Lim: No plans to bring back GST


KUALA LUMPUR: The government will not be bringing back the Goods and Services Tax (GST), said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Lim said he had not yet heard of any proposal by economists to reintroduce GST.

“We abolished the GST in June last year and there are no plans to bring it back,” he said in response to questions from reporters after he launched 1 Utama’s 1Pay E-wallet and online shopping e-commerce platform (Oneshop.com.my) here yesterday.

On Wednesday, The Sun daily quoted economists asking the government to consider reintroducing the unpopular GST for Budget 2020 to replace the Sales and Services Tax (SST) to increase the country’s coffers.

On July 24, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said that the government had projected the collection of SST to reach RM22bil this year.

However, RM44bil was collected under GST by the then Barisan Nasional government in 2017.

On whether the government will fulfill its promise of giving 20% of oil royalty to Sarawak instead of the current 5%, Lim said the government was currently unable to do so as it was saddled with debt left by the previous government.

“It is not a small sum. 1MDB, those related to 1MDB and non-1MDB related scandals, all involve sums amounting to RM150bil,” Lim said.

He added that the government was moving towards fulfilling some of its promises such as the Pan Borneo highway which connects Sabah and Sarawak.

Meanwhile, he said the Cabinet had discussed the proposal for more samurai bonds from Japan and had arrived at a decision.

“Please wait for the official statement because this involves raising of the samurai bonds in Tokyo, and I think a proper statement will be issued.”

During his speech, Lim said the outlook for shopping centres and the retail industry as a whole was favourable for this year.

The overall 5.7% growth was driven by expansion of retail sales, which grew by 7.1% in July 2019 to RM46.2bil from RM43.4bil a year ago, he said.

Meanwhile, Lim said the Malaysian Shopping Malls Association forecasts a 4.5% growth for the retail industry for the whole of 2019.

Lim also urged Malaysians to adapt to the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) which is creating massive digital shifts globally at unprecedented speed, or else risk being left behind.

“Given that the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2022, over 21% of Malaysia’s GDP will be digitalised against the current level of 18%, this is something Malaysian businesses need to prepare for today,” he said.

With Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) leading the country’s digital economy, the national E-Commerce sector gross value grew by 14.3% to RM85.8bil in 2017 from RM75bil in 2016, said Lim.

He added that under the stewardship and guidance of MDEC, Malaysia’s digital industry had attracted investments surpassing RM320bil last year.

Goods and Services Tax , GST , Lim Guan Eng

   

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