KOTA KINABALU, Jan 9 — The government, via the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, expects to collect RM42 billion in goods and services tax (GST) this year compared to RM41 billion last year, said Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Othman Aziz.

Othman said the target could be achieved through the cooperation of all parties in the face of worldwide economic slowdown which Malaysia was not spared.

“In the face of the economic slowdown now, we expect a small increase in GST collection compare to 2016. This is also a reflection of the department’s efforts to achieve the target,” he said.

He said this to reporters after witnessing the ceremony to hand over the Sepanggar Customs Department’s housing project here today.

The RM54 million project involves the construction of a three-block building with 120 units. The project was completed on schedule and it resulted in the saving of RM6 million.

Othman said although there were still companies which failed to follow the GST directive, the number was small at about five per cent.

“Action has been taken against them, including compound fines to ensure they follow the directive,” he said.

On the sales of duty-free items — cigarettes and liquor — in Langkawi, Federal Territory of Labuan and Tioman, Othman said, the effects of the sales were positive and encouraging.

“This will minimise leakages of the government’s tax revenue from the sales of these items,” he said.

He said Langkawi, Labuan and Tioman had 56, 21 and three duty-free outlets respectively.

“We need a mechanism to ensure the leakage rate is not too high and we are closely monitoring as we want to compare the extend of the leakage before this,” he said.

Meanwhile, Customs Department’s Director-General, Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad, said the duty-free shops were introduced only for the sales of cigarettes and liquor with all other products still available in other such outlets in the islands.

He said licences to sell duty-free cigarettes and liquor in the islands were still open to those who interested.  — Bernama

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