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GST should be postponed, says Sabah activist

By Ezra Haganez
KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government should consider calls to postpone the implemention of Goods and Service Tax (GST) this April, as more than half of  eligible businesses in Sabah appeared not yet ready for it.

A consumer activist who is also a trader, Donny Yapp, in a statement today said many businesses especially in Sabah have yet to register with the Royal Custom Department and that many more have not acquired or installed GST-compliance accounting software.

"Many have come forward to support the clls to postpone GST including the recent call by Sabah PKR head, Datuk Lajim Ukin. We have reports that many businesses here felt that the RM4,000 cost to install the software as exhorbitant, compounding the fact that many especially Chinese traders are still ignorant on the whole GST issue.

"In fact at a meeting between the Custom director Datuk Janathan Kandok, and the Consumer Affairs and Protection Society of Sabah (CAPS) in lat November, I proposed Custom to consider holding GST seminars in also in Mandarin to ensure more Chinese traders understand fully what GST is," Yapp said.

Yapp, who is also CAPS' coordinator for Kuala Penyu, said Custom could have worked with other parties including the various Chinese Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the matter.

All businesses with annual sales of RM500,000 and above are mandated to register with the Custom Department for GST-compliance by end of December last year.

Those who failed to register by the deadline risk a penalty of between RM1,500 to RM20,000. Those who registered before December 2014 would be eligible to claim a rebate of RM1,000 from the Government, in the purchase of  GST computer software.

However according to Yapp, many in the retail and trading sectors felt that the Federal Government should simplify the accounting and instead provide a free GST software to the small businesses.

"In many towns in Sabah, we are already burdened by high cost of doing businesses such as contributed by transportation and roads, the cabotage policy, exorbitant shop rents, the implementation of minimun wage of RM800, not to mention the unfair competition from the mushrooming foreigners engaging in retails and trades, Yapp said adding that it is unfair to compare Sabah to developed country like neighbour Singapore.

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