There’s a famous play by Samuel Beckett called “Waiting for Godot”, where two characters hang around, talking and interacting, waiting for someone who never turns up. Malaysia’s GST saga, by turns tragic and comedic, definitely falls into the same mould.
Now it seems that at long last, Godot might actually arrive (excerpt):
KUALA LUMPUR: The implementation of a goods and services tax (GST) is a must and not an option.
Secretary-General of Treasury Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said at the half-year Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) update that the Government was trying its best to include it in Budget 2014 if everyone was agreeable to it.
Dr Mohd Irwan added that it would only be in place in 2015 if the Government announced it in the coming budget as it would take 14 months for the GST to be implemented.
Most of the opposition to GST is misplaced or misinformed, mostly because few realise how much tax they are already paying out under the current sales and service tax regime.
Will there be an increase in prices? It depends on the rate set, but generally speaking, the increase in prices will be only a one time affair, and will be a lot milder than people think. You might also be surprised to find quite a few prices dropping as well.
Will the tax burden be heavier? Yes it will, mainly due to a greater number of goods and services falling within the tax net. But the burden of taxation will be heaviest on higher income households, and again, the increase in taxation even for low income households will be comparatively mild.
Let’s get it over with, for crying out loud.