JOHOR BARU - The goods and services tax (GST) would help to boost the country's revenue but the enforcement would be decided by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"Also, the Government understands how the GST may cause uneasiness, especially for the lower income group, but measures will be taken to help and reduce their financial burden," said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.
The Government was aware of the "unintended" negative impact of the GST if it is introduced, he said, but added it was something the country needed to incorporate.
"The GST will be the best way for us to significantly increase the country's revenue and the decision on when to implement it is solely up to the Prime Minister, who is also the Finance Minister," he said.
Abdul Wahid was speaking to reporters at a conference organised by the Singapore Eisenhower Fellowship Society and Eisenhower Fellows Association of Malaysia held in Nusajaya, near here, yesterday.
He said many countries had succeeded with the GST and they had also introduced various policies to help the lower income groups.
"Some of these policies can be adopted but there is no denying the need for GST to be introduced as soon as possible," he said.
Abdul Wahid also said there is a dire need for the country to slowly reduce subsidies.
"A large chunk of our income is pumped into paying off subsidies.
"For example, for fuel alone, the Government forks out about RM24 billion (S$9.4 billion) yearly, which is approximately 12 per cent of our total revenue," he said, adding that this was too much.
He said the reduction of subsidies would be done at an acceptable pace.