Saifuddin: GST to be raised in presidential council meet

  • Nation
  • Friday, 04 Oct 2019

PUTRAJAYA: The Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting scheduled for Monday is deemed the best platform to discuss calls to reintroduce the Goods and Services Tax as it is a big policy shift.

Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said requests to re-introduce GST would be raised then.

“If the statement made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (on GST) is seen as something that is acceptable by the Pakatan leaders, definitely it will be discussed,” said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister.

The PKR secretary-general was asked to comment on Dr Mahathir’s remark that “if people believe it (GST) is better, we will study it ... if it is better than SST (Sales and Services Tax).”

The Prime Minister was commenting on the call by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) yesterday.

However, when asked if the Government could announce GST’s reinstatement in Budget 2020, Dr Mahathir said it would be difficult as the Budget would be tabled next week. “Maybe we can do it later,” he added.

Saifuddin admitted that MIER’s suggestion would be a huge policy shift.

“And it will have an impact politically. We have to listen, debate and study all the implications, including economically as well as politically,” he said.

Asked if it would be seen as another “flip-flop” by the Pakatan government, Saifuddin said it was too premature to make such conclusions.

“We have yet to reach that level, and it is just a statement from the Prime Minister.

“Whether or not it becomes policy, we do not know yet,” he said.

After taking Putrajaya, Pakatan suspended the GST in June, 2018 before reintroducing the SST on Sept 1.

Earlier this week, MIER suggested that the government reintroduce the GST but at a lower rate of 3%, not the original 6%.

Its chairman Tan Sri Kamal Salih reportedly described the GST as a tax regime that was fair to all walks of life, adding that the system kept the government afloat when crude oil price declined to below US$36 a barrel in 2015.

Removing the GST was one of Pakatan’s signature campaign promises prior to the 14th general election.

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