No more Pink Tax for menstrual products

Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy. -filepic

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will finally be removing the Pink Tax on menstrual products including panty liners and sanitary pads.

A check on the Customs Department website revealed that panty liners, sanitary pads and tampons are exempted from the Sales and Service Tax (SST) that is set at either 5% or 10%.

Both items are categorised under “Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles”.

Customs Department deputy director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy confirmed during a media briefing Thursday (Aug 30) that sanitary products were one of the 5,443 general goods that were tax-exempt.

He said comparatively, only 545 general goods were exempted under the now repealed Goods and Services Tax (GST).

GST had categorised panty liners and sanitary pads under “beauty and health products”.

This exemption from the SST comes as a relief to the 15.7 million women in Malaysia as they have had to pay the 6% GST for menstrual products before it was zero-rated on June 1.

The previous Barisan Nasional government’s decision to tax menstrual products sparked anger among Malaysians who argued that it was an essential product and should therefore be exempted from the tax.

Weeks after the GST was implemented in 2015, a Facebook page and online petition was launched to appeal to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to put female hygiene products on the zero-rate list.

“GST on sanitary products infringes on our basic rights to access sanitary aid,” the petition read, adding that the tax restricts the public’s access to basic healthcare as it lessened the product’s accessibility and affordability especially for the low-income groups.

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