PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian government will look at the need to reintroduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) if that is what people want, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday (Oct 3).
“If the people believe it is better, we will study,” he said.
“We will study whether it is better than SST (Sales and Service Tax),” he told reporters after launching the Security and Public Order policy at the Home Ministry.
GST, originally enforced on Apr 1, 2015 at a rate of 6 per cent, was replaced by SST on Sep 1 last year.
Abolishing GST was in the main manifesto of the Pakatan Harapan coalition during the general election last year, with the coalition calling it a regressive tax that “oppressed lower income groups”.
On Tuesday, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research urged the government to reinstate GST in next year’s budget at a lower rate of 3 per cent.
Its chairman Kamal Salih said SST is not enough to fill the income produced by GST, which had kept the government afloat when the price of crude oil plunged to below US$36 per barrel in 2015.
In response, Dr Mahathir said it was too late to include GST in the budget, which is set to be tabled next Friday.