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Saturday, December 30, 2023

All alternative medicine services subject to SST - deputy minister


All forms of alternative medicine services regulated by the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act 2016 are subject to the six percent sales and service tax (SST).

Deputy Finance Minister Lim Hui Ying told Malaysiakini that the law covers traditional Malay medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Indian medicine, Islamic medicine, homeopathy, and complementary therapies.

It was understood that medical services regulated under the Medical Act 1971 were exempt from SST because they were recognised as a public service.

A recent circular by the Health Ministry’s Traditional and Complementary Medicine division caused an outcry after it reminded practitioners to collect the six percent SST if they met the sales threshold.

The circular also reminded practitioners of the voluntary disclosure programme for those with back taxes since the SST was reintroduced in 2018, and that the SST will increase to eight percent starting March 2024.

Lim explained that the SST only applied to medical services and not products offered by alternative medicine providers.

“In the past few years, most (traditional Chinese medicine) practitioners did not reach the RM500,000 turnover threshold, so they were not affected,” she said.

To reach the threshold, if a provider reaches RM500,000 revenue over 12 consecutive months, they must report their status to the tax authorities by the subsequent month. Following this, they will be required to collect SST.

Lim said she understood many traditional Chinese medicine practitioners were concerned about the SST and she was arranging meetings for them to meet Finance Ministry officers to ensure there was clarity.

Putrajaya’s decision to pursue the SST policy on alternative medicine practitioners was panned by MCA president Wee Ka Siong as a form of discrimination.

He said Malaysians from all walks of life have benefited from alternative therapies and some public hospitals even provide such services.

Moreover, he said alternative medicine was also the subject of research in universities around the world.

“In short, traditional Chinese medicine is one of the branches of services that have been accepted by the Malaysian Ministry of Health.

“People’s health is our priority. I hope the government will continue to provide SST exemption for traditional and complementary medicine, just as the exemption has been given for modern medicine,” said the Ayer Hitam MP. - Mkini

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