Consumers, businesses assured that SST will be implemented gradually

Goh Pei Pei

KUCHING: The Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be implemented gradually to ensure that everyone fully understands the new system and adapts to it without difficulty.

Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Chong Chieng Jen said that at the moment, there seems to be confusion among businesses and consumers about the new system.

Some people still cannot differentiate between the SST and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which it is replacing, Chong said.

“I know what’s happening on the ground – the businesses are unsure how the system works, while consumers are worrying about price hikes.

“But, don’t worry. This is a transition period and the authorities will not be too harsh or rush to take action against businesses,” he said.

Instead, the government will focus on educating and raising awareness on the new system among the rakyat.

“More workshops and seminars will be held, and we will not (set a definite period for) how long the transition period will last. It can be a month or six months. It depends on the people, how fast they can adapt to it,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference after visiting a fruit juice manufacturer at Jalan Baru Kitang here, Chong also urged business operators not to take advantage of the change in tax systems to increase their prices.

“Although we are trying to (implement the SST) in a friendly and gradual way, (our) personnel and other authorities will be closely monitoring (its implementation) to ensure that no party tries to gain unreasonably during this period of time,” he said.

The implementation of the SST, he added, will not have a huge impact or create hardship for consumers, compared with the GST.

This is because the SST is only applicable to 38 per cent of the Consumer Price Index basket of goods, compared with the 60 per cent of goods under the GST regime.

Apart from that, it is estimated that the GST collection totalled RM44 billion a year, while the SST is expected to total RM21 billion annually.

“From the figure, we can see that the people will be taxed less,” Chong added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd