GST pains? Not if you dine on lobsters and oysters

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Luxury seafood such as lobsters and oysters are among food items that will escape taxation once the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented in April 2015.

In a list zero-rated supply item appended to Budget 2014 tabled, it was revealed that frozen and fresh rock lobsters, crabs, and Norway lobsters were among the foodstuff that will not attract the new 6 per cent consumption tax.

Live, fresh or chilled oysters, scallops, mussels, octopus, clams and snails were also included in the list.

Zero-rated supply refers to items that are liable for GST, but are charged a nil rate at the point of purchase.

Malaysia will finally implement the long-delayed Goods and Services Tax (GST) at 6 per cent beginning April 2015, after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today announced the measure in Putrajaya bid to tackle its chronic deficit.

The replacement to the current Sales and Services Tax comes amid public concerns that it will increase the cost of living through a hike in the inflation rate, especially after a fuel subsidy cut in September.

Najib revealed today that some goods and services will be zero-rated, including basic food items, piped water supply, government services, and public transport.

“GST will not be imposed on basic food items such as rice, sugar, salt, flour, cooking oil, lentils, herbs and spices, salted fish, cencalok, budu and belacan,” said Najib during the tabling here.

In his Budget speech, Najib also said that Putrajaya would implement a lobster-rearing project at Semporna, Sabah in collaboration with a multinational company to produce 18,000 metric tonnes of lobsters annually.

The project is expected to create 20,000 jobs and benefit more than 6,000 local entrepreneurs, increasing their monthly income up to RM4,000 over the long term.

To offset the new tax, Najib also announced today that personal income tax would be reduced by 1 to 3 percentage points, depending on the income bracket.

A one-off payment of RM300 under the 1 Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) will also be made following the implementation scheduled for April 1, 2015.

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