Widespread ripples from GST
Consumers get first taste of domino effects from GST
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit @danitbpseeds and Patricia Hului @pattbpseeds
ONE OF THE BIGGEST misconceptions about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is that consumers are going to pay more for everything. According to Enforcement Officer of Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) Abd Hafidz A Rahim, however, that is not the case.
“Actually, GST is not an added tax but is actually a replacement tax from the previous Sales Tax and Service Tax (SST) to GST,” he said.
Since the implementation of GST yesterday, KPDNKK has received many complaints on social media from consumers on the price hikes.
“All the information has been taken into account and action will be taken,” said Abd Hafidz.
Yesterday, eight KPDNKK officers along with 12 custom officers conducted checks on 48 business premises in Kuching grocery stores, shoe stores, sports stores and restaurants to make sure the traders complied with the new ruling.
“We have issued notices to traders who have hiked up prices and they are given 14 days to change the price in compliance with the system,” he said.
He added that traders were found to be adding an extra 6% on phone credit reload cards.
“According to the information from the custom department, the 6% GST has been absorbed into the selling price of the reload card,” said Abd Hafiz, adding that traders may be charged under the GST Act 2014 for non-compliance.
“Consumers who understand the system are feeling calm about it while those who do not understand it will feel panic. And so, the first step consumers must take is to understand what GST is all about and how it works. When the consumers already know how GST works, then they will not be scared by it,” he said.
First taste of GST and its domino effect
GST may have been officially implemented throughout the country yesterday but what became more taxing was the increased cost of non-GST items.
In Sabah, Ellen Daisy Peruh had a taste of the domino effect GST-implementation played in price hikes yesterday morning when she had her usual breakfast at a local bakery along Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu.
“It was only yesterday (March 31) that the pau cost RM1.50 and bun RM1. This morning (April 1) the pau cost RM1.80 and the bun RM1.20,” said the 27-year-old administration executive cum hostel warden.
Beside the baked goods, the fried noodles Ellen usually bought for RM4 now cost her for RM4.20.
Despite the price hikes, Ellen mentioned she would not stop patronising the bakery. “Their products are delicious and the service is good. It just means that my trips to the bakery will be less frequent.”
She admitted, “I do not know much about GST. I also know I don’t have a choice but to accept it.”
While supermarkets and shopping complexes had seen consumers go into a pre-GST buying frenzy over the weekend, Ellen was not one of them.
“I have been putting a stop to my shopping urges unless necessary,” she said.
Many major shopping outlets across the country were holding pre-GST promotions until Mar 31, drawing patrons into shopping for items regardless of whether the products were GST-exempted or not.
Aznah Arshad, a 30-year-old sales executive who is expecting her second child next month was one of those shoppers.
“I bought some baby products, groceries and shoes prior to GST,” admitted Aznah. Despite being an expectant mother she said she was not going to adjust her lifestyle after April 1 and she had even bought some baby clothing on discounted prices yesterday.
Although parents had started stocking up on baby-related items like baby formula and diapers prior to GST implementation, a quick glance at the Consumer Price Guidelines provided by Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism at http://ebook.kpdnkk.gov.my/ states that select baby food and items from Enfagrow, Dumex and Anmum went down by 0.2% while a range of baby diapers had gone down by 2%.
While some consumers like Ellen and Aznah are slowly adapting to GST implementation, some of the shops here in Kuching are not GST-ready.
Yenny Yashira Mohammad went to a store where the cashier had to calculate the items manually because their systems had not been upgraded.
“When I went to a supermarket in downtown Kuching, the staff member pulled out a calculator to count the groceries I bought instead of scanning them into the system,” Yenny stated.
The 25 year-old consultant said she was not sure if the amount was correctly counted when she bought the chocolate and instant coffee but she realised the prices she paid were not the same as displayed.
It is strictly stated that only businesses which have registered for GST are allowed to impose the tax and you can check the list at http://gstmalaysiainfo.com/bagaimana-cara-untuk-menyemak-status-gst./
Members of the public can file a complaint at the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism’s hotline 1-800-886-800 or email email@example.com and Royal Malaysian Customs Department’s Online Public Complaint System at http://aduan.customs.gov.my/aduanawam/.