Crowds flock to Malaysia malls as GST drops to zero

Crowds flock to Malaysia malls as GST drops to zero

Malaysia shoppers
A customer looking at jewellery and other accessories at a shopping mall in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (File photo: AFP/Saeed Khan)

KUALA LUMPUR: The first day of the zero-rated  Goods and Services Tax on Friday (Jun 1) saw crowds of people flock to malls in Malaysia to shop for products, mainly in preparation for the Aidilfitri.

Several clothing boutiques and other outlets were packed with people shopping for bargains among the goods displayed with signs showing the GST at zero per cent.

An officer with a private firm, Mazlina Yusof, 29, said she had taken leave to shop for Aidilfitri with members of her family.

“Besides the zero-rated GST, many shops are offering discounts as well. We did not want to risk getting caught in the anticipated weekend crowd at the malls,” she told Bernama.

Housewife A’abayiah Yusof, 65, said there was not much of a difference between the prices before and after GST was zero-rated but traders had taken advantage of the situation to offer Aidilfitri promotions.

A civil servant, Siti Nor Aini Hamidon, 32, said her family spent up to RM5,000 to buy household necessities at a mall in view of Aidilfitri.

“This is the first time that I have spent so much money here. The goods are much cheaper with the zero-rated GST. For me, the GST is not a burden but the goods are cheaper without the GST and one can buy goods in bigger quantities,” she said.

IKEA Cheras human resource assistant manager Nur Azie Yanti said the number of visitors to the store had increased.

“Some shoppers had come much earlier than the opening time of 9.30am and we expect more people to come at night,” Nur Azie said, adding that the store would open more counters to cater to the bigger crowd.

A manager of a store for kitchen appliances at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), who declined to be named, said trade enforcement officers called at the store at 10am to check on the prices of goods.

“The prices of essential goods have been reduced. It will take a day or two to complete affixing the lower prices on the kitchen appliances,” she said.

Several shops have yet to switch to the zero-rated GST.

Grocer Chong Sim Huat, 56, said as the cash register was calibrated to 6 per cent GST, he had to write the receipts by hand for customers.

“We are waiting for the new cash register to arrive this evening. Although it is a tedious job of writing the receipts by hand, we have no choice because of the delay in the arrival of the new cash register,” he said.

GST was imposed on April 1, 2015, at the rate of 6 per cent. On May 16, the new Pakatan Harapan government said GST would be zero-rated on June 1 and abolished in September to make way for the resumption of the Sales and Service Tax (SST).

ONE-MONTH GRACE PERIOD

The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) has given traders a one-month grace period to display price tags with zero GST for all goods and services.

KPDNKK enforcement director Datuk Roslan Mahayudin said at the same time KPDNKK would be conducting operations called Op Catut 4.0 nationwide until Jun 30 to inspect the level of compliance by traders on zero GST.

“The objective of KPDNKK is to combat abuse during the change of GST rate and in other situations.

“The ministry’s target is to inspect at 7,542 premises throughout the country before Jun 1 and compare the prices after GST was rated zero. When GST is zero-rated, the prices of goods should be lower,” he told reporters after observing the implementation of zero GST at AEON Big in Alamanda shopping centre here today.

To ensure traders comply with the implementation of zero GST, consumers are advised to examine their receipts, he said.

Roslan said there would however be no change to price of goods such as rice, cooking oil and RON 95 petrol, which had already been GST zero-rated before Jun 1.

He said that traders who did not change their price tag after the transition period ends on Jun 30 would face action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 and Price Control and Anti-Profiteering (Mechanism to determine unreasonably high profit for goods) Regulations 2016.

On the implementation of zero GST at AEON Big, Roslan said a large section of its goods have been changed to zero GST while only some items were still in the process of changing price tag.

"Most of the good today were found cheaper compared to before Jun 1,”  he said.

Source: Bernama/aj

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