KUCHING: It was untrue that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had left RM42 billion for government's use.
Instead, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said there was only RM450 million available in the coffers as of April 30.
“Do you believe when Najib said he left RM42 billion to us (the government)? It can't be true as there were only millions, not billions.
"That’s why we need to impose the Sales and Services Tax (SST). We (government) don’t have enough money,” he said.
Lim said that towards the end of the three-month tax holiday, there have been requests that the government delay the implementation of SST.
“But, I’m sorry. We need money to run the country. Otherwise, we will be facing an operating deficit,” he said.
However, the minister assured the impact on traders and consumers would be lesser compared to Goods and Services Tax (GST).
For instance, he said, selected Perodua car models are cheaper now.
“SST seems to be so complicated and confusing as there are over 5,000 items exempted.
As for GST, it’s simple, with only 540 items exempted, the rest (of the items) were all imposed with GST,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the SST seminar held at a hotel here, Lim said the government would continue to review the items affected by SST and make the necessary changes.
“It’s alright, we will continue to engage with the people to listen to their views and recommendations before we finalised the list by year end,”
"People will soon realise that they are paying less with the implementation of SST compared to GST,” he added.
He also urged the Custom Department to be friendlier in their approach towards businesses during this early stage of SST implementation.
“We don’t want to be too aggressive and rushing into taking action.
"Instead, we should assist and guide the people and not penalise them. We need to be thankful to the taxpayers.” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd