Wait for budget, Guan Eng tells Umno MPs on new taxes

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today urged Umno MPs to be patient on the possibility that Putrajaya would introduce new taxes to recover the revenue lost following the abolishment of the goods and services tax (GST).

Speaking in the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat, he asked them to wait another two weeks for the announcement of the federal budget.

“Only two weeks left, I hope the Bera MP will be patient,” he said, referring to Ismail Sabri Yaakob who had asked if new taxes would be introduced as the government stood to lose RM17 billion after scrapping the GST.

Lim earlier said the government estimated that RM4 billion would be collected from the sales and services tax (SST) from September to December.

He said the government would also carry out audits and reviews of high-cost projects, probe various cases concerning oil revenue and improve on tax collection to increase revenue.

He also said Putrajaya would take steps to ensure that the country’s debt situation was curbed.

He had been asked to state the amount of reduction in government revenue following the abolishment of the GST, as well as Putrajaya’s strategy to cover the shortfall.

There was an uproar in the Dewan earlier when he said he had never claimed that the SST would reduce the price of goods.

He said figures from the Statistics Department showed that the inflation rate was 0.7% in July and 0.2% in August.

“One month before the GST was implemented in April 2015, inflation was 0.1%. This shows it is true that it (GST) increased inflation.

“We never guaranteed that prices would not go up. If you can, show proof (that I said) that SST would reduce prices.

“If you cannot show proof, (it can be considered) ill intention on the issue,” he said in the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat.