SERDANG: The Health Ministry has decided to maintain the price of cigarettes following the abolishing of the goods and services tax (GST).
Its minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said that the Pakatan Harapan Government will maintain the price of cigarettes following the abolishing of the GST on Friday (June 1).
"There will not be any decrease in price.
"That is our commitment to ensure that the prohibitive price is going to be one of the ways to prevent the use of cigarettes," he said in a press conference after the national-level World No Tobacco Day 2018 celebration here Thursday (May 31).
The theme for this year is Tobacco & Heart Disease - Towards a Generation Without Smoking.
Dr Dzulkefly said with the zero GST, the excise duty might have to be incorporated to maintain the selling price of cigarettes.
"So, we want to maintain on the price and not relax on the price," he said.
Asked if other ministries give their support to the ministry, Dr Dzulkefly said, "I don't think it will be a problem. We are almost on the same page on that one. I can vouch on that."
Currently, the price of per pack of 20-stick cigarettes range from RM12 to 17.
With the zero-rated GST, the price of things will drop, including cigarettes until the implementation of sales and services tax (SST).
"This is a huge window for new smokers to pick up smoking and current smokers to "stock up" and for ex-smokers to fall off the wagon.
"To maintain the price of cigarettes, there was a need to increase excise tax, of which Malaysia is way below the minimum level recommended by the World Health Organisation," said a source familiar with the issue.
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