Archive for the ‘Consumerism’ Category

SST: Sabah wants strict monitoring to avoid abuse

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah state government wants the authorities to carry out stricter monitoring when the Sales and Service Tax system is implemented later, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

He said this was important to avoid irresponsible groups from taking advantage on the consumers and thus ensure that the tax system truly did not burden the people.

“For us, there is no problem, it’s just that more clarification on the matter (from the authorities) are needed (so that the SST will be better understood) besides improving the tax system,” he told reporters after chairing the Cabinet Meeting, here yesterday.

On Monday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that under the reintroduction of the SST, the allocation for services would be taxed at the rate of six per cent while the sales tax would be 10 per cent – the same rate that was implemented before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was initiated on April 1, 2015.


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Country’s finance will be affected without SST — KKCCCI

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) yesterday welcomed the reintroduction of Sales and Services Tax (SST) at six per cent for services and 10 per cent for the sale of goods to compensate for the zero-rating of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) since June 1.

Datuk Michael Lui

Its president, Datuk Michael Lui, said the SST was aligned with the government’s aspiration to improve the people’s well-being and put the country’s finances back on track.

Even with prudent and transparent financial management, he said the country’s finances would still be affected without revenue from SST.

On another note, Lui said the extent of the impact of SST on goods prices had yet to be determined as the government had not announced the scope of the tax.

He said the old SST was only imposed on certain imported and local products, as well as six per cent service tax on hotels and restaurants that recorded more than RM3 million in revenue a year.

If the reintroduced SST was based on the old system, Lui believed that only the high-end consumers would be affected by the tax.

He added that there was a huge difference between GST and SST.

Lui said GST was imposed on majority of goods with a broader impact and heavier burden on consumers.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Monday that the provision of services will be taxed at six per cent under the reintroduced SST, while the sales of goods will incur a 10 per cent tax.

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Plan to reduce monopolies?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018
Smuggled rice seized from a godown in Kampung Gelang Gasi, Tumpat, Kelantan. The monopoly of rice imports has encouraged rice smuggling along the border from Thailand into Malaysia. (FILE PIC)

THE change in the government of the nation through a peaceful democratic process is a sign of political maturity of our country. No doubt our country is a young democracy, the change is, nevertheless, a very prominent one.

It brings new hopes and aspirations, not only among the younger generation, but also, among the senior ones who want changes at how things have been done all these years. Many things have just been taken for granted, yet the fundamentals on the ground could have changed. Indeed, the signals were there two elections ago.

I read with interest the recent news in the local press that the new government may want to review the several monopolies now being practiced in the country. This is heartening as it is very much in line with further economic modernisation of the economy.

Understanding the market structures of a country is critical in formulating public policies which aim to address competition, productivity, and sharing in the economic pie of the economy and equally pertinent in efforts to bring about semblance of price stability. It may not be wrong to make a little assertion here that our policy makers and related institutions may know but a little of this subject matter given that economic regulation is not often taught in many tertiary institutions. Thus, many do not appreciate its relevance in managing the economy.

At some stages of economic development, monopolies may be allowed and even justified especially in utilities, such as the provision of energy, water and telecommunication, thus, words such as public monopolies are abound in economics textbooks. Over the years the economics of these industries have changed and their supplies can be unbundled for greater competition.

Indeed, the privatisation of several of these industries once considered public monopolies is an example in point. It is just that we embarked on the initiative when our economic regulatory environment was at its infancy. However, now we have policies and laws on competition and anti-profiteering to govern the market place. The laws should give some assurance that the consumer welfare is somewhat protected.

Economic regulation and governance remain an essential perspective to be understood by our legislators, policy makers, senior officials especially, so as to achieve an equitable balance between the differing needs of the industry, the government and the consumers at large. The civil servants thinking that they know the market best is not relevant anymore.

With privatisation, we have allowed monopolies in several areas such as rice imports, broadcasting by using satellite, medicinal supplies for public hospitals and vehicle testing. The initial aim is to promote entrepreneurship, which may be acceptable. Many of these exceeded their first concessions and have been renewed, thereby buttressing monopolistic competition in the country.

If a service needs to hide behind a monopoly to stay viable then extending the concession is no assurance or guarantee that the service will become viable. Meanwhile, consumer welfare is deprived of better quality and lower price and income got further concentrated.

A case in point, the monopoly of rice imports raises domestic rice prices while encouraging rice smuggling along the border, from Thailand into Malaysia. There is so much gain to be made from such illegal activities because of the big differential between international and domestic prices. Consequently, the issue is seen as a security matter and police officers are being mobilised along the border to curb smuggling. This is inefficient.

The new government should examine this concern as a matter of importance as we move forward to a more market-driven economy where market forces determine the return on investments. Hence, the element of competition should be part and parcel of the efforts to enhance competitiveness, productivity, and innovation among our economic players. If shielded from competition the industries move to complacency mode and the nation’s competitiveness may be compromised sooner or later

Be that as it may, a medium term plan may be needed to gradually reduce the role of monopolies in the economy, having regard for the contractual obligation of the government in the event the concessions are terminated or reviewed. Also, we need to examine the cost of adjustments for such regulatory changes.

Let us make some ground rules to allow monopolies more acceptable in our society, and these may include the following suggestions:

MONOPOLIES must be given based on consideration such as security and intellectual property;

THEY be given for only 15 years and no further extension;

THEY be asked to do corporate social responsibility (on education, environment, etc);

CONSUMER welfare must not be compromised; and,

AWARDS for monopoly be given based on competition.

Our economy has reached a stage beyond just capacity building, physical developments of superstructures, and human capital for basic skills and primary production. We are quite ready even for more sophisticated policy making and management skills if given the chance.

Additionally, we must develop social and economic institutions that would help put in place good economic governance based on competition and innovations as well as backed up by a healthy economic regulatory environment to nurture genuine entrepreneurship especially among the Bumiputera community.

By Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob.

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Gov’t to boost national food productivity in next 3 years: Salahuddin

Thursday, June 14th, 2018
Salahuddin said to ensure food security was at a satisfactory level, the country’s food production had to be intensified so that the farmers and fishermen would be able to improve their livelihood. Pic by NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will focus on increasing food productivity and security, as well as minimising bureaucracy over the next three years, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub.

He said the government was committed to mobilise appropriate initiatives in ensuring adequate food supply in the country, as well as to ensure the national food safety index meet the United Nations (UN) standards.

“My focus, in terms of implementation, is to ensure that the rice sector can be revived drastically towards having a more efficient local supply, and to ensure the local meat supply reaches the 30 per cent production.

“The government will improve the technology in the rice industry. We will also make a reform of all the bureaucracy issues related to rice supply, including to think of ways to increase the budget and subsidy for padi planters and farmers,” he said in an interview with Bernama here Tuesday

Salahuddin said to ensure food security was at a satisfactory level, the country’s food production had to be intensified so that the farmers and fishermen would be able to improve their livelihood.

“If national production is efficient, this will reduce the risks in food security as the government is told that food stocks in Malaysia can only last for a maximum of three months if rice imports come to a halt or in case of a disaster or war.

“Compared to Thailand, their food supply can last up to eight months, while China is one year. This is our concern because the ministry is responsible in ensuring that food supplies are enough for the people regardless of any situation,” he said.

By Bernama.

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Cheaper rice soon with Bernas monopoly broken.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

MUAR: The price of rice will go down soon now that Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) no longer has a monopoly on rice imports, says Salahuddin Ayub.

The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister said the ministry, the National Agriculture Advisory Council and the corporate sector would now have to come out with the best business model to import rice for the country.

“Bernas will still import rice, but there will also be other companies doing that,” Salahuddin said in a press conference here on Wednesday (June 13).

He said this would benefit consumers and that it was important to get feedback from ordinary Malaysians on how to improve the country’s rice imports and distribution.

Salahuddin said the Government’s decision to break the Bernas monopoly would also ensure food security.

“We want to reduce the risk of being too dependent on a single party,” he said.

Salahuddin said Malaysia presently imports most of its rice from China, Thailand and Vietna

By Zazali Musa
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Customs DG tells businesses to reduce prices with zero-rating of GST

Sunday, May 27th, 2018
(Stock images for illustration purposes) Sales and Services Tax (SST) will not be implemented on June 1 despite the government’s decision to set the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at zero percent the same day. Pix by Muhammad Sulaiman

PUTRAJAYA: The Sales and Services Tax (SST) will not be implemented on June 1 despite the government’s decision to set the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at zero percent the same day.

In saying this, Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said the date of SST’s implementation will be announced later.

Subromaniam also said businesses are required to reduce the prices of their goods and services in accordance with the zero-rating of GST.

“This will be in effect nationwide until further notice. All businesses registered for GST must adhere to the zero-rating of GST,” he said in a statement today.

“Businessmen are urged not to exploit the government’s wish to reduce prices and benefit consumers.”

(File pix) Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said businesses are required to reduce the prices of their goods and services in accordance with the zero-rating of GST. pix by Muhammad Sulaiman

Subromaniam reiterated that beginning June 1, all local and imported goods and services will be zero-rated.

He said failing which, the government will take stern action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

He said businesses are encouraged to find out more about the zero-rating of GST by visiting or

By Suhaila Shahrul Annuar.

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Salahuddin: No shortage of food supplies, prices should remain reasonable

Sunday, May 27th, 2018
(Stock image for illustration purposes) “Preparations to ensure main food supplies like chicken, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits are sufficient to cater for the festive season have been ongoing for the past three months,” said Salahuddin Ayub. Pix by Mikail Ong

PUTRAJAYA: The Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Ministry has given its assurance that food supplies are sufficient for Ramadan up until Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Its minister Salahuddin Ayub said since there will be no shortages, the prices of food items at the markets, specifically pasar tani should be reasonable despite there being an increase in demand during the festive season.

He added that the ministry had been taking pro-active measures to ensure adequate supplies including increasing the output of locally manufactured goods, increasing import quota for selected food items as well as imposing a ban on overseas fish export.

“Preparations to ensure main food supplies like chicken, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits are sufficient to cater for the festive season have been ongoing for the past three months,” he said in a statement today.

(Stock image for illustration purposes) The ministry had been taking pro-active measures to ensure adequate supplies including increasing the output of locally manufactured goods. Pix by Muhammad Asyraf Sawal

Salahuddin informed that during Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the estimate output for major food items are 49,733 metric tonnes for meat (local and import), 351,046 metric tonnes for chickens (local) and 2.8 billion chicken eggs.

Apart from that, the estimate output for round cabbages are 15,000 metric tonnes and fish (various species) were 108,500 metric tonnes.

In the event of supply shortage or an increase in prices, consumers are advised to report the matter to the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Ministry and the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK).

“Enforcement will be increased with the cooperation of KPDNKK to ensure there are no elements of profiteering and to ensure traders display the prices of their goods.

“For reference, consumers can download the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority’s (FAMA) MyHarga Tani and Go Pasar Tani applications, and KPDNKK’s Price Catcher application to obtain information and compare prices,” Salahuddin said.

By Suhaila Shahrul Annuar.

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SPAD, JASA, JKKKP dissolved

Thursday, May 24th, 2018
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad addresses the media after chairing the first cabinet meeting at Perdana Putra, Putrajaya. Present also are Deputy Prime Minister Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today announced that the National Council of Professors, the Special Affairs Department (JASA), the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) as well as the Federal Village Development and Security Committee (JKKKP) will all be dissolved.

On the dissolution of the National Council of Professors, Dr Mahathir said he found that it had been riddled with too many political elements which led to it being abused by the previous administration.

“It started as a body which we use to gain knowledge from academicians. But of late, it has many political elements, so we do not want a repeat of this practice.

“On whether another (agency or council) will be formed, we don’t know yet,” he said.

On the dissolution of SPAD, Dr Mahathir said the commission’s functions would be taken over by the Transport Ministry.

JASA and JKKP, he said, would be dissolved due to political elements.

“JKKP will be dissolved because of political elements, not because of its administration. We have civil servants who can perform these roles. We will also not be paying any compensation to the JKKP as we do not want to continue the political practices of the previous administration,” he said.

By NSTP Team

Reports by Azura Abas, Manirajan Ramsamy, Mohd Husni Mohd Noor and Hazwan Faisal Mohamad.

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Consumer body – apply spirit in consumerism

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Consumers in the state should take a cue from the recently-concluded 14th general election, and muster the same spirit of unity and courage towards developing a stronger consumerism spirit, said Consumers Front of Sabah (CFOS).

“We Malaysians have shown our power as voters; that’s exactly how we as consumers should unite and show our ‘power’. If we adopt the same attitude and put the same effort on consumerism, we can be as powerful as consumers,” said CFOS secretary-general Hashima Hasbullah Yahya alluding to countries like United Kingdom and Sutralia, where governments take consumerism issues seriously.

She noted from her experiences in dealing with consumer issues that consumers in the state were meek and disunited, often allowing albeit unwittingly the unscrupulous traders to get away.

“And that’s especially frustrating for us in CFOS who have been working hard to gather the necessary evidences to act against the traders in question as, the complainants fear that there will be repercussion and were unwilling to proceed to the next course of action,” she lamented.

She said in a statement here while welcoming the recent announcement by the Finance Ministry that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be reduced from 6% to 0% beginning next month.

GST, introduced three years ago, has been blamed for the rising cost of living, and is speculated to be one of the factors that contributed to the defeat of the Barisan Nasional government. It raised about RM45billion in 2017.

“CFOS believe by this adjustment, it will effectively lower prices of goods and services. In our opinion, it may take between 6 months to 1 year to see the positive effect of the adjustment.

“CFOS urges consumers to be more attentive of the prices of goods and services from now onwards. Please take a snapshot of all the displayed price tags of goods displayed at all the shopping malls, supermarkets, retail outlets, restaurants, and hawkers centres that we frequently patronized, for record, so that we can later compare the prices and act accordingly, after the new ruling on GST comes into force on June 1.”


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Zero-rated GST to boost buying sentiment

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Zero-rated goods and services tax (GST) can help boost buying sentiment among consumers, as economists view that prices of products and services will be decreasing starting June 1, 2018.

Putra Business School Manager of Entrepreneurship and Community Development and Impact senior lecturer Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff said prices of goods and services might go down further since businesses no longer have to incur compliance costs in term of hiring consultants and training staff to do the GST filing especially among the small and medium enterprises.

“However, more importantly is to ensure that the enforcement agencies are continuously monitoring the prices of products and services to avoid businesses profiteering from this situation,” he told NSTP Group yesterday.

MIDF Amanah Investment Bank chief economist Dr Kamaruddin Mohd Nor said zero-rated GST will help improve consumers’ purchasing power.

“Yes it will boost consumer sentiment and is positive to the domestic economy,” he said.

However, on decreasing prices of goods and services, Dr Kamaruddin said it will depend on various factors including cost structure, input factors, foreign exchange rate, and other variable costs.

“Thus, the confluence of these factors will determine the price of the item,” he said.

On macroeconomic impact, Maybank Investment Bank (IB) Research said based on this year’s GST revenue expectation of RM43.8 billion, the zero-rated GST implies GST revenue shortfall of RM25.6 billion on a simple pro-rated basis, equivalent to 1.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) deterioration in budget deficit, which is targeted to be at 2.8 per cent of GDP this year under Budget 2018.

Maybank IB said the mitigating factor is the upside to Budget 2018’s oil-related revenue forecast of RM37.7 billion amid rising crude oil price.

To note, Budget 2018’s crude oil price assumption is US$52 per barrel against against year-to-date average of US$69 per barrel.

“Our sensitivity analysis is that every US$10 per barrel rise in annual average crude oil price will boost oil-related revenue by RM7 billion to RM8 billion.

“Further mitigation should come with the eventual reintroduction of the Sales and Services Taxes (SST) which previously earned the government RM17.2 billion on a full year basis.


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