SST Hotline: Lodging reports on price hikes made easier with Whatsapp

Suzalina Halid

ALOR SETAR: The public can now lodge complaints related to the Sales and Service Tax (SST) by sending Whatsapp texts to 019-279 4317, an alternative to the existing channels set up by Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry. Its minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said enforcement actions would be taken within 24 hours upon receiving complete information on offences committed by traders, especially those related to price hike. He said a total of 642 reports were lodged through the hotline within three days it was launched on Sept 1, with most of the complaints involved rise in prices of meals in restaurants and pre-paid top-up cards. “We started this initiative to complement the eight channels provided for the consumers, among others, Facebook, emails and toll-free line. “The complainants are required to take pictures as proof of the price hike, complete with the location and send it (through Whatsapp to the hotline number), ” he told a media conference here today after attending and SST briefing session with the state exco members and assemblymen launched by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir. Saifuddin said since the implementation of SST, the ministry found that the price reduction of items of between 0.2 and 12.9 per cent. He said there were limitation factors that could hamper drop in prices including transportation costs and payment of employees’ salaries. On Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s tweet on SST imposed on a famous ‘pau’ (steamed buns) shop, Saifuddin he ‘appreciated’ the former premier’s awareness on the reality of life faced by the people. He said the government was open to criticism on the implementation of SST to allow improvement measures to be taken. “We welcome any feedback, but if there was any attack made, I would like to thank the former prime minister who finally had the chance to see the suffering of the people. “On tax imposed on pau, we already have a system in place which requires any business with sales of RM1.5 million and above to be taxed,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd