for the determination of the prices of goods did not only take into consideration the question of taxation but was influenced by foreign currency exchange, cost of transportation and other marketing aspects.
“We cannot say that GST is the cause of the rising prices. The prices of items not subject to GST have also gone up… many other factors influence the prices of goods. The government is constantly monitoring the situation so that it does not get too burdensome,” he said during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He was replying to a supplementary question from Loke Siew Foke (DAP-Seremban) who had asked whether GST was the cause of the rise in the prices of goods that had burderned consumers in the country. Othman said the issue of rising prices of goods and services always remained the concern of the government and various initiatives such as the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) and smallholders’ aid scheme were undertaken by the government to help the people.
Replying to the original question, from Aaron Ago Anak Dagang (BN-Kanowit), on the problems faced by the government in implementing the GST, Othman said the GST process had improved from the time it was implemented on April 1, 2015, as there had been a decline in the number of complaints received by the government on that tax. “Based on the records of the Customs Department, some 6,830 complaints were received in 2015, some 1,235 in 2016 and 185 up to July 2017.
“This shows a better understanding of the GST compared to the early stage (of implementation) where the people, particularly traders, lacked understanding and were confused and made it seem that the GST implementation was haphazard,” he said. Othman said the government estimated that the GST receipts would be RM40 billion this year compared to RM27.01 billion in 2015 and RM41.2 billion in 2016. — Bernama