KUCHING, March 4 — The Sarawak government said today it will ask for an exemption on the 8 per cent sales and service tax (SST) imposed on electricity usage above 600kWh.

Its premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said the state government will study the implications of the new rate from legal points of view, and the possibility for the state to be given an exemption.

“We have to follow the SST, but if we are given the exemption, then we can follow our own existing decision,” he told reporters after swearing in 31 councillors of the Gedong District Council here.

“But SST, as a whole, is for the whole of the country.”

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The premier was asked to clarify the payment of 8 SST on electricity usage above 600kWh or RM220 and above per month, since Sarawak has autonomy over electricity.

Sarawak’s electricity supply does not depend on the federal government, but on the state-owned Sarawak Energy Berhad.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) on February 28 announced the details of its tax reforms, which included an increase in sales and service tax (SST) from 6 per cent to 8 per cent effective March 1 this year and expected to generate an estimated additional RM3 billion in revenue.

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It also announced that the service tax is only applicable for electricity usage above 600kWh, which will not affect almost 85 per cent of electricity users nationwide. Water supply services will also be exempt from the tax.