The time is not right to reintroduce the goods and services tax (GST) as the global economy is still slow, Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim Chee Keong said.
He said the government needs to look at the GST’s implementation holistically, and not only suggestions from certain parties.
“These parties have their reasons for the GST’s reintroduction. For example, traders might say they can claim back, but we need to look at the situation holistically, and not just from one or two parties.
“I am not saying whether the GST is good or bad, but this is not an appropriate time [to implement the GST], especially since we are facing a slow global economy and increases in prices of goods,” he said after a dialogue session held in conjunction with the Perak state-level Budget 2024 roadshow here on Monday.
The media previously quoted Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan as stating that several parties favour the GST, including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia, traders and economic analysts.
Ahmad, via a post on his Facebook, said that previously, he faced strong opposition over the GST, but now many parties have assisted in explaining the tax.
Sim said the government has other avenues to increase the country’s revenue apart from reimplementing the GST.
“We have other ways, [such as] better fiscal management, [a better] taxation system, and government procurement.
“We have all these methods, including targeted subsidies. So, with all these methods, we can manage our fiscal needs without resorting to the GST for now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said prior to the Budget 2024 roadshow, the state government had sent a list of nine high-impact projects that had been identified with financial implications totalling RM138.67 billion to the Ministry of Finance.
He said these projects would be the state government’s main focus, as they would be the main pillars for the state’s development plan, Perak Sejahtera 2030.
“The state government has listed the health sector in the state’s priority list to the federal government for the upcoming Budget 2024, with applications for RM1.47 million in project funding,” he said.