By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 13: The imposition of sales tax on petroleum-based products will enable Sarawak to collect additional revenue of RM3.897 billion, which is about 37 per cent of the total estimated revenue of RM10.513 billion for 2019.
Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh pointed out that the state government took the right step to increase its financial resources in order to keep up with the rising expectations of the people for more development and a brighter future.
“Sarawak needs more revenue to enhance its financial capacity to fund all the long-awaited and needed basic infrastructures and amenities that our people have been deprived of,” he told the august House in his winding-up speech today.
“The state government’s decision to impose a five per cent sales tax on petroleum products is conferred by the Federal Constitution as in Schedule 10, Part V, Section 7. Hence, it is constitutionally legitimate for the state to impose the State Sales Tax.”
Under the State Sales Tax Ordinance 1998, he revealed that the state imposed sales tax on crude palm oil, crude palm kernel oil, lottery tickets and tyres, which has been a good source of state revenue.
Since the imposition of the State Sales Tax in 1998, he said this source of revenue had generated an average of RM550 million annually for the past five years.
“However, this revenue is far from enough to finance our development agenda. The new revenue source is vital in providing the necessary funding to hasten the implementation of more infrastructure projects and basic amenities for the well-being of the rakyat.
“We fully support our chief minister’s call to be self-determining in undertaking the massive development works ahead of us,” he assured.
Despite intensifying efforts, Wong, however, reminded that it did not at all mean that the federal government was relieved of its responsibilities to continue funding development projects in Sarawak, which amongst others include roads and bridges, water supplies, schools and higher learning institutions, hospitals and clinics, low-cost housing as well as provide money to support the necessary services for Sarawakians. — DayakDaily