KOTA KINABALU: The government, via the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, expects to collect RM42 billion in goods and services tax (GST) this year compared with RM41 billion last year, said Deputy Finance Minister Othman Aziz.
Othman said the target could be achieved through the cooperation of all parties in the face of worldwide economic slowdown which Malaysia was not spared.
“In the face of the economic slowdown now, we expect a small increase in GST collection compared with 2016. This is also a reflection of the department’s efforts to achieve the target,” he said.
He said this to reporters after witnessing the ceremony to hand over the Sepanggar Customs Department’s housing project here today.
The RM54 million project involves the construction of a three-block building with 120 units. The project was completed on schedule and it resulted in the saving of RM6 million.
Othman said although there were still companies which failed to follow the GST directive, the number was small at 5%.
“Action has been taken against them, including compound fines to ensure they follow the directive,” he said.
On the sale of duty-free items — cigarettes and liquour — in Langkawi, Federal Territory of Labuan and Tioman, Othman said the effects of the sales were positive and encouraging.
“This will minimise leakages of the government’s tax revenue from the sales of these items,” he said.
He said there were 56 duty-free outlets in Langkawi, 21 in Labuan and three in Tioman.
“We need a mechanism to ensure the leakage rate is not too high and we are closely monitoring as we want to compare the extent of the leakage before this,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Customs Department’s director-general Khazali Ahmad said the duty-free shops were introduced only for the sales of cigarettes and liquour, with all other products still available in other such outlets on the islands.
He said licences to sell duty-free cigarettes and liquour on the islands were still open to those who are interested. -FMT