Dr M says government to refine tax system

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the launch of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 in Kuala Lumpur October 5, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the launch of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 in Kuala Lumpur October 5, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

*Editor’s note: This story replaces an earlier version titled “No one to escape if GST returns, says Dr M”, which contained errors. Malay Mail apologises for the mistake and confusion that may have resulted from the earlier report.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — The government is looking to refine the current tax system to be more efficient without burdening taxpayers, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said after launching the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030 today.

He said his Pakatan Harapan (PH) government may have no choice but to introduce new taxes on top of existing ones, but said it will study the possibility before making a decision so as not to burden Malaysians.

“The tax system previously was not announced in an efficient and orderly fashion and many areas were left out from paying taxes,” he told a news conference at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.

“This will be cleaned up and we have agencies that will help sort this out. Also we may be forced to introduce new taxes that aren't too burdensome on the public,” he added.

Dr Mahathir had previously stated that the government would re-examine the merits of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) it repealed last year, but only if there is public demand.

Earlier this week, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research chairman Tan Sri Kamal Salih mooted the return of the consumption tax introduced in April 2015 by the Datuk Seri Najib Razak administration.

Salih suggested the tax be reintroduced but at a reduced rate of 3 per cent, saying the unpopular tax had brought in much needed revenue that kept the government afloat when world crude oil prices fell.

Today, the prime minister was asked by reporters which agencies would be in charge of conducting surveys if there is a need to re-implement GST.

In response, he said there were many agencies involved with the tax, and Putrajaya will only identify them if needed in the future.

He said for now, the public can also play a role by furnishing the government with information if they have credible evidence of wrongdoing.

“We will identify which ministries will be involved in this as there are many and all of them will be given the authority to ensure such matters do not happen.

“However, we are also relying on the public to give us information but not fake news. Lately, there has been a lot of accusations of wrongdoing but they had no basis. So if we get the public’s help and credible information, we will take action,” said Dr Mahathir.

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