Customs: Greedy traders a risk factor behind govt bid to reduce cost of living

MUHD AMIRUL FAIZ AHMAD

PETRA JAYA: Greedy traders who have taken advantage by raising or maintaining prices during the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation have been identified as risk factors behind the government’s move to reduce the cost of living.

Customs Department director-general, Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam, said 5,443 items were exempted from the Sales and Services Tax (SST) compared to 500 items under the GST.

“The Finance Minister (Lim Guan Eng) had already said that compared to the GST, the SST’s scope is not as vast. The burden of tax on consumers has been halved but as to whether the prices of goods rise or decrease, I do not wish to touch on that as there are many factors behind determining prices of goods.

“The tax alone does not determine the prices of goods. But if we look closely, many items are tax-exempted. So what does this have to do with the SST?” he told a press conference after attending a briefing with traders at the

Wisma Kastam Sarawak, here on Thursday.

It is estimated that 6,400 types of goods would be subjected to the SST compared to 11,197 under the GST.

Subromaniam said the Customs Department is giving its full commitment to help the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry tackle the move by irresponsible traders in exploiting the situation.

“These technical aspects involve the process of identifying taxable and non-taxable items, thus helping the ministry monitor prices of goods,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said that in Sarawak, a total of 3,794 companies have been automatically registered for the SST, compared to more than 30,000 under the GST.

“To date, 77,451 companies nationwide have been registered automatically for the SST, compared to 472,000 companies under the GST.”

Of the 77,451 companies, a total of 32,557 companies were registered for sales tax, while 44,874 were for service tax. Sales tax has been set at 10 per cent, and six per cent for service tax. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd