Guan Eng promises to review list of goods under SST

BUTTERWORTH: The government will review the list of goods under the sales and services tax (SST) and amend the list by the end of the year.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the ministry would gather feedback from the public on the list of goods and a study would be conducted on whether some goods would continue to be subjected to the tax.

“The full list has already been uploaded but we need to make amendments. As I have said that we need to impose SST on Sept 1. I have no choice, because we could be in a deficit if it was not implemented on Sept 1.

“After getting the views and requests of the people, we as the caring government will listen to the views and take the appropriate actions. So we will be making another round of amendments and I hope the people will be patient,” he told reporters after a briefing on the implementation of SST here.

He said there were several food items which should not be taxed under SST as some goods were placed under the same group.

“The problem is all imported foodstuff such as seafood like abalone as well as prawns were lumped in the same group, so we have to make the amendment.

“That is why we may take out some items which ordinary people consume, and we will also study on whether to reduce or increase the rate,” he said.

Lim said there were confusions over the implementation of SST by consumers who do not know the tax system.

As an example, he said there were complaints from consumers who ate at restaurants which imposed the service tax of 6%.

He said through implementation of SST, the government had increased the threshold for service tax to RM1.5 million compared to RM500,000 under GST, in which only restaurants with sales exceeding the amount will have to impose the 6% service tax.

“Here, I hope customers will understand why some restaurants do not need to collect and some do. Do not blame the restaurant owners as they are only carrying out their responsibilities as responsible businessmen who complied with the law.

“I also want to stress that service charge is not a tax. It is a collection for restaurant waiters and waitresses. In the past, GST was applied on service charge but under SST we do not tax service charge,” he said.