Senate passes Sales Tax Bill

Jerry Choong
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the new tax system will be less burdensome to the public, but made no predictions about its immediate effect on prices. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, August 20 — The Dewan Negara approved the Sales Tax Bill, one half of the government’s Sales and Services Tax (SST) regime, without serious opposition today.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the new tax system will be less burdensome to the public, but made no predictions about its immediate effect on prices.

“I want to guarantee the Dewan Negara that the SST’s main aim in replacing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is to ensure the rakyat’s prosperity,” he said in the Senate today.

To a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Ong Chong Swen on whether goods including jewellery, Norwegian lobster, and pâté will be taxable, Lim said his ministry would tax luxury goods if necessary.

Lim did not join Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s entourage to China in order to ensure the smooth passage of this and other critical Bills passed earlier by the Dewan Rakyat.

The Senate is currently dominated by Barisan Nasional-appointed senators, which has elicited concerns over the resistance they may put up against the Pakatan Harapan government’s intended legislation.

The passage of the SST Bills are especially crucial in order for the government to begin collecting the tax as it zero-rated the GST on June 1 to effectively grant the country a temporary tax holiday.

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