Goods and Services Tax Versus Sales and Services Tax

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Apr 1, 1973 - If the goods originate from Malaysia to a place in Malaysia, it is .... rates for credit card amounting RM50.00 with effect from 1st January ... The sales tax was imposed on taxable locally manufactured and/or .... income citizen up to 7% compared to highest income earners only 4.5% as well as prominently.

Goods and Services Tax Versus Sales and Services Tax: Are Malaysia Moving Forward or Going Backward?

ABSTRACT The Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Malaysia was officially introduced by the former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak on the 1st April 2015. The GST implementation had fuelled up critical feedback particularly on financial challenges such as price hikes on goods and services, inflation and national budget deficit, rising cost of living, economic instability hence most importantly the GST implementation have squeezed majority Malaysian citizen spending behaviour. In less than four years of its implementation, the new Malaysia elected government Pakatan Harapan revert the Goods and Services Tax back to Sales and Services Tax on the 1st September 2018. This article aims to provide an academic review on the GST and SST by investigating the current studies on the afore mentioned issue. This paper is expected to provide a relevant knowledge pertaining to Malaysia GST/SST to educate the Malaysian citizen who at large majority have ambiguous or blurry understanding toward GST/SST. In addition, the review will provide a success GST implementation from other developed and developing countries, an example of failed GST in other countries too, challenges, issues and problem need to be wisely addressed by the Malaysian government with hope that this study could assist the authority in their GST/SST policy making, especially in the areas of awareness raising pertaining to the benefits of GST/SST, its application mechanism, tax collection, in order to heighten the society’s confidence towards the Sales and Services Tax administration that recently executed. Keywords: Goods and Services Tax, Value Added Tax, Sales and Services Tax, GST/VAT History, GST Worldwide Case Study on Success Story and Failed Exercise, Tax Regime, Holistic Recommendation, Malaysia


Research Review Approach The data cited in this research were collected from primary and secondary sources available such as statistical data available on variety Malaysian Government websites particularly from the Finance Ministry (, the SST government legislative (, GST/SST news archives (,,, international journals or articles on GST/VAT and relevant reliable source worth to be reviewed. A Literature review from journal papers, annual reports, and wide collection of magazine based articles on SST and GST. The authors, at its level best presenting the issue, challenge and drawback faced by Malaysian during the GST taxing regime from April 2015 until September 2018. In addition, this article also conducted a critical review on GST/VAT across the globe to be learn by Malaysia and third world countries struggle to carried out an effective GST/VAT reforms. Nonetheless, Sales and Services Tax was discussed prior to its re-establishment for next fiscal year of 2019. The researchers, ended this review by sharing scholars tax holistic recommendation. History of GST/VAT/SST According to Nayyar and Singh (2017), the word “tax” is derived from Latin word “taxare” meaning to evaluate. A tax is not a voluntary disbursement or gift, merely an obligatory contribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority and is contribution enforced by the government, whether under the name of fee, tribute, impost, duty, custom, excise, sponsorship, aid, funding or so forth. Taxation was executed by the first dynasty of the Ancient Egypt Kingdom who lives around 3000BC – 2800 before Christ. An historical data extracted from the date stated it was the Pharaoh who carried out consistent excursion of the monarchy, collecting duty profits from its citizens. GST name in the developed nation known as value-added tax or VAT. The United Kingdom, and majority of the European Union nation affiliate use the term VAT. While in New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and Australia use the term GST hence refer to the same consumption tax. Wilhelm Von Siemens, a German businessman believed to be the responsible person introduced this capitalism system in 1920s (Charlet and Owens, 2010), (Smitch MC et al, 2011). The GST/VAT was first introduced in 1950s by France government, followed by United Kingdom on 1st April 1973. The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 17.5%, with a reduced rate of 5% on a number of goods and services, including the supply of fuel for domestic use, installation of energy-saving materials, women's sanitary products and children's car seats. Research and Library Division (2003), Santhariah et al (2018). While, GST was introduced in New Zealand on 1st October 1986. GST is charged at a standard rate of 12.5% on all goods and services which are not zero-rated or tax exempt. GST was introduced in Singapore on 1 April 1994. The Singapore government introduced GST at a low tax rate of 3%. On 4 May 2002, the Singapore government announced in its 2002/2003 Budget that it would raise the GST rate from 3% to 5% with effect from 1 January 2003.


Goods and Services Tax and Malaysia In general, the Goods and Services Tax or GST is a consumption tax imposed on the sale of goods and services. GST is a multistage taxation system and is charged at each stage on value added of production and distribution in the supply chain. In short, GST in Malaysia are imposed on goods and services sold at all stages including the manufacturing, wholesale, retail, as well as at the importation. If the goods originate from Malaysia to a place in Malaysia, it is subject to GST of 6% rate applies. If the supply of goods originates from Malaysia to destination outside of Malaysia, it is a taxable supply and called a zero rate supply. On the other hand, Sales and Services Tax is a single stage tax that was only imposed on consumers either at input or on the output stage. Since the GST is a consumption tax, all Malaysians regardless of their income levels will be equivalently taxed based on their level of spending on good and services. Under GST, consumers are charged only 6% rate as opposed to the SST where consumers were charged a total of 16% tax rate. According to Ishak, Othman and Omar (2015), taxation in the Malaysian context can be divided into two categories, namely direct tax and indirect tax. The direct tax is income tax, real property gain tax, stamp duty, petroleum income tax and film hire duty. This taxes fall under the jurisdiction of the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM). On the other hand, indirect taxes are service tax, sales tax, custom duty, excise duty, gaming tax and entertainment tax and it is administered by the Royal Malaysian Custom Department (RMCD). Taxation is one of economic mechanism used to regulate one country’s economy. It is also known as the main source of revenue for the government. Therefore, tax policy is implemented for several reasons are to grant fiscal incentive to encourage economic growth, regulating the distribution of income and wealth, improving the disadvantaged sector of society and regulating specific undesirable activities such as smoking and gambling. The introduction of GST is partially government’s tax reform with the intention of upgrading the capabilities, effectiveness and transparency of the tax administration and management. In other word it was means to diversified the government revenue (Shahariah, Sabariah and Nur Syuhadah, 2017) as the nation plunge into the worse deficit since 1957 of its independence from the British Colonial. By introduced the GST, more holistic tax regime replacing the SST which dubbed as a cascading tax, double and pyramiding taxes, tax evasion and leakages through transfer pricing would forever banished. Overall, the GST Act provides for the imposition and collection of goods and services tax and officially replaced replace the Sales Tax Act 1972 and Service Tax Act 1975 on 1st April 2015. The existing Sales and Services Tax (SST) contributes only 7.7 % of total revenue. Receipts from the SST depend on the strength of private consumption and business spending activities. The standard rates of SST are 10 % and 6 %, with different rates or exemptions for certain goods and services. The weaknesses of the SST include high incidence of tax avoidance, double taxation along the value-chain that pushes prices up, as well as extensive exemptions. This goes some way in explaining the low collection of revenue from the SST.


The GST Advantage A Study by Venkadasalam (2014) experiential evidence shows on GST implementation in Singapore shows a significant positive economy grows yet for the Philippines and Thailand show significant tax regime negative relationship with their nation’s development. A positive impact of GST depends on a neutral and rational design of the GST for its simplicity, transparent hence significantly enhances involuntary compliance. It’s should be actual, not presumptive, prices and compliance control exercised thoroughly via efficient review scheme. Kasipillai and Krever (2016) argued the Malaysia’s economy was in need of a radical overhaul, including tax reform, with a system excessively dependent on income tax especially from petroleum tax source and inefficient Sales and Services tax regime which implemented by the Malaysian government since 1970s. Therefore, the GST introduction was proved to be broadly successful particularly in growing the tax revenues as well as expanding the tax base. Ultimately, a significant way to expand Malaysia’s GST collection is to nurture a vibrant economy, trade and business growth plus increase the Malaysian spending, enhance company’ productivity and speed up yield development. The GST initiatives will contribute extra revenue for the nation, but the emphasis to endeavour for companies to develop through rigorous entrepreneurship, innovation and globalisation. In the first place, the main reason for GST introduction was due to the weaknesses of the SST tax system. According to the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Chan Kong Choy, who disclosed the fact that tax authorities were unable to collect a total of RM4.2 billion of taxes inclusive of the unpaid sales tax of RM75.7 million, service tax of RM46.8 million, custom duties of RM46.7 million, and excise duties of RM0.57 million as of April 2002. On the other hand, the RMCD’s statistics, from 2005 up to 31 December 2008, RM335.95 million of taxes were not collected or failed to be paid by the taxpayers (Bidin, Shalihen, Shamsudin M & Othman, 2011) cited in Rani Diana et al (2017). Other research done by Kasipillai & Sinnakkannu (2008) stated that the sales tax was a complex tax on the manufacturing of goods and the importation of manufactured goods. The complexity included the exemption mechanism since it depended on the turnovers of licensed manufacturers and the types of manufacturing activity. Besides that, the service tax was also found to have an arbitrary effect on consumers’ prices. The tax only applied to a set of defined activities classified as “taxable services” whose value had exceeded a certain annual threshold. The weaknesses of the SST also included high incidence of tax avoidance, double taxation along the value-chain that pushed prices up, as well as extensive exemptions and this explained the low collection SST revenue (Zhou, Tam & Heng, 2013).


Malaysia Sales and Services Tax History and Implementation Malaysia has been using the sales tax and services tax regime since 29th February 1972 and 1st March 1975, respectively. Sales tax is a single stage consumption tax which is imposed on locally produced goods and services as well as imports. Poh et al (2014). As of October 2014, the standard rate is 10%; reduced rate of 5% for non-essential foodstuff and building materials and specific rates for petroleum products. On the other hand, service tax is also a single stage consumption tax. This tax is imposed on specific services provided by a taxable person in Malaysia. As of October 2014, the flat rate is 6%. There are specific rates for credit card amounting RM50.00 with effect from 1st January 2010. Previously, service tax rate was 5% but raised to 6% in January 2011. Rani Diana et al (2017) - SST was a single stage ad valorem tax imposed based on the respective scope of charges that were accountable to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD). The sales tax was imposed on taxable locally manufactured and/or imported goods. It was considered as a consumption tax, and therefore, under the system, the onus was on the manufacturers to levy charges and collect tax from their customers. The sales tax rate varied from 0 percent, 5 percent, and 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on the categories of goods subject to sales tax. Certain goods such as food and fruits for general lifestyle were nil rates on sales tax, food and fruits for expensive lifestyle, as well as beer and wine were 5 percent on sales tax, whereas other goods were taxed standard rate of 10 percent. A specific sales tax rates were also imposed on certain classes of petroleum such as refined petroleum, diesel fuel, gas oil, and liquefied natural gas. Dylan (2018) quoting The Malaysia Ministry of Finance, Mr Lim Guan Eng on rebranding SST effective on 1st September 2018 recorded a total 5, 443 items are tax exempted while there are only 545 consumers’ items were exempted under the previous GST regime in which was charged at 6%. Among relief items from SST included daily food consumption such as dairy product, agricultural foods and daily essentials like meat, rice, beverage, sugar, palm and coconut oil. However, Malaysian are expected to pay between 5 to 10% sales tax on these imported items included food products like olive oil, sunflower and groundnut cooking oil, butter and ready mixed beverages (3-1 coffee). Services provided by hotels, insurance companies, Telco’s and professionals like lawyers and accountants are subject to a 6% service tax. However, it’s payable only if these businesses have an annual revenue that is more than RM500,000. The Sales/lease/rental of residential land/property, domestic mass public transportation, tolled highways, land for agricultural purposes and land for general use (government buildings and burial grounds), private health care and certain educational and financial services will also be exempted from SST beginning 2019. Aaron and Yeoh (2018). Beforehand, there are 472 thousand registered firms were previously required to pay GST whereby under rebranded SST, there only around 100 thousand companies are required to pay SST, which greatly relieving the burden of 372 thousand SME businesses. An initial investigation by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs, almost 70% inspected goods and services were found to have price in September 2018 when compared against the prices during the GST tax regime.


The Customs Department director-general Mr Subromaniam Tholasy in his press conference with media, there are number of service tax-applicable businesses is 43% compared to 66% that were GST-applicable. Tholasy further added, there are 472,000 business registered with GST, hence only around 80,000 businesses will eligible to pay SST. Meanwhile for the food and beverage outlets, only those with an annual revenue of over RM1.5 million will need to pay the service tax. A separate annual service tax of RM25 per credit card will also be levied on card users. Those items that will carry a 10 per cent sales tax include shellfish, canned drinks, household electrical appliances, toilet paper, tissue, and cosmetics. Cars and motorcycles exceeding 200cc will also be similarly taxed. No sales tax imposed on medicines and pharmaceutical products; as well as personal hygiene products like diapers and sanitary pads. Taxable transportation applied to all vehicles including bicycles, motorcycles below 250cc and forklifts. Petrol and diesel will not be taxed. Items made in or imported into duty-free islands of Langkawi, Labuan and Tioman also exempted. GST/VAT in Developed Countries The Europe nation introduced a different level of tax regime purposely to alleviate the tax on goods and services that forms a larger share of expenditures of the lower income group households. Example of countries applied a luxury tax are Algeria (20-110%), Chile (50-85%), Tunisia (10-700%), and Turkey (7-40%). (Margaret and Laksme, 2016). For these countries, tax certainly is an expression of a political consensus. Each country’s tax perception is varied, and no single tax whether is GST/SST/VAT perceived in the exact manner. Being right might not be sufficient if the reform is not understood. Then New Zealand Introduced GST in 1986. In the early stage of this tax regime, few exemptions made such as rent on the rental properties, financial services, valuable metal as well as charitable donations. The standard GST was set at 12.5% and raised to 15% in 2010 (Palil & Ibrahim, 2011). While, Australia decided to implement its GST to Australian taken a decade due to the intrinsic political disagreement on the GST plus a strong opposed from trade unions where the business community viewed it as a regressive tax and pressurise the lower income community. Kumar Das and Kalyan Mishra (2017) Worldwide GST/VAT/SST Case Study The Bangladesh VAT Smith MC (2011) research on Bangladesh VAT findings was far from encouraging even has been inforce for almost 18 years. For record, Bangladesh introduced VAT in 1991 with aim to mobilize its internal revenue collection and to bring transparency to its indirect tax system. However, despite being a significant contributor to Bangladesh revenue, there is a critical need for tax simplification audit program to encourage greater enforcement, compliance as well as better resourcing for every tax officers to be highly trained tax personnel registered with the Revenue National Board. On the other


hand, similar study undertaken by Faridy and K. Sarker (2011) on the Bangladesh tax regime using Household Income Expenditure Survey data and Suits’ Index of Progressivity confirmed its tax regime is rather regressive and not progressive VAT. The research argued the VAT burdened the low-paid income citizen up to 7% compared to highest income earners only 4.5% as well as prominently highlighted psychological and corruption costs eroding the tax base. Papua New Guinea GST Mawuli (2014) – Empirical evidence suggests GST in Papua New Guinea was the most broadbased tax. Henceforth, it does impose a heavy burden on the taxpayers particularly to the poor individual and households. Even majority of the SMEs business in lacking of input credits for GST monthly submission. Above all, the GST does not promote broad-based growth for PNG. A major drawbacks crucial for thorough investigation are: a costs to the GST-registered businesses in preparing and submitting their input tax credit claims, issue on whether the GST refunds may be corrupted or mismanaged and suspicion about GST administration and compliance due to the tax revenue fluctuation. The Gulf Countries (GCC) GST The GST/VAT in Gulf countries or GCC as suggested by Daou et al of PWC (2010) tax enforcement merely focused on the seven major sector namely financial services, oil and gas, real estate, telecommunications, free zones, industrial products and retail sector. India and GST In general, the India new indirect tax system is considered to be more improved over the existed tax system at national level and sales tax system at state level. Additionally, the GST execution will benefit the business area in which VAT has not available and speedup the monetary advancement. A study by Muno, Sahoo and Prava Mishra (2017), PallaviKapila (2017) emphasize the GST is the most comprehensive tax reform where all India economic sector namely large or small medium industry, intermediaries, importers, exporters, traders, professionals and consumers will certainly benefit from the GST. Its will likely to boost India economy development when the GST equally distributed between manufacturing, retail and services through a standard and unified tax rate. The study supported by Varghese (2015) and Ibin (2018) who conducted a GST study on India taxation renewal regime were officially take off at July 1st, 2017. It is proven the GST plays huge part on India economy advancement. This tax regime aims to simplify the indirect taxation, to be more transparent for the taxpayer to comply. Through closed analysation on the GDP rate before GST and after the GST introduction, it is witness an improvement at 7.2% during the third quarter. On the contrary, a current GST review by Sankar and PallaviKapila (2018) about GST impact in India, it is alleged to be a capitalism tax rule where the double tax is charged in name of a single tax. The sector badly affected of GST aftermath was the real estate segment. The house buying


prices were increased by 8% hence leading to a reduction in the buyer’s market by 12%. As for consumers, GST did not prove to be beneficial since prices of some goods were decreased whereas; the prices of others were increased at a much higher ratio. The ICT sector such as services like Telecom, Banking, Airline and so forth has become expensive than before. Major drawback of the GST regime was the direct hike in service tax rate from 14% to 20/22%. The entire issue of telecommunication sector assumes a serious proportion when India’s rural tele density is not even reach 50%. This consequence confirmed by Gupta, Sarita, Singh, Komal and Kumawat (2017) emphasise the India GST is a nation nightmare even though the politicians keep saying it’s tax regime totally have a positive effect on India nation economy. However, when it comes to sectoral-wise classification, the GST shown higher negative impact then positive vibes. For example, the GST on Information, Communication and Technology has increased the price for most of the software product. Henceforth, for the automobile industry, the GST reduced to 18% compared to previous tax regime 3040% will be a relief for Indian millennial who will afford to buy vehicle on lower price. Other industry expects to have positive yield, is the India Media and Entertainment Industry, the cement sector together with the logistics business where 5 to 10% tax reduction estimated under this new tax regime execution. The Africa VAT/GST Cnossen (2015) research on Africa taxation regime, rise a major concern of its inefficient economic and administrative prior to VAT execution. Its misrepresent input selections, discourage outsourcing, harm exports, complicate administration because the tax on inputs has to be allocated between taxable, exempt transactions yet encourage tax avoidance. Similarly, zero rates on domestically consumed products involve additional administrative and compliance burdens in which VATs facing a problem of managing it. Likewise, the zero rates and exemptions for goods and services excessively consumed by the low salary citizens are ill-targeted instruments to alleviate the VAT burden on them. Additionally, domestic zero-rating also adds to the tax refund problem. VAT in Ukraine and Jamaica Bird and Gendron (2006) research on VAT revenue for Ukraine show extreme drawback for the past 7 years from 1998 until 2004. The researchers described it as ‘Ukraine VAT in trouble ‘. There has been a substantial decline in its VAT efficiency management during this transition. Yet, its VAT inherent weaknesses have been highly manipulated by Ukraine private sector development. Scholars witnesses’ evasion of VAT, plus the size of secretive economy and corruption are closely linked according to Transparency International index on corruption insight. Similarly, the researchers found similarity that VAT is regressive tax not progressive tax for the country of Jamaica.


VAT and Canada Canada start its VAT in 1984. Its VAT major argument was the need of modernize yet a transparent enactment on value added tax to replace an aging tax system, promote competitiveness, and reduce a spiralling budget deficit without unduly burdening low pay community or creating a stealthy ‘‘money machine’’ to finances the high maintenance government politicians. Sullivan (2011). VAT in United Kingdom James and Alley (2007). VAT was originally introduced in the UK in 1973 at a standard rate of 10 % together with the introduction on the Family Support Tax Credit for low paid employees, beneficiaries and another 5% increase for the benefit levels. For the past thirty years, VAT in the UK has proved to be a worthwhile and robust tax after became the biggest sources of nation revenue. It is without a doubt has certainly become an established part of the economic transformation. New Zealand VAT Success Story James & Alley (2006), Sawyer (2007), Smith (2008), In New Zealand, the GST Act came into force on 1 October 1986 at a rate of 10% along with a reduction for the high-paid personnel income tax rate up to 48% making New Zealand as a first to have strong willed group of politicians with a mandate for tax regime reformation commitment. An issue on economic, political plus the social glitches in need of solution and the GST transformation deal was an approach of accomplishing the obligatory changes. First and foremost, the authority appointed and employed the right individual regardless of their political drive. The competent employee was employed in all steps of the process from all walks of life, with the necessary command and aptitude to carried out the movement. An Advisory Panel consult the consultative commission, from top to bottom of the government officials, applied extended working hours within the strict date line to analyse and report on submissions while provide constructive feedback.

Additionally, division of marketing was fully authorised by the government via GST

Coordination Office to disseminate and promoting the taxation reformation. Successful tax transformation never being possible until the politicians are trustworthy, enlighten yet respect the voters. With this mission, the NZ Coordinating Office unify the public, business, trades, professions, government departments, non-profit organisations, professional and all citizen involved with the tax reform process toward the direction of sound judgements. Citizen and associations responsible for running and implementing the tax must possess a knowledge and well-verse to provide and explain anything about the taxation. To conclude, it is probably not exaggerating to suggest Malaysia should definitely in need to take New Zealand for SST guidance and example.


VAT in the Latin America The Latin America was next after France implemented VAT and Brazil was the first country in South America introduced VAT in 1967, Uruguay in 1968, Peru and Bolivia in 1973, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua in 1975, while Honduras and Panama introduced this tax system in 1976 and 1977. In later years it was introduced by other remaining countries of the nation. Nonetheless, the tax regime in South America was far from success story due to the insufficient tax administration enlargement occurred within the agronomic, professional sectors and SMEs business. The continent has experienced a massive growth of its services sector resulting in new and additional complications for an efficient monitoring of the tax management. Bernardi, Barreix, Marenzi and Profeta (2007). According to the World Bank (2005), even the VAT has been in operation in South America for five decades, the continent suffers on highest an excess of income inequality. The capitalism ruled have been quite stable over time and doesn’t appeared affected by the economic or political changes. It is reported that gap between the wealthier and the poorer appeared to be similar with or without tax regime. This suggests that taxation does not have a redistributive impact. Fiscal pressure is in fact quite low and indirect taxes dominate the direct taxes in the majority nation’ tax regime. VAT in the South Asia Anna (2015) - Paying taxes in South Asia is often associated with corruption. Poor training of tax officials, low salaries, lack of incentives, inadequate use of IT system and numerous loopholes in the legislation are among the factor contribute to corruption in the tax system. The Firms and business owners are expected to provide gifts when dealing with tax official. In is reported by World Bank (2015), Bangladesh (41%), Pakistan (29%), Vietnam (33.7%), Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle (17.4%), East Asia & Pacific (17.9%), India (15.3%) and all countries in the world (13%). Such rampant corruption hurts business particularly SMEs, undermines confidence in government institutions and reduces willingness to pay taxes. VAT in Bahamas Keen and Lockwood (2007) and Arthur (2013). The Bahamas government introduced in VAT in 1997 as an instrument to promote greater efficiency and competitiveness in the domestic economy and protecting small business industry. The VAT has been adopted as part of a package of trade liberalisation, recompensing for the income cost due to tariff reduction whilst conserving the gains in production proficiency from affecting producer prices nearer to world cost. At big picture and particularly in emerging nations, an adoption of the VAT is frequently observed as the focal component in a program of modernizing tax administration, building up the utilization of methods for self-evaluation whose generality is expected ultimately to facilitate administration and compliance in connection to various taxes as well.

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Gabon and VAT Success Story Grandcolas (2005). The VAT tax structure was introduced in Gabon on April 1995 where 800 VAT taxpayers with threshold of USD1 million and above has registered. The tax compliance was high and since its operation, all receipts and notices have been issued electronically, 80% of returns and filed according to schedule. Subsequently, all receipts and notices have been issued electronically and 87% feedback acceptance after the first reminder. Gabon Vat was certainly a revenue generator. Upon VAT implementation from April up to March 1996, the country income recorded at 45% higher and 32% of it generated tax from none-oil revenue, and 5.5% none-oil GDP. Mauritius and a Success Story Grandcolas (2005). The Mauritius VAT was coming into effect in September 1998. The author claims it as ‘outstanding levels of compliance’. Nine months after VAT implementation, Mauritius recorded a voluntary compliance at 99.5 percent with only 0.48 percent went missing. For the fiscal year 1999-2000 of VAT introduction, Mauritius tax revenue was estimated 53% higher than previous year collection and contributed 5.6% of Mauritius GDP. Malaysia GST Issue, Challenge and Drawback This section highlighted the overall view of GST in Malaysia since its implementation back in the year of 2015. The review suggested that there is a significant issue, challenge and drawback for the nation’s authority to place-in extra effort to ensure across Malaysia have a clear understanding and cultivate a positive awareness towards GST, leading to its acceptance. Virtuous understanding among Malaysians is essential to fostering a constructive perception towards the GST taxation policy. As an empirical finding by Poh, Cham and Alexander in 2017 revealed that understanding and awareness level on GST relatively low. In fact, the major reason contributed to the GST failure was the negative observation, information lacking on the goods and services exempted from GST and price inflation impact perceived by majority Malaysian. In developed nation, GST or VAT operation works well with minimum problem rise. On the contrary, in Malaysia, a few days after GST announcement, the broadcast media reported radically increased costs for consumers’ products. The third world mentality best described for this phenomenon due to the business people greediness, from conglomerate entrepreneur down to hawkers and stall owners became piggishness capitalist. Similarly, various complaints were recorded over seven days of implementation whereby the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism Minister had received about 2,833 grievances on price upsurge in the market. In less than a year of execution, the GST tax structure received overwhelmed feedback and complaints from the public particularly on the price of goods and services purchased. Norasibah, Norsamsinar, Anuar, Norimah and Emilda (2015). Zhou, Tam and Heng-Contaxis (2013), Narayanan (2014), scrutinize that the GST on macro level, perceived negatively by the Malaysian mainly due to the issue of regressivity concerns. As its imposes an additional flat rate on most goods and services, it is certainly regressivity on the poor

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income households, a potential rise of the GST in future due to the wasteful resources, leakages, irresponsible government spending and corruption. Gupta (2007), Manuel Costa (2015), both researchers concluded that corruption had significant correlation with the tax revenue. Corruption and tax regime inseparable for developing nation. To quote these researcher ‘In the case of the officials in

charge of fiscal revenue collection being corrupt, the level of corruption has a direct impact on its low level of tax collection and in the case of corruption reducing the tax base or reducing the level of economy activity, the final result is reduction of budgetary revenues’. A study by Yong Mun Ching, Kasipillai, Sarker (2017) - The GST fairness taxation complexity contribute a very destructive insight by the small-medium SMEs taxpayers, thus snowballing non-compliance conduct, consistent with assumptions underpinning the TRA or Theory of Reasoned Action. A number of SMEs businesses have closed down, mostly small vendors or convenient stores in the small villages and towns. The retailer’s sales don’t even reach MYR500,000 thresholds yet forced to register with the GST for business longevity. In fact, the SME Malaysia’s chairman clarified, the Sales and Service Tax is preferred taxation structure by majority SMEs, given the fact in where an imposed tax occurred at only manufacturers, unlike Goods and Services Tax, imposed at every level from manufacturer to wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Soliha, Normah and Zuraidah (2015) - The GST administrative complexity, the need of comprehensive documentation in relation to its procedures, specific information and guidelines, contribute to the GST administrative issue and challenge due to unfamiliarity of GST practice. On the other hand, a strict enforcement policy, such as penalty or prosecution to enforce compliance, lead to psychological costs such as anxiety and resentment amid earnest taxpayers. A study done by Juliana, Zarinah and Mohamed in 2016 pertaining GST provides statistic on income disparity, about 30% of the income earned by household with monthly salary RM1,000 and below was spent on food, beverage and daily necessity compared with 5% spent by household income earning RM10,000 a month. The research shown 70.4% of household income was spent on food consumption alone. Therefore, GST paid to every food outlet for having meals certainly a burden to the 60% of Malaysian household. A government measures on helping Malaysian through BR1M or known as Bantuan Rakyat Satu

Malaysia as a mean to assist the low-paid wage group was a merely short term subsidy. Ongoing BR1M certainly promoting subsidization mentality and laziness. Instead of BR1M, there must be a right package plan to enhance public productivity then corrupting this group with BR1M. A research by Penang Institute carried out by Lim and Ooi (2013) demonstrated, the middle-paid household experience the hardest hit of GST hence doesn’t benefit from BR1M. Researchers further added, at least 60% of the households prefer to adjust their daily consumption by switching to a low-priced goods and services for their salary remained constant yet inflation rate were rambled up. Malaysia Households, particularly the millennial group, are more sensitive to market price shocks since they spend most of their income on consumption with minimum or zero savings. With the relatively high living costs particularly in metropolitan cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru, significant price increases due to GST is certainly a huge affliction for average-paid and lower income

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earners. A study conducted by Shafie, Kamilah and Tham in 2016 over 300 respondents of Batu Pahat, Johor, 70 percent respondent choose to reduced their household spending after the GST came into effect. Another, research by Saira et al (2010), Saad (2010) cited in Palil and Ibrahim (2011) on public and private sectors employees, the taxes in Malaysia is quite high and very burdensome to them. On top of GST/SST Malaysian have to pay, house ownership tax which known as door tax, road tax, income tax, services tax, departure tax, internet tax, land tax, foreign labour tax and the list is goes on. A study covering Australian taxpayers and perception of the tax system, complexity in tax law contributes to a negative perception of the system which promotes unwillingness to comply. Likewise, taxpayers who recognise themselves as sufferers of tax injustice increase their nonconformity activities while their morale improves when they are treated with respect by tax officials. Tarrence (2018) from The Star Online new reported, the Finance Ministry has dropped a blowing-up claims on the previous government failure to refund an amount of RM16.046 billion of surplus income tax and real property gains tax to taxpayers. The previous government also owed these refund for the last six years. The minister statement released on 22 August 2018 recorded RM3.09 billion tax refunds for organisation, RM1.50 billion for individuals, societies, and foundation and RM6.125 billion, has not been refunded to taxpayers more than six years. In short, there is 1,653,786 taxpayers not receiving their tax refunds for more than six years ago. While the NST online (2018), The Straits Times Asia (2018) confirmed Mr Lim Guan Eng statement about a numbers of GST input tax refunds took up to two years due to zero allocation in the Government Trust Fund or akaun amanah. Instead, the money had gone into the consolidated fund and was considered as revenue. Nur Idatun Nadia et al (2015) - GST lead into housing price surges, undoubtedly diverse from the rate of affordability of the society, especially to the middle income group who are always left out from the government provisions or plan in helping them toward home ownership. As the nation is now giving attention on the issues of housing price, the Malaysian are aware about the fact that they need to pay more on the purchase. Thus, this can be seen to in majority greedy developers to take advantage on profiteering margin in response of the GST execution. A brand new study by Santhariah, Tran-Nam, Boccabella and Rametse (2018) provides statistic on the Business taxpayer readiness drawback. The investigation to an over 426 Malaysian business comprises small, medium and large enterprises and represented all kind of business types available in Malaysia such a sole trader, partnership, private or public companies covered businesses in various regions inside Malaysia, specified that business sector was poorly prepared for the GST implementation. Among services segment suffered by the GST tax regime was eco-tourism business resulted in tour package sales dropped at almost 20% according to Ahmad Nazrin, Nasihah, Rabiatul and Che Bon (2017). Palil and Ibrahim (2011). Clearly stated, on the business entities capitalism and greediness mentality, which keep increasing the goods and services price and refused to expel the sales and service

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tax hence at the same time surcharged the customer with the GST. Currently, this is the actual fact taking place in Malaysia. The past experiences shown that Malaysian capitalism retailers behave with strong reluctant to decrease the prices although the Government has instructed to reduce the price, definitely the price of market foods & goods would increase by at least 4percent. Moreover, will the government impose a 4% GST while the cost of collecting GST itself is expected to be merely to 3% producing only 1% net tax collection for the government. Singh (2010) cited in Palil and Ibrahim (2011). A GST/SST/VAT would be enormously disliked by almost every segment of the public. However, responsible politicians either from current government (Pakatan Harapan) of former government (Barisan Nasional), those running the government should be harnessing and carried out holistic approach to make the taxation regime favourable by taking into account the issue, challenge and drawback presented above. A major objection to taxation structure due to its disproportionate affliction over middle and low-wage households. The GST is a tax on consumption, and consumption as a percentage of income is generally larger for the poor than the rich. Around the world, this problem is usually addressed by exempting the zero rating necessities. For reasons of simplicity and efficiency, Tax experts strongly prefer the use of refundable income tax credits to offset the burden of a consumption tax. Canada uses both zero rating and income tax credits. Malaysia Rebranding the SST and Demolish the GST Developing nations had constant history pertaining the GST/VAT/SST refunds. Originally the provision for registered taxpayers to receive refunds is a key feature of any tax regime. Unfortunately, tax refunds were the major problematic issue for third world nations for numerous details including ineffective handling, a reluctance by the revenue officials to refund excess taxes paid by taxpayer s well as a fraudulent claim. A self-assessment by taxpayers under a GST/VAT policy also a hindrance for the self-assessment systems must be backed up with consistent assessments to ensure compliance and prevent avoidance. Majority of developing countries failed to have an effective inventory and audit coordination resulting the GST/VAT being regressive. Therefore, quoting the Royal Malaysia Customs Dep Sales and Service Tax Division (2018) “The GST was implemented on 1 April 2015

through the GST Act 2014 and its various subsidiary legislations. Upon the GST exercise, the Sales Tax Act 1972 and the Service Tax Act 1975 was repealed. However, subsequent the justification and economic transformations package being implemented by the current government, the two repealed Acts and its respective subsidiary legislations will be re-introduced effective on the 1st September 2018 with major modifications”. After much debated on GST tax regime by majority Malaysian tax scholars (Lim and Ooi (2013), Poh, Cham and Alexander in 2017, Norasibah, Norsamsinar, Anuar, Norimah and Emilda (2015), Zhou, Tam and Heng-Contaxis (2013), Narayanan (2014), Gupta (2007), Manuel Costa (2015), Yong Mun Ching, Kasipillai, Sarker (2017), Soliha, Normah and Zuraidah (2015), Juliana, Zarinah and Mohamed (2016), Shafie, Kamilah and Tham in

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2016, Palil and Ibrahim (2011), Tarrence (2018), NST online (2018), The Straits Times Asia (2018),

Nur Idatun Nadia et al (2015), Santhariah, Tran-Nam, Boccabella and

Rametse (2018), Ahmad Nazrin, Nasihah, Rabiatul and Che Bon (2017),. Eventhough Ringgit’s depreciation might restore Malaysia’s current account surplus by making exports more competitive, it will not improve the standard of living in Malaysia as Ringgit’s purchasing power is eroded. Chin Yong (2018) – provide tax study using a simple macroeconomic model consider greater proficiency may have ascribed to tax input credit mechanism availability yet if it is preserved, Sales and Services Tax is resourceful and welfare equivalent to GST. Several countries have introduced policies motivating consumers to request a receipts for compliance improvement. The ICTs such as electronic filing present enforcement opportunities to strengthen SST taxation structures, henceforth collecting detailed receipt data creates new tax data administration challenges. In order to ensure the smoothness of SST reintroduction tax system, the Royal Custom Department in cooperation with Ministry of Finance has staged the interaction conference involved approximately 50 thousand personnel and answered 10,000 questions prior to SST re-establishment. Mr Lim Guan Eng himself has personally handled 18 session of SST community dialogue attended by more than 15 thousand business people across Malaysia. To boost the SST efficiency and effectiveness, the provision of specific taxable services of B2B segment, will be exempted from SST effective on 1st January 2018. On top of this, introduction of credit scheme sales tax deduction beginning January next year help to prevent compounded taxation. Additionally, government will launch a Special Voluntary Disclosure Program to offer an opportunity for taxpayers to voluntarily declare any unreported income. This program will be available from 3rd November until 30 June 2019 where taxpayers will receive reduced penalty rates. In the event where the disclosure of unreported income made from 3rd November 2018 up to 31st March 2019 the penalty will be 10% of the tax payable, 1st April 2018 until 30 June 2019, the penalty will be 15% of the tax payable. However, after the program ends on 30 th June 2019, the penalty charges will range from 80% to maximum of 300% as verified in the existed tax laws. Under this rebrand SST tax system with aim to become a clean and transparent government, the Malaysians should rightly exercise willingly to pay their taxes as they well aware the leaders of new elected government will walk their talk. In contrast, the Real Property Gains Tax rates for the firms, none Malaysian nor permanent residents, the property tax rate shall raise from 5 to 10% while for Malaysia and permanent residents, its set at 5%, nevertheless, the low-cost, medium cost and affordable houses with prices below RM200 thousand will be SST exempted. On the other hand, the most holistic yet controversial SST tax reformation is the authority granted by Malaysian government to Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to scrutinise and interrogate unexplained extraordinary wealth displayed by possession of luxury goods, jewellery, handbags or property. The IRB will exercise it right where permitted by law to recover such ownership, whether in the form of additional taxes, penalties or fines. While Sabah, listed as the second

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poorest country in Malaysia, there are tons of selfish Malaysian without feel even an atom of guilt lives like they wealth can be brought to the grave. Another good news from SST system, the Royal Malaysian Customs has launch special enforcement team against the smuggled cigarettes. With help from this team, government aim to recover at least RM1 billion tax losses of clamping down on smuggled and fraudulent activities which was uncollected during the previous government reigned. Lastly, as a means to boost the domestic tourism, beginning 1st January 2019, the government will impose two kind of a departure tax, as for travellers travel within ASEAN the departure levy is RM20 while traveller to other countries will need to pay RM40 at the airport. To ensure the SST policy transparency, the current government will work closely with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Common Reporting Standards to enhance tax transparency plus has implemented the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) in line with foreign authorities to access information for audit and investigation purposes.

Sales and Services Tax Holistic Recommendation Shamsuddin, Meor Ruslan, Abd Halim, Zahari and Mohamad Fazi (2014) urge the Malaysian government should provide a solid ground of rebranding SST tax policy which has been discussed on SST reintroduction above. The government strategies to reform tax programmed in enhancing the capability, effectiveness, and transparency of tax administration and management. Next, government should revise and restructure private and public employee’s salary scheme especially for those who earned minimum basic pay. Current Malaysian basic pay at RM920.00 a month. This is amount received by fresh graduate who enter the labour market. Bear in mind, this amount not even qualified them to apply for the bank loan let alone paying tons of hidden tax exercised by the current government. Pope and Hijatullah (2008) – Recommended six major areas to alleviate the compliance costs of the current Sales and Services Tax apart from limiting the taxpayer threshold at RM500 thousand gross revenue. An equally important, the number of exemptions and zero-rated supply categories items should be clearly publicly well-informed. Next, simplification of SST tax payment arrangement for small and medium businesses. Thirdly, to provide an incentives or compensation for SMEs for collecting tax on behalf of the government and to return the excess tax that has been denied by the previous government to the respective taxpayer. Dirk Willem te Velde et al (2013). Provide solid argument pertaining continuous trade liberalisation will place a heaviness on revenue to majority lower-income nations. The authors reported a secondary evidence regarding an enormous financial haemorrhage steadily experienced by Less Developed Countries (LDCs). Nevertheless, the author can’t provide an exact reference about claims on total money has been returned to LDCs by banks in developed countries except from Malaysia IMDB disgrace.

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Similarly, any relevant changes concerning disclosures tax practices and transparency by the relevant institutions in developed countries are yet to be reported (particularly concerning the Financial Secrecy Act). This studies found that the tax systems in developing countries are less efficient mechanisms for income redistribution and preferred the authority disbursements is a better tool to reallocate income than through taxation. However, this could be depression methods for LDCs as opposed, the distribution of public expenditure also often regressive and the poorest household living in the rural area expected fewer advantage from almost all forms of public spending compare to the wealthier urban in metropolitan cities. Take Sabah and Sarawak for example, the tax revenue collected by the government doesn’t fairly distributed and the public infrastructure road, highway, transportation, telecommunication, electricity, water supply and so forth still 70 percent didn’t reach the region rural areas. On the other hand, a massive corruption of the previous government disgrace has cause the newly appointed government faced a series of enormous challenges such as transfer-pricing abuse, reported value of production, debt payments and hedging. Other challenges involve reporting debt in those high-tax areas when interest rate payments can be deducted or the use of hedging against risk, which can include implicit price changes. Therefore, extend international cooperation such as an assistance to backing the tax structures in developing nations, by piloting spill over analyses of tax deviations, cultivating tax expenditure transparency and compliance through information sharing, state to state broadcasting in international corporations, reinforcement sustenance for transfer pricing rules exercise, taxation policy measurement progress as well as share benchmarks and improvise tax statistic are highly recommended. Gerard and Naritomi (2018). In other nations, business taxpayers are required to electronically file their VAT returns and report itemised B2B transactions. This is exercise by Uganda and Brazil. Both have an electronic invoice for B2B transactions with an exclusive key which is sent in real-time to the tax authority. In Malaysia, retailers often fail to report sales to the public. This noncompliance could be transferred upstream along the supply chain yet hindering the SST revenue mobilisation. Therefore, an incentive should be granted to the firms so that their will report an accurate data for B2B transactions. Tuan Ming Le (2003). The SST/VAT will become an automated teller machine for certain government as usually acclaimed, if soundly designed, the SST is buoyant and efficient. Note that zero rating generally provides strong incentives for frauds, creates excessive burden on tax administration, and effectively erodes the base. A major concerns linked to exemption deserve special attention. First and foremost, an exemption may induce descending effect hence makes the system economically unproductive. Secondly, unnecessary exception tends to disrupt the SST integrity and upset its feasibility. Take the New Zealand VAT regime example, which regard as a best VAT countries policy, limits the state exemption to certain types of business services, supplication of donation goods and services by non-profit groups, residential rental, and finished fine metals.

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Taxing agriculture sector should be accompanied by a reasonable threshold setting, since it is closely tied with household daily consumption. In contrast, a small and medium industry or SMEs businesses are numerous.

Henceforth, their inclusion to the SST taxation should be at minimum

measure or if necessary, be subject to some type of simplified taxes such as reasonable taxation. At this point of view, probably, an Islamic fiscal tax known as Zakat (2.5%) fixed rate considered as the best possible way for SMEs business to contribute to Malaysia economy well-being. However, this only apply to Muslim entrepreneur. Vice versa, this 2.5% should be tax exempted by Inland Revenue Board @ Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN). Another ongoing challenge of SST/VAT in both developed and third world countries is Tax policy. In majority countries, refunds get delayed which become hidden costs to firms and upset their fiscal cash flow. On the other hand, frauds, in various shapes forms, are widespread. It is look perfect in academic review about authority refund policy yet in term of implementation it is failed to be carefully resolved with a great care and Malaysia not exempted either. Last but not least, there is a lack evidence from previous studies to support an overview on consumer readiness, perceptions and acceptance of Sales and Services Tax. Specifically, studies that link the relationship between the perception of SST and consumers’ spending behaviour to the price of SST-inclusive products and services are still scarce. Further analysis is needed to study on how households’ potential consumption behaviour would change with this SST reestablishment. As from an educational context, it is important for policymakers to integrate a basic education on SST taxation policy at least to SPM/STPM candidate as well as to higher education (public or private institutions). Additionally, ongoing dissemination updates pertaining SST should be communicating via most signed up social media platform with ultimate goal - to educate public and the future generation in anticipations to expand their awareness towards the SST tax regime. In summary, it is concluded that Malaysian perception and their behavioural preference in spending is critically crucial SST fully reestablishment by 2019 since it has an enormous impact on their spending power and the economic viability for Malaysia.

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Conclusion As a conclusion, after scrutinizing a numbers of the taxation journals around the world, the researchers provide holistic review pertaining the GST/VAT/SST tax transformation. In reality, whatever described, explores, discussed or even proven analysis remain flawless on the literature review. When it comes to genuine implementation it seems like the tax revenue being an apparatus to maintain high corruption government. Needless to say, the country development progress among Malaysia state possess high inequality especially in East Malaysia. Therefore, an urges to Malaysia government to walk the talk and minimize the income disparity for there are 60 percent of Malaysian household doesn’t have sufficient emergency saving due to continuously goods and services price surge, petroleum surcharge, indirect tax allocation to Malaysian household. Another challenge, should be carefully addressed is the capitalism catastrophe. As a consequence, the income gap between the poorest and the wealthiest creating massive social insecurity can be witnessed through social media, newspaper, television etc. The worse part, the richest became more and more greedy resulted in social injustice, increased criminal act due to capitalism culture. All in all, Malaysia need to return to its SST absolute objective that is collecting tax revenues effectively and efficiently, and rationalize pro-poor government expenditures so that regressivity and corruption can be totally stopped as well as consolidating the Zakat authority in each state government to seriously address the well-being of Muslim population in Malaysia.

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