SST to be implemented gradually to avoid confusion, says Chong

Goh Pei Pei

KUCHING: The Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be implemented gradually as there seems to be confusion among businessmen and consumers about the new tax regime.

Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Chong Chieng Jen said some people still couldn’t differentiate between SST and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“Businesses are unsure about how the system works, while the consumers are worried about price hikes,” he said after visiting a fruit juice manufacturer in Jalan Baru Kitang, here.

“But, don’t worry. This is a transition period. The authorities will not be too harsh,” he said, adding that the government would focus on educating and raising awareness about the new system.

He said more workshops and seminars would be held and the transition period could last anywhere from one to six months, depending on how quickly the public adapted to SST.

Chong warned businesseses against using it as an opportunity to raise prices.

“Although we are trying to do it in a friendly and gradual manner, the authorities will be monitoring to ensure that there is no profiteering.”

He said SST would not impact consumers to the extent that GST did because SST was only applicable to 38 per cent of the Consumer Price Index basket of goods, compared with 60 per cent under the GST regime.

He said the estimated annual GST collection was RM44, while SST would only net RM21 billion.

“From the figure, we can know that the people will be taxed less,” said Chong. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd