Customs D-G: GST repeal will deter investors

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KUALA LUMPUR — Foreign investors would exit while underground trade would be revived if Malaysia were to abandon the Goods and Services Tax (GST), according to Customs director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam.

In a Bahasa Malaysia daily report, he asserted that investors would leave Malaysia for countries that have the GST, which he said was a transparent, fair and organised tax system.

The Pakatan Harapan pact pledged in its election manifesto to end the GST and reintroduce the Sales and Services Tax (SST) that it replaced in 2015, in the event it wins the general election.

Subromaniam criticised the proposal, saying the SST was a source of leakages and ineffective at exposing underground economic trade.

“I am not a politician and I am all out against reverting to the SST as it is just causing income leaks and it is unable to give a competitive edge in the export perspective,” he said.

“Don’t politicise GST as it is a good system for the future of the country,” he said.

He added the GST was also introduced only after two decades of study. Putrajaya rolled out the GST in 2015.

Currently, 160 countries have a GST or comparable consumption tax.