JOHOR BARU • It is not only Malaysians who are enjoying their country's three-month tax holiday. Singaporeans too are taking advantage of the zero-rating of the goods and services tax (GST) to have their shopping sprees across the Strait of Johor.
With Hari Raya Haji being a public holiday in both Malaysia and Singapore on Wednesday, many Singaporeans drove across the Causeway to shop, not letting up the chance to capitalise on the tax holiday before it ends on Aug 31.
Malaysia's unpopular 6 per cent GST was zero-rated by the new Mahathir Mohamad administration on June 1.
It was fully scrapped after Parliament this week repealed the Goods and Services Tax Act.
The government will replace GST with a sales and service tax that is expected to be implemented next month.
Among the shopping complexes that have been seeing a flurry of activity were Johor Baru City Square, Komtar JBCC, KSL City, Plaza Pelangi, AEON Bukit Indah and AEON Tebrau.
The Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) in Kulai has also been drawing the crowds with its range of discounted off-season brand-name clothing, shoes, handbags and watches.
Among the shoppers was Singaporean businessman Teo Zhang Wei, 41, who said the weaker ringgit and the tax holiday had enticed many of his countrymen to shop here.
"Johor Baru is always the preferred destination for Singaporeans because the prices here are way lower than back home. Besides shopping, my wife and I also enjoy time here to unwind and go to the spa," he said.
Housewife Janice Teng, 52, goes to places like JPO to do some early Christmas shopping.
"Christmas may be four months away but in tax-free Malaysia, it feels like Christmas has come early for me.
"I am buying Christmas presents to avoid last-minute shopping in Singapore when it could get expensive," she said.
Technician Abu Bakar Salim, 49, who was visiting relatives for Hari Raya Haji, also found time to buy things during this soon-to-end tax holiday.
"I shopped at the market and shopping complexes around here," he said.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK