BENTONG, Sept 9 – The government will have to pay a higher deferment cost if it delays the decision to postpone the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project any longer, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said he did not understand why former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak felt that the government should wait until all tenders were closed and all bids were received before deciding on the matter.
“Why wait until the end of the year? If we don’t postpone it now, we will have to pay more … because basically the longer you take to decide to postpone the project the more you will have to compensate the other party.
“I don’t understand Najib’s logic, unless we want to pay more. I need to read more on his explanation,” he told reporters after attending the Sales and Services Tax (SST) briefing at the Bentong Chinese Chamber of Commerce, here today.
Lim was commenting on Najib’s statement made through a Facebook posting that the government should wait until the HSR project tender was closed before signing an agreement with Singapore to postpone the project to May 2020.
The media previously reported that Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had announced that the government had agreed to pay deferment cost of SG$15 million (RM45.1 million) to Singapore, following the postponement.
Commenting on the SST, Lim said the government’s willingness to expand the list of SST-exempted items based on the feedback from the public showed it’s commitment to ensure the well-being of the people, especially those from the lower income group (B40).
“For example, mobile phone accessories that were previously taxed at 10% has since been reduced to 5% following the feedback that many are using them.”
Lim added that traders should not worry about discussing issues with the Customs Department if they face problems, as the department practised a soft and friendly approach during the initial reimplementation of SST. — Bernama