GST dosage proves ‘fatal’

  • Community
  • Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015

The traditional way: Yew (left) attending to a customer while his wife Meow Leng uses an abacus to calculate the cost of the herbs at their medicine shop in Jalan Danby in Bukit Mertajam.

TRADITIONAL medicine shop owner Yew Chian Hooi has no choice but to close the doors of his 74-year-old shop as he cannot meet the requirements for the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system.

Kedai Ubat Ban Swee Choon at Jalan Danby in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, will no longer be opened for business after today.

Yew said he made the decision to close shop last year.

He had already sold most of his stock at the shop and plans to return the rest to the suppliers.

“I do not have problem with the paperwork or computer procedures to register for GST.

“However, I am unclear about the items in my shop that should be taxed under the GST as I don’t know how to translate the traditional names of the Chinese herbs and medications into Bahasa Malaysia,” said the 75-year-old former graduate of Nanyang University in Singapore.

Yew had obtained his Bachelor’s degree in History from the university in 1964.

He was speaking to reporters during a visit by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to his shop yesterday.

Yew said the business was started by his late father in 1941 during the Japanese Occupation.

“In 1974, the business was handed over to me.

“The business survived the Japanese Occupation, but not the GST,” he said to the amusement of his wife Chin Meow Leng, 72.

Yew said that he was sad that the shop had to be closed but his wife was happy as it would give them more time to go on holidays together.

“Previously, we had to take turns to go for holidays as one of us has to stay back to look after the shop.

“Now, we can travel to China, United Kingdom and the United States to visit our children,” said Yew.

The couple have four daughters aged between 35 and 45.

Two of them are engineers, one is a graphic designer and another is an accountant.

Yew said that his daughters were not keen on taking over the business.

Asked if he would have continued his business if there was no GST, Yew added that he would probably carry on for a couple more years.

Lim said it was a pity Yew could not continue his business because of the GST implementation.

“I believe many other shops are facing a similar situation. It is a shame that a traditional business like this has to end.

“We hope the Federal Government will consider postponing the GST implementation,” said Lim.

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