BANGKOK, June 23 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he has floated the idea of Malaysia taxing e-commerce and sharing economy-related activities during the Plenary Session of the 34th Asean Summit.
“I mentioned about tax, now that we have online businesses... we don’t know who is making the profit.
“Online business is affecting other businesses. I said Amazon sells books and bookstores have had to close down.
“With direct-selling, we get less tax, also the tax goes to the country where the product is generated, we don’t get anything,” he told Malaysian reporters during a brief interview session after the Asean Summit gala dinner late last night.
Dr Mahathir said this was why he suggested that Malaysia taxed e-commerce dealings.
On a separate note, Dr Mahathir said intra-Asean (between Asean countries) trade has not been very encouraging.
“The intra-Asean trade is very small, we need to make a specific effort to increase intra-Asean trade,” he added.
The Plenary Session is where leaders of the Asean member countries held discussions on issues related to the summit’s theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, including means to build a strong people-centred Asean Community that leaves no one behind and looks to the future.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the government will streamline rules, regulations and laws pertaining to business in the country in order to facilitate investment from foreign countries.
He said although Malaysia is a new government, the policy is to still be business-friendly.
On Malaysia and Thailand’s business relationship, Dr Mahathir said the former has benefitted plenty from the partnership and added that Malaysia is looking forward to more Thai investors coming into the country.
Dr Mahathir also pointed out that Malaysia and Thailand have taken pains to better facilitate two-way trade when both countries agreed to commence 24-hour operation at the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Bukit Kayu Hitam and Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Sadao outposts, on June 18.
Dr Mahathir arrived on Thursday for the summit accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ignatius Darrel Leiking and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali as well as officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, Wisma Putra, Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA).
Dr Mahathir will also participate in the 13th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-