Finance minister says beat 2019 sales tax target by RM5.5b

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to people during ‘Meet the Customer Day’ at the WPKL Customs Complex in Kelana Jaya January 9, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to people during ‘Meet the Customer Day’ at the WPKL Customs Complex in Kelana Jaya January 9, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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PETALING JAYA, Jan 9 — The federal government collected RM27.5 billion in Sales and Services Tax (SST) revenue in 2019 to surpass the RM22 billion targeted for the year, Lim Guan Eng said today.

In a press conference today, Lim called this a testament of Malaysia’s strong economy.

“Apart from that, I also want to announce that last year, the target of RM22 billion to be collected for the SST, was not only achieved, but had exceeded target. The amount collected was RM27.5 billion.

“This shows that indeed, the economy is still strong. Definitely, if you ask about the shortfall, because GST before this (collected) RM44 billion. So even though (now) it’s RM27.5 billion, there is still a gap of RM17 billion.

“But don’t forget that the gap actually is about RM9 billion, because from this amount, almost half are refunds which was supposed to have been paid,” Lim said, referring to input tax refunds for the repealed Goods and Services Tax (GST) that he previously accused the Barisan Nasional of withholding.

Lim said the SST collection this year remained the same as 2019.

“So, everything is according to plan fiscally. So that’s why when we talk to fund managers and foreign investors, they are quite confident that we can achieve our target. Probably more concerned about other factors such as the trade war, Iran-US war, which is now being de-escalated,” he added.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in October last year, defended the SST in Parliament, saying its collections would surpass that of the repealed GST in the future.

During the Minister’s Question Time (MQT), the Langkawi MP said the comparatively lower revenue was normal as the tax system was only introduced last year.

In June 2018, Lim had announced that the re-implementation of the SST which was abolished during BN’s era in favour of the GST, would see the government losing RM21 billion.

To address this, he said the government would embark on a saving exercise, by reviewing expenditures, and downsizing or delaying projects.

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