We can consider bringing back GST, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the launch of the Security and Public Order (DKKA) policy document in Putrajaya today.

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the government has no problem bringing back the goods and services tax (GST) it abolished last year, after a think tank said the consumer tax could be reintroduced at a lower rate to help boost government coffers.

“If that is what the people want, we will review it, if it is better than SST,” he told reporters today after launching the Security and Public Order (DKKA), a new document to chart the home ministry’s policies.

But Mahathir, whose coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) came to power on a promise to abolish GST, said it might be too late to reinstate the tax at the 2020 Budget to be tabled this month.

GST, introduced in April 2015 at 6%, was replaced with the sales and service tax (SST) on Sept 1, 2018.

Yesterday, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) said Putrajaya could re-introduce GST in the 2020 Budget at a lower rate of 3%.

MIER chairman Kamal Salih described GST as fair to everyone, adding that the tax regime had kept the government afloat when crude oil price declined to below US$36 per barrel in 2015.