PETALING JAYA,Mar 16: The government is looking at a variety of measures to expand its revenue base, and has not ruled out a return of the goods and services tax (GST) as part of the measures.

Speaking during a panel discussion organised by the World Bank Group, finance ministry deputy secretary-general (Policy) Zakiah Jaafar said the government was examining tax reforms when the pandemic took hold last March.

“If you are asking if we’re going to reinstate the GST, that’s part of a bigger exercise we’re undertaking; to study how best to widen our revenue base,” she said.

“We are reviewing existing tax structures and the possibility of taxes to be imposed but rest assured we are very mindful of the timing and will wait until the economy is stabilised before making any changes,” she added.

In its latest policy report, the World Bank said widening the government’s revenue base is a key factor which would help fund Malaysia’s transition into a high-income nation.

A 6% GST was introduced by Najib Razak’s government in 2015 to replace the sales and services tax, but was abolished by Pakatan Harapan which came into power in 2018.

Speaking at the same forum, the executive director of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, said the government already has access to a healthy research and information base.

“There is no need to reinvent the wheel. We have a host of Malaysia Plans, the new economic model in 2009, that brought together some of the best brains in the country to design a blueprint to take Malaysia to the next level. Implement it. We need to just use the information, the data that we have, revisit our policies and move on,” she said.

She added that with all these recommendations already made, there is no need to “go back to the drawing board” as many policy options had already been laid out by a range of institutions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here