KL's GST: cheaper TVs, pricier phones

KL's GST: cheaper TVs, pricier phones
Stores and consumers are stocking up on air purifiers and electronics as the prices are going down.

KUALA LUMPUR - The prices of television sets, refrigerators, air conditioners, electric irons, hair dryers, diapers and soft drinks are expected to come down with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Malaysia.

These items have a 10 per cent sales and services tax (SST) embedded in their prices, but with the GST replacing the SST in April, the lower 6 per cent GST rate will make them cheaper.

However, the prices of computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, men's watches and cosmetics, including lipstick and nail polish, are expected to go up. These were tax free in the past.

"These items will be subjected to the standard 6 per cent GST rate," said Customs Department director of GST, Subromaniam Tholasy.

He said there would be no GST for essential food items such as chicken, beef, mutton, fish, duck, fish, eggs, ikan bilis, rice, bread, fresh vegetables and fruits, coconut oil, peanut cooking oil, palm oil and infant formula as well as for 95-octane petrol, diesel, toll and public transport.

But non-essentials such as tomato sauce, chilli sauce, oyster sauce, cup noodles, luncheon meat, tempeh, cheese, margarine, quail eggs, corn oil, olive oil, biscuits, doughnuts and croissant chocolate will be subjected to the standard 6 per cent GST.

Malaysia's Customs Department has released a book with the extensive list of taxable and non-taxable goods and this can be downloaded from its website.

"From a tax administrator's point of view, it is easier if everything got taxed because it would make things simpler to implement," Mr Subromaniam said.

"But the government doesn't wish to tax so much and it wants to make sure that the low income group will not be unnecessarily burdened.

"So, we have to strike a balance between revenue and providing a social safety net."

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