PETALING JAYA - The Customs Department is confident of registering 250,000 businesses to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the end of the year.
Department director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said the number of registrants stood at 88,471 on Tuesday but was optimistic that registration would continue to pick up within the next two months.
He said the department did not want to impose compulsory registration even though it had the power to do so.
"Some companies still want to wait and see. But we want companies to be responsible and come forward to register for GST.
"It is a noble thing to do as the tax collected will go back to the people in the form of aid and government policies," he said yesterday at a press conference after the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) visit to the Federal Territory Customs Complex in Kelana Jaya to inspect its MyGST processing centre yesterday.
The Government is targeting to register 300,000 businesses by year's end to implement GST from April 1 next year. All businesses with a sales turnover of RM500,000 (S$194,565) or more will have to register for GST before Dec 31.
On recent corruption cases involving Customs officers, Khazali urged the people not to judge the entire department based on a few errant staff members.
"It is like a black dot on a piece of white paper. If people only look at the dot, then what about the rest of the paper?" he said, adding that the department's revamp exercise was ongoing.
He said it was also the department's principle not to allow officers to remain in the same place for a long period as it would increase the chances of corruption.
On whether the department could hold a talk for Opposition leaders who were against GST, Khazali said it was willing to do so as its duty was to explain the tax to the people.
PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the Government was hoping the RM23 billion to be raked in from GST would help cut the country's deficit by 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
"The PAC has urged that traders who take advantage of GST by raising prices be prosecuted under the Anti-Profiteering Act," he said.