We have no idea how GST works, say petty traders

We have no idea how GST works, say petty traders
Low tech: Diyana preparing banana leaves for ‘nasi lemak’ at her coffee shop at Kampung Datuk Sulaiman Menteri in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU - With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) set to be implemented in April, small traders here are worried that they will not be able to adapt to the system in time.

Tailor Noryana Mahat, 44, is terrified at the thought because she is computer illiterate.

"Even if they hold computer classes for us, I still think we need time to learn and get used to the new system.

"We are just small-time traders in our village, we are not on par with the big companies out there who can hire people to help them," said the mother of five at Kampung Datuk Sulaiman Menteri here.

Coffee shop owner Diyana Yudi, 36, who has been operating in the same village for more than 10 years, hoped that an agency would guide them through the new system.

"I only sell nasi lemak and other breakfast food and drinks, so the new system is very terrifying to me," she said.

Diyana, who operates her shop with her husband and children, hoped that the GST implementation could be pushed back for the time being so that less informed traders like her could have more time to learn.

The Star on its front page on Monday highlighted how many small businessmen were finding themselves pushed into a corner by the new demands involved in implementing the GST and work permit renewals via MyEG, both of which require computer literacy.

They said they were not computer-savvy and did not have sufficient time and funds to put things in order within the time frame given by the Government.

In Klang, sundry shop owner Saravanan Palani Pillai said he has no inkling how he is going to prepare for the GST.

"We run a traditional business where everything is done manually.

"Buying equipment and installing software is hard and confusing," said Saravanan, who inherited the shop in Teluk Pulai from his late father.

Saravanan said he had nothing against the implementation of the GST, but hoped the Government would come up with a manual for businesses like his.

"We are all simple people with limited education. Computer programs and software applications frighten us," he added.

Saravanan said he was currently looking for someone to teach him about the entire process so that he could be prepared by the time the GST is enforced in April.

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