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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — The Sales and Service Tax (SST) is to be implemented today, yet traders and business operators are still in the dark on the new price of goods.
They claimed that they had not received any information or announcement from suppliers regarding the new or adjusted price after SST.
The current government is implementing SST to replace the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which was repealed last June 1, to ease the people’s burden.
With the abolishment of the GST, the government allowed a three-month reprieve by allowing products which were previously taxed under the GST to be zero-rated.
Checks by Bernama in the city found most supermarkets, retail outlets and restaurants have yet to make changes on the price of goods at their premises and are still awaiting the list on the new price from suppliers.
A supermarket supervisor in Cheras, known as Aswad, 24, said that the outlet still maintained the price of its products at the zero-rated Goods and Services Tax (GST) since June.
“We are still waiting for further information from suppliers on the new price.
“At the moment, the price of goods at our premises is still based on the previous invoice. Indeed, we have been informed about SST, but we are still waiting for further information from suppliers on the new price, possibly we’ll get it by next week,” he said.
An employee of a supermarket in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, who requested to be identified only as Hanum, said no change to the price of goods was made as there was still no instruction from the supermarket management to do so.
“We know about the SST, that it will start tomorrow, but it’s uncertain whether the price will be higher or lower,” she added.
A sales promoter of another supermarket here, Rohila Mohd Rozan, 41, hoped that implementation of the SST would not burden consumers, especially those from the lower income group.
In Penang, consumers seemed more calm and were ready for SST.
Technician, Maaruf Hassan, 47, said whatever the taxes, GST or SST, it would be the consumers who would have to bear the brunt.
“SST or GST, consumers will still pay more, because some traders will raise the price at will, that is the reality,” he added.
He also appealed to the Pakatan Harapan government not to abolish the Living Aid Assistance previously known as the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) for the sake of those in the B40 group and the financial assistance helped to ease their burden.
Nur Anna Imani Tan Abdullah, 48, an auditor, from Bukit Mertajan, said it was important for consumers to understand the various types of taxes imposed by the government.
In Ipoh, Perak, no panic buying was reported. Shoppers were seen buying in moderate quantities, despite social media reports and postings claiming that some household goods would be priced exorbitantly with the implementation of SST today.
Azura Mustapa, 42, said implementation of the SST would not result in a sharp increase as only certain products and services were imposed the tax.
“Under GST,the price of most goods was high because they were taxed, but for SST, only certain products and services will be taxed,’ she added.
The government has assured consumers that there will be no significant price hikes.This is because the six per cent service tax and 10 per cent sales tax will only be imposed on certain products and services.
For 20-year-old Muhammad Farhan Hakimi Muhammad Faizul, the expected increase in the price of cigarettes under the SST would be a blow to hardcore smokers.
“On a positive note, it will be an initiative for smokers to quit the habit,” said the private sector employee.
The shopping mood at a popular supermarket in Senawang, Seremban, was different with many people buying as much as they could yesterday, in anticipation of the implementation of SST today.
They were seen filling up their shopping carts with essential items and other necessities, and there were long queues at the cashier counters.
Many of them told Bernama that they were stocking up, including Mohd Haizil Zainuddin.
The 28-year-old said that he did not want to miss the last day of shopping for zero-rated items and the possibility of unscrupulous traders raising the prices of certain goods from tomorrow.
Restaurant owner Lee foo Seng, 47, agreed with Mohd Haizil saying that he spent RM600 yesterday to buy daily necessities.
Civil servant Mohd Fattah Luqman, 43, said implementation of SST was not pose a proble as the people were previously paying the GST.
Meanwhile, Negri Sembilan Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry director Ain Arjuna Aziz Zaman said that so far, she had not received reports of panic buying by consumers in the state.
“The situation is under control,” she added.
In Shah Alam, the situation in most shopping centres and supermarkets is normal.
Azurun Salamon, 34, who works in a government department, said SST was not new as it had been implemented before 2014.
“With the implementation of SST tomorrow, the goods will be slightly cheaper than items under the GST,” he told Bernama.
Harun Akmal, 41, refused to stock up on items just because of the implementation of SST tomorrow.
“There is no need to buy in bulk when there is a zero-rate on many items,” he added.
Private college student N. Khishali, 23, shared his views, adding that the relevant government agencies must act firmly in controlling traders who arbitrarily increased prices.
“For the first year of the introduction of SST, the relevant agencies such as the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, should carry out frequent operations to check on traders,” he added. — Bernama