KUALA LUMPUR: The Sales and Service Tax (SST) starts today, yet traders and business operators are still in the dark on the new prices of goods.
They claim that they have not received any information or announcement from suppliers regarding the new or adjusted price after SST.
The current government is implementing the SST to replace the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which was repealed on June 1 to ease the people’s burden.
With the abolishment of the GST, the government allowed a three-month reprieve where products which were previously taxed under the GST were zero-rated.
Checks by Bernama in the city yesterday found most supermarkets, retail outlets and restaurants had yet to make changes on the prices of goods at their premises and were still awaiting the new price list from suppliers.
A supermarket supervisor in Cheras, who wanted to be known as Aswad, said the outlet was still maintaining the price of its products at the zero-rated Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“We are waiting for further information from suppliers on the new prices.
“At the moment, the prices of goods at our premises are still based on the previous invoice. Indeed, we have been informed about SST, but we are still waiting for further information from suppliers on the new prices, Possibly we’ll get it by next week,” he said.
An employee of a supermarket in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, who requested to be identified only as Hanum, said no change to the prices of goods had been made as there was still no instruction from the supermarket management to do so.
“We know about the SST, that it will start tomorrow, but it’s uncertain whether the price will be higher or lower,” she added.
A sales promoter of another supermarket here, Rohila Mohd Rozan, hoped that implementation of the SST would not burden consumers, especially those from the lower income group.
In PENANG, consumers seemed calmer and were ready for SST.
Technician, Maaruf Hassan, 47, said whatever the taxes, GST or SST, it would be the consumers who would have to bear the brunt.
“SST or GST, consumers will still pay more, because some traders will raise the price at will, that is the reality,” he added.
He appealed to the Pakatan Harapan government not to abolish the Living Aid Assistance previously known as the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) for the sake of those in the B40 group as the financial assistance helped ease their burden.
In IPOH, Perak, no panic buying was reported. Shoppers were seen buying in moderate quantities, despite social media reports and postings claiming that some household goods would be priced exorbitantly with the implementation of SST tomorrow.
Azura Mustapa, 42, said the implementation of the SST would not result in a sharp increase as tax was imposed only on certain products and services.
“Under GST, the price of most goods was high because they were taxed, but for SST, only certain products and services will be taxed,’ she added.
The government has assured consumers that there will be no significant price hikes. This is because the 6% service tax and 10% sales tax will only be imposed on certain products and services.
For 20-year-old Muhammad Farhan Hakimi Muhammad Faizul, the expected increase in the price of cigarettes under the SST would be a blow to hardcore smokers.
“On a positive note, it will be an initiative for smokers to quit the habit,” said the private sector employee.
The shopping mood at a popular supermarket in Senawang, SEREMBAN, was different, with many people buying as much as they could yesterday, in anticipation of the implementation of SST today.
They were seen filling up their shopping carts with essential items and other necessities, and there were long queues at the cashier counters.
Many of them,including Mohd Haizil Zainuddin, told Bernama that they were stocking up,
The 28-year-old said he did not want to miss the last day of shopping for zero-rated items and the possibility of unscrupulous traders raising the prices of certain goods from Sept 1.
Restaurant owner Lee Foo Seng, 47, agreed with Mohd Haizil saying that he spent RM600 yesterday to buy daily necessities.
Civil servant Mohd Fattah Luqman, 43, said the implementation of SST would not pose a problem as the people were previously paying the GST.
Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry director Ain Arjuna Aziz Zaman said she had not received reports of panic buying by consumers in the state.
In SHAH ALAM, the situation in most shopping centres and supermarkets was normal yesterday.
Azurun Salamon, 34, who works in a government department, said SST was not new as it had been implemented before 2014.
“With the implementation of SST from Sept 1, the goods will be slightly cheaper than items under the GST,” he told Bernama.
Private college student N Khishali, 23, said the relevant government agencies must act firmly in controlling traders who arbitrarily increased prices.
“For the first year of the introduction of SST, the relevant agencies such as the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry should carry out frequent operations to check on traders,” he added.