Time to reintroduce GST, says Dr Wee

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya must be brave and reintroduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST), says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

"We cannot delay a taxation system that will benefit us in the long run. We have the same opinion as other chambers of commerce, that we should bring back GST," said the MCA president.

He said that GST could be reintroduced with several improvements such as an exemption list, zero-rated supply and giving financial aid to the poor with increased government revenue.

"It was said that the 6% rate before was too high. It can always be reduced to 4% and increase it gradually.

"Have proper planning so that industry people can be well-prepared," said Dr Wee to reporters after chairing the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (Insap) 2024 National Budget Roundtable Discussion at Wisma MCA here on Wednesday (Sept 6).

He also said the GST refund mechanism should be improved as there were complaints of delays when it was implemented before.

"Refunds are very important so cash flow of businesses will not be affected," said Dr Wee.

He also acknowledged criticism from Pakatan Harapan leaders against GST, but said that it is time to move on.

"If you don't like the name GST, change it to any name you want," he said.

The Ayer Hitam MP also said that under the present Sales and Services Tax (SST) system, many businesses are dodging taxes, resulting in reduced revenue to the government.

"For the GST, there is nowhere you can run," he said.

"In 193 countries across the world, 174 nations have already implemented GST. We have to make a bold decision and forget about the past and move on," he said.

He added that the GST should be reintroduced next year along with the implementation of an electronic invoicing system.

Meanwhile, Dr Wee said Insap's roundtable discussion was fruitful as various inputs and concerns on national issues were identified.

Dr Wee said the government should impose a moratorium on Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) hikes as the B40 group is burdened by the increase in the price of rice.

He said the 36% increase in imported white rice prices would cause a domino effect in prices of goods.

"Disposable income will be less and this will impact traders and the business community.

"So we have to be very careful because in Q2 this year, the economy grew by 2.9% and exports declined by 13.1%," he added.

The outcome of the roundtable discussion will be compiled and handed to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he said.

"MCA and Insap will make a representation to the Finance Minister to have these recommendations be taken into consideration and included in Budget 2024," added Dr Wee.

Budget 2024 will be tabled on Oct 13.

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