Chong: No plan to reintroduce GST but govt will restudy if people want

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Oct 4: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has no plan or intention to re-introduce Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the time being, said Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Chong Chieng Jen.

However, he emphasised that as stated by the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the government was willing to consider reintroducing GST if there were strong requests from the people.

“As far as GST is concerned, I have checked with MoF. There is no such plan to reintroduce GST, there is no such studies to reintroduce, and there is no such intention to reintroduce GST,” he told a press conference at the DAP Sarawak headquarters here today.

“But being the government which listens to the people, if there is a strong request to reintroduce GST, then I think the people is ready then,” he added.

Chong, who is also Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak chairman, pointed out that any law or policy including tax system may subject to changes or adaption.

“Any law and policy including tax system, there must be room for changes, adaptation as times go by. So reading what Tun Mahathir said, if there is such request, then the government has to study,” he said.

“But so far, I am quite certain that from the people, there is no such request for introduction of GST,” he added.

Dr Mahathir said yesterday (Oct 3) that the federal government was wiling to study calls to re-introduce the GST if this was what the people wanted.

“If people believe it is better, we will study it. We will study if it (GST) is better than SST (the Sales and Service Tax),” he said after launching the Security and Public Order Policy.

Removing GST was one of PH’s manifesto and signature campaign promises during 14th General Election (GE14). It was abolished by PH on June 2018, after taking over the federal government on May 9, 2018.

On Sept 1, 2018, the PH-led federal government introduced SST to replace GST.

On Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders’ assertion that after PH government replaced GST with SST, the PH government has been collecting RM23 billion less each year, Chong viewed that it was a good thing as that means people have been paying less tax.

“We pay less tax under SST. It is why the revenue under SST is lower than GST revenue, because people are paying less tax. That is what people want,” he said.

“For the time being, the cost of living is high, so (it is hard for) people to make ends meet. That is why when we took over the government, GST was abolished with the intention that the tax burden on the people is reduced,” he added.

Chong, who is also Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, highlighted that naturally, when the tax burden of the people was reduced, the government revenue arising from the tax was reduced.

“I don’t know why the GPS is complaining, unless GPS want to tax the people,” he said.— DayakDaily