PETALING JAYA: Muslim restaurant owners are unhappy with the attention on them by enforcement authorities conducting checks on the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Operators Association president Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said the members were "tired" of the constant checks, especially by "large delegations" from the Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry, often accompanied by the media.
"Since the implementation of GST, many restaurant operators have lost up to 30 per cent of their customers, and one reason is the inspections which involved visits by enforcement officers in large groups.
"Coming in large groups is not the right way. Our customers are left wondering what is going on ... It's like we have committed a crime.
"Worse, the presence of the media makes it look like something major has happened," he said yesterday. "We are not criminals. If there is anything wrong in the way we do things, I am sure the restaurants are willing to listen to suggestions and be guided."
He said restaurant owners had spent between RM10,000 (S$3,480) and RM20,000 to upgrade their systems to be GST-compliant and they were not against the tax system.
Noorul Hassan said nasi kandar shops were often targeted by enforcement teams to show that with GST, prices of goods would be cheaper, as if certain shop owners are the culprits behind the price increases.
"How can the prices of goods be cheaper? We are also end users.
"We pay GST for fish, vegetables and other ingredients. Then they say we are selling food at high prices," he said.