A SEMINAR to provide better understanding of the goods and services tax (GST) was held at Politeknik Seberang Prai in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, with about 1,500 in attendance.
A similar seminar which also included talks about Budget 2014 and the bumiputra economy status was held in Perak earlier.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan, who was present, said similar seminars were being held in all states and will end on Feb 2.
“We want the community to have a better understanding of the GST, which will replace the sales and services tax (SST), and the Budget 2014. The 6% GST will be the lowest compared to other Asean countries, which are paying between 7% and 10%.
“If GST isn’t good, why have 160 out of 193 countries in the world implemented it? In fact, we are too late in imposing the GST,” he told a press conference after closing the seminar on Saturday.
Ahmad said the majority of the items that people were using already had a 10% sales tax at the manufacturing level.
“The 10% tax would grow to 15% or even 17% as the product is passed on to the wholesaler, retailer and finally to the consumer. With the GST, such a thing will not happen as consumers are only taxed 6%.”
On claims that Singapore started the GST at only 3% (in 1994), he said Singapore had no tax before the GST was imposed.
“Unlike us, we already had the SST, and (in that year) their government has just started to impose tax, that is why they started low,” he explained.
Earlier, a GST talk was conducted by Penang Customs Department director Datuk Zulkifli Yahya.