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MCA: “Why are dining, telcos exempted from SST hike but not water, electricity?”

Publish date: Thu, 29 Feb 2024, 03:25 PM

MCA’s Economic and SME Affairs Committee has doubled down on its calls for the government to exempt water and electricity bills from the sales and service tax (SST) hike which will commence on March 1.

Its chairman Datuk Lawrence Low said while exemptions have been granted for dining, telecommunications, and parking fees, crucial utilities like water and electricity have been overlooked.

“Why are telecommunications which are considered basic necessities exempted from tax hikes, while water and electricity, equally essential, are being overlooked?” he questioned in a statement on Thursday (Feb 29).

“The Malaysia Madani government is urged to heed the citizens’ voices and address these pressing economic challenges.

“It needs to be stressed that the SST for water and electricity, essentials such as foodstuffs, parking fees, and telecommunications, should be retained at the existing 6% tax rate. Given the current economic challenges, concessions should be considered.”

Low said despite fuel price decreases, electricity costs remained high, exacerbating the rising cost of living and affecting both businesses and consumers.

He stated that the SST hike for electricity and water will have ripple effects, particularly on commercial water charges for hawkers, shops and manufacturing industries which will ultimately be passed on to B40 and M40 consumers.

“Once again, our Committee advocates the reinstatement of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a fairer and more transparent tax system for businesses and consumers. We urge the government to reconsider reintroducing the GST for the sake of the economy and consumer rights,” Low stressed.

“In challenging economic times, the government needs to support its citizens and businesses. After enduring the inflation of 2023, having to confront increased charges in 2024 is further burdensome.

“Our Committee calls on Cabinet ministers and the Malaysia Madani government to listen to the rakyat’s voices and provide relief by exempting water and electricity from the SST spike.”

On Tuesday (Feb 27) Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali told the Dewan Rakyat that the meeting of the National Action Council on Cost of Living (NACCOL) on March 20 will discuss the proposal to exempt water and electricity bills from the SST hike.

Armizan said that matters related to the SST hike were discussed in the Implementation Monitoring Committee meeting two weeks ago.

Armizan also told the lower House that through NACCOL, the government ensures that every policy formulation and programme implemented through ministries and agencies will take into consideration the cost of living elements. - Feb 29, 2024

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