Anwar: Malaysian household income still low, no plans to restore GST

Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: There are currently no plans to reintroduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the income level of Malaysians is still relatively low, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"As I have previously stated with regard to the transparency of the GST taxation system, we are not ready.

"The level of income of the rakyat is still low while there are still some 30,000 who are hardcore poor.

"I don't think we will consider this in the next six months or a year," the Prime Minister said when replying to a question raised by Datuk Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (PN-Tanjong Karang) in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (March 14).

He said revenue collection and strict enforcement to avoid tax evasion was sufficient as an alternative to reintroducing the GST.

"It's the rich towkays (tycoons) that often evade tax and I have said that there should not be any compromise on this in ensuring that the rich pay their taxes," he said.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said he has directed the relevant authorities to investigate such cases including those contained in the Pandora Papers.

Earlier, to a question by Dr Mohammed Taufiq Johari (PH-Sungai Petani), Anwar said the government has to strike a balance between reducing deficit and promoting economic growth.

"We need to strike a balance as there are plans to reduce the deficit from 5.6% to 5% this year and to 3.2% by 2025," he said.

Although forecasts for development and operating expenditures had increased from RM95bil to RM97bil and RM272.3bil to RM289.1bil respectively under Budget 2023, he said that revenue collection had exceeded the initial forecast.

He noted that the Inland Revenue Board had collected RM294.3bil for 2022 compared to RM234bil forecasted in October last year.

He also noted that the government will not be spending on Covid-19 matters this year.

"Another important thing is that we spent RM31bil on Covid-19 in 2022.

"We won't have to spend on anything this year," he said.

Anwar also said that the government will be making a RM3bil one-off payment on the RM13.5bil 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) debt this year and will not have to do so again next year.

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