THE Government will reduce the rate of import tariff on Jan 1, and increase new excise duties on both local and imported cars, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Kerk Choo Ting said.
In Sin Chew Dailys front page, Kerk said the import tariff rate for non-Asean countries would not be affected by the gradual reduction on import tariff for cars imported from Asean countries.
Kerk, who said the reduction on import tariff rate would be on cars and car components from Asean member countries, added that cars with 40% Asean local content would also be regarded as cars from Asean.
Measures introduced in 2004 are only temporary and the actual measures will be carried out in 2005, he said, adding that a detailed announcement on this would be made soon.
By Jan 1, 2005, all import tariff rate on cars from Asean should not be more than 20%, Kerk said.
Presently, he said the tariff rate on all imported cars ranged between 100% and 300% depending on the car models.
On excise duties, Kerk said only local car manufacturers were subjected to excise duties now but once the Government started to implement the gradual reduction of import tariff, cars from Asean countries would have to pay excise duties.
Sin Chew Daily also reported that many motor vehicles traders were not aware of the gradual reduction of import tariff rate and the increase in excise duties, and felt that the relevant authorities should be more transparent.
Many traders felt that consumers would continue to wait and see as people were still in the dark.
The Government should be more transparent so that both consumers and those in the motor vehicles industry can make their own adjustments, it reported.
MAA president Aishah Ahmad told Sin Chew Daily that she was not aware of the new changes concerning the import tariff rate and excise duties.
She said the ministry had not contacted the association for a long time and the last dialogue was in April for the Budget 2004.
She said the association had not received any response from the ministry on its proposal on various issues, adding that she felt car prices would not drop sharply next year.
Even if the prices for some new car models are lower, this should not be regarded as an indication, she said.
Both Sin Chew Daily and Nanyang Siang Pau reported that piranhas could be found in the aquarium fish pet shops in Pudu.
Sin Chew Daily reported that a photographer spotted piranhas in one of the pet shops there and approached a customer who revealed that many did not know the dangers of keeping piranhas.
It has been reported that piranhas have bitten people who put their hands in an aquarium full of them.