Putrajaya urged to spare baby car seats from SST

PETALING JAYA: Business players in the baby products industry have expressed concern over the implementation of the 10% sales and services tax (SST) on items such as car seats, saying this may affect the general safety of children.

Wong Pei Min, whose company sells car seats and strollers, said if possible, they wished to ask for a waiver of the tax on car seats as such products were not optional.

“They are a safety requirement,” he told FMT, adding that imposing SST on these items could see parents deciding to forgo buying them.

He said the car seats he sells can cost anywhere from RM300 to thousands of ringgit, adding that the SST would cause a spike in these prices.

He also said only some items in the market would get taxed while others would not.

Former transport minister Liow Tiong Lai previously said car owners travelling with young children would need to have car seats in their vehicles by 2019.

However, Anthony Loke who took over the position following the May 9 polls said in July that this would not necessarily be enforced as the announcement was made by the previous government.

He said the ministry needed to review the practicality of the ruling.

Gwei Tze-Co, who is president of the Baby Product Association of Malaysia, told FMT it could cost between RM600 and RM700 per month for baby formula and diapers on top of some RM2,000 a year for accessories excluding car seats.

He agreed that charging SST on car seats could discourage parents from buying the product but said it was important to raise awareness of children’s safety.

“I think if parents are aware that it can save lives, they wouldn’t mind spending the extra money.

“Some of them don’t think it’s important. They buy cheaper ones that lack quality, which are not as safe,” he added.

Wong meanwhile said the business volume in the baby products market was small but constant as parents needed to replace certain items every so often.

He said some things could not be reused or recycled but needed to be bought brand new.

“It’s niche but the product range is very wide,” he said, adding that the life-cycle of a product in the market is approximately four years.

Celia Teoh, whose company sells organic products for babies and mothers, said there were only about 50 industry players selling local and international products in the Malaysian market.