SST will save states, local councils millions of ringgit

Lim Guan Eng says under the GST, state governments had to pay 6% for every community project, such as roadworks, drainage, buildings or renting community halls. (Youtube screengrab)

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says the sales and services tax (SST) would save states and local councils millions of ringgit in taxes.

He said under the goods and services tax (GST), state governments had to pay 6% for every community project, such as roadworks, drainage, buildings or renting community halls.

Lim said SST is good for both sides of the political divide.

“Let’s say, the state government starts a RM2 billion road project. The state has to pay RM120 million in GST. Some projects were not carried out because the state government did not have the money to pay GST.

“Now, they can save more,” he said when wrapping up debate on the Services Tax Bill 2018. The bill was later passed at the Dewan Rakyat today.

The Sales Tax Bill 2018 was passed by Parliament yesterday. Together, both these bills will form the SST regime that will be implemented from Sept 1 this year.

The Goods and Services Tax (Repeal) Bill 2018 will also be passed soon and will mark the end of the GST regime in Malaysia.

Commenting on a statement by Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) that PH should be responsible for all the debts as the new government, Lim said: “Even if there are bones (given to us), we will accept but there are not even bones.”

He referred to his statement yesterday that the account where GST refunds were supposed to be deposited was empty.

“Don’t say it is a technical error. Some people have not been paid since April 1, 2015 (when GST was implemented).

“Don’t blame the Customs Department. If money is not given to the Customs, how are they supposed to pay (the refunds)?

“There are not even bones left. How to pay?” asked Lim.

Ahmad had asked the government to look for money if there was no money.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datuk) said the PH government should stop acting like an opposition and “should stop the blame game”.

“You should be pragmatic. The mandate has been given to you, so do good.”