PUTRAJAYA, March 11 ― Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pledged today to consider calls to reinstate the unpopular Goods and Services Tax (GST), promising to review all tax systems as part of the new government’s effort to rein in living costs.
His response comes amid criticism against the Sales and Services Tax (SST) reintroduced under the Pakatan Harapan administration, which many felt had not lowered the prices of essential goods.
“We will look into everything,” he told a press conference here after the first Cabinet meeting of his new administration.
“GST, SST, we will look into it.”
After chairing his inaugural Cabinet meeting as the prime minister, Muhyiddin vowed to expend all available resources into reviving the Malaysian economy hit by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
This included the formation of the Economic Action Council tasked to study and recommend short-term solutions. Muhyiddin said the council, comprising senior civil servants and technocrats, will convene weekly and advise the Cabinet.
“I told my Cabinet members of our commitment to the people, (to be) a government that knows what the people want and need urgently,” he said.
“So that whatever problems the people and country face, we shall find solutions as soon as possible.
“I say this because all Cabinet members know that the situation the country is in now is not good, particularly when it comes to the economy and burdensome prices (of basic goods.)”
Muhyiddin’s own party, Bersatu, had been a member of the Pakatan Harapan government that scrapped the GST and reintroduced the SST, which economists say is inefficient.
PH won a stunning victory at the May 2018 general election on the back of public anger over the rise of living cost, which it blamed among others on the consumption tax.
The coalition’s leaders continued to defend the SST despite mounting complaints that the tax failed to bring prices down.