IS THE INTRODUCTION OF THE GOODS SERVICE TAX (GST) IN MALAYSIA GOOD OR BAD?
In the new global economy, more companies are operating cross border, and as such are faced with the need to deal effectively with many different taxes, often in many different countries, each with different rates, ruling and application. Coupled with this, the regulatory environment is increasingly challenging. The IMF has been trying to push for all countries to adopt the Goods Service Tax (GST), or also known in certain countries as Value Added Tax (VAT), so as to create a more level playing field amongst trading nations. Direct taxes have in the past been used to camouflage â€˜protectionismâ€™ policy of certain countries. High tariff on certain product like motorcar has prevented healthy competition amongst trading nations. The general populations of that country are left without a choice but to consume the local products, as imported products have become more expensive with the high tariff. Often, because of this, the local products tend to be inferior in quality as there is no real incentive to compete.
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In the 2005 Budget, the Government of Malaysia announced that GST will be implemented on Jan 1 2007 to replace the current sales and service tax (SST). Following public outcry, on 22 February 2006 it announced a deferment to allow lead time to businesses for potential changes in processes, development of software and personnel training.
The first reading of the GST Bill was tabled in December 2009 and the second and third reading is expected in April 2010.
The Prime Minister recently announced that the increase in revenue expected from the introduction of GST will be used mainly to finance the hike in Civil Servantsâ€™ salary and to finance other infrastructure works for the benefit of the nation at large.
Is GST really needed for Malaysia? If so, how does it affect the general public and the country as a whole? The aim of this paper is to discuss and bring to attention the problems which we might face with the implementation of the GST, or if we are to remain status quo with the SST.
The Ministry of Finance presented the following information to highlight on GST. It stated that it would be part of the overall tax reform to overcome the inherent weaknesses in the SST and to reduce the reliance on revenue from direct taxes and petroleum. GST is a more efficient and effective tax system as it is self policing and has an in-build cross checking features. It enhances tax compliance and deals with less bureaucracy. It is also a more stable source of revenue compared to income tax and less susceptible to economic downturn due to the consumption nature of the tax.
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