Malaysia expects surge in sales as 0% GST kicks in

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian businesses are anticipating a robust period ahead as consumers will be more willing to open their wallets with the Goods and Services Tax being zero-rated now.

And with discounts and offers thrown in for the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations, a surge in sales is expected in most business outlets from hypermarkets to car showrooms and restaurants.

Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry enforcement director-general Datuk Roslan Mahyuddin painted this scenario with the 6 per cent GST being "zerorised" from Friday (June 1).

The zerorised rate means that no GST is charged for goods and services that previously was charged the 6 per cent rate.

"We know that those wanting to purchase big ticket items such as TVs or refrigerators have been surveying the prices for the last few weeks, so that they can make the purchase after GST has been zero-rated.

"I believe now that prices are down, people will feel encouraged to spend," he said after inspecting the prices of goods at AEON Big here.

Roslan believes that the service sector such as eateries can also expect to enjoy good business now that patrons no longer have to pay GST when they dine out.

With the sales and services tax to be imposed only from Sept 1, consumers will enjoy a "tax holiday" until then.

While a large chunk of goods will see lower prices, Roslan reminded consumers that there is a basket of items in which prices would remain.

"These goods are essential items and were not imposed with GST previously. Prices of these items will remain as it is," he said.

Among items that are unaffected by the new tax policy includes rice, cooking oil, infant formulas and fresh produce.

Roslan also said that businesses have been given a month to replace price tags on goods to reflect the adjusted pricing, which must be without the 6 per cent tax.

The 30-day period is enough, although traders had argued for more time due to the thousands of goods that need to be physically re-tagged, he said.

"We don't want business premises to prolong this process because we want to make it easy on consumers. In the meantime, they should display general information on which goods carry old and new prices.

"If the price tag has not been changed, traders must see to it that GST is deducted at the cash register. This must be reflected in the receipt," he said.

Consumers are reminded to be vigilant by checking their bills.

Various laws such as Price Control and Anti-Profiteering, Consumer Protection and Trade Description Acts are available to deal with unscrupulous traders.

Officers from the ministry's enforcement division will conduct checks, monitoring and enforcement under Ops Catut 4.0 this month to ensure traders adhere to this.

Roslan said his officers have inspected 7,542 business premises nationwide and checked the price of 235,374 items prior to yesterday and will conduct second checks to ensure the same items are now sold at prices without GST.