Shellfish exempted from SST

Ida Nadirah Ibrahim

Finance minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during the Sales and Service Tax (SST) press conference in Putrajaya September 3, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 3 — All crustaceans and molluscs are exempted from the Sales and Services Tax (SST) with immediate effect, as the food items are also used as ingredients in local favourite cuisines, the Finance Ministry said today.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the exemption was made after taking into account that local food, such as char koay teow and nasi kandar, uses such ingredients like prawns and cockles, which is widely consumed by the middle and lower income groups.

“I thought these food items are under luxurious goods, but there are many that are used in local food like char koay teow and nasi kandar. And I like my char koay teow.

“For now, we will exempt all items under these categories so everyone can enjoy the local food without worrying that prices would go up,” he told a press conference at the ministry today.

The seafood exempted from the SST include rock lobster, lobster, crab, Norway lobster, shrimps and prawn, and other crustaceans, as well as oysters, scallops, mussels, cuttlefish and squid, clams, cockles, ark shell, abalone, and other molluscs.

Lim said the list of items to be imposed SST is still open for review until the end of the year.

He said the list is dynamic and organic and will be amended based on public feedback, such as in the exemption of shellfish.

“We will see if (we) will be imposing it in the future. For the time being, in order to not create any confusion, it will all be exempted,” he said.

Lim added that the federal administration took a softer and gentler approach compared to the previous Barisan Nasional regime by being more proactive in gathering public feedback.

“Back then there was no interaction with the traders and businesses and they simply imposed GST on everything,” he said, in reference to the abolished Goods and Services Tax, which was introduce in April 2015 by the Barisan Nasional government.

“But SST is a much softer, kinder, and gentler tax compared to the GST and it should be better than GST.”

Also present at the press conference was Royal Customs Department deputy director-general Datuk Paddy Abdul Halim, who said the Guide on Proposed Sales Tax Rate for Various Goods which lists the 3,564 exempted and taxable goods is available on the department’s website.

“The list is a non-exhaustive list. The guide consists of common consumer goods,” he said.

He also admitted the government had overlooked the taxation on salted fish, which has now been exempted from SST.

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