Life after April 1

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The much dreaded GST is finally here & somehow I sensed the guidelines were still unclear albeit many print media's efforts to published info from the government as comprehensive as possible. The Star rolled out a very simple graphic to paint the lives of Malaysian after GST to remind its readers which goods or services are standard rated or zero rated.

One look at the shopping list released by the government & compared to the graphic above, the reality is not that simple. I found out not all essential goods are exempted. Cooking oil is zero-rated but do not blinded by the general categorization because it only covers cooking oil derived from palm based. Any cooking oil besides palm oil ie olive oil & canola oil is taxable.

The confusion doesn't end there. Sugar is also an essential item which is zero-rated but it is only for granulated sugar. Processed sugar which includes castor sugar, icing sugar & brown sugar is subjected to GST. I'm not surprised that the list gets even more complicated when for flour products. Price of baked goods is bound to soar at the expense of GST. Dessert & pastry lovers, you might feel the pinch & need to think twice before indulging in extra piece.

As I scrutinized the list to sea produce, I couldn't believe my eyes. Only selected fish are not taxed while most shellfish products are in no way escaping GST. And guess what? Lobster is ZERO RATED. Yes, you read that right. Of all things, we don't need to pay tax for such premium seafood. I don't know whether I should celebrate this. There are many other important items that deserved to be on the zero-rated list. How double standard can the list get?

I noticed that quite a number of hawker stalls took advantage of GST as an excuse to increase price. First of all, why should they even pass on the 6% tax to consumers when the ingredients they buy are not taxed? Secondly, most of them have not reached the annual revenue threshold of RM500,000 to be legally required as GST-compliant retailer. Unless most of them didn't declare their true earnings before GST, the 6% GST is not applicable to these petty traders.

In short, I have been a responsible taxpayer ever since I entered the employment market. I certainly wouldn't mind paying a bit more tax to fuel the economy & fund infrastructural development. But so far I failed to see how the taxpayers' money have been put to good use, none other than paying off national debts caused by a few selfish, corrupt officials who unashamedly spend lavishly for personal satisfaction. I love my country very much & I don't wish it to go down the drain far too soon.

Image credits to The Star