Wee: T&CM should be exempted from SST

KUALA LUMPUR: Traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) treatments should be exempted from the sales and service tax (SST) which will be raised to 8% next year, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

This is because worldwide, the healthcare sector has combined T&CM treatments with modern medicine, the MCA president wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.

“Previously, the medical and health sectors were generally considered as tax-free,” Dr Wee said on the government’s announcement to raise the SST for businesses providing massage, physiotherapy and traditional medicine treatments.

“I am afraid that there are those who make narratives or propaganda that even treatment, massage and physiotherapy have to pay an 8% tax,” he added.

Beginning March next year, T&CM facilities, such as Chinese traditional medicine shops and services with an annual turnover of RM500,000 per year will have to charge 8% in SST.

They have also been told to pay taxes dating back from 2018.

“If these operators had not collected the SST from their customers, can they claim it from those who sought treatment from 2018 to 2023?” said the Ayer Hitam MP.

Dr Wee said that the Guideline of Professional Services of the Service Tax 2018, issued by the Customs Department, states that medical and surgical consultation services by private clinics, and medical practitioners, are exempted from the SST.

However, under the Customs’ General Guide of the Service Tax 2018, massage parlours as well as health and wellness centres fall in the same category as nightclubs, dance halls and beer houses, which are taxable.

In a Health Ministry statement dated Dec 14, T&CM outlets are in the same category.

However, traditional Chinese medicine is one of the branches of services that have been accepted by the Health Ministry.

“In fact, there are traditional Chinese medicine services in several government hospitals. Many patients are still being treated by T&CM practitioners in Malaysia at this point,” he said.

Dr Wee also pointed out that Chinese, Malay and Ayurvedic traditional therapies have been acknowledged under the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act 1976 (Act 775).

He added that many local and overseas universities have also introduced Traditional Chinese Medicine courses.

He said the UTAR Hospital in Kampar has 250 beds for modern medicine and another 100 beds for the T&CM section.

“Be it T&CM or modern medicine, they have the same objective, which is to take care of the people’s health.

“We need to be consistent and not discriminate against any type of medical treatment,” he added.

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