Better buying power: A customer buying bread with the notice of zero GST placed at a bakery shop in Ampang. — AZMAN GHANI / The Star
PETALING JAYA: About 80 complaints were received in relation to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) since June 1, said Customs director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam.
“Nine cases are of merchants still charging GST. They are being investigated,” he said, adding that the other cases involving profiteering and price increases have been channelled to the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) Ministry.
The National Consumer Complaints Centre has also received about 30 to 40 complaints.
Its senior legal and policy manager Shabana Naseer Ahmad said these complaints were mostly on restaurants and fitness centres, which did not comply with the zero-rated GST.
“Among the challenges we are facing are lack of evidence and consumers not coming forward to lodge complains,” she said when contacted.
“Business owners also may not have changed the price tags on the menu, so consumers could not remember the price,” she added.
She cited a case of a cake seller, whose prices remained the same even though the receipt showed 0% GST.
Other consumer associations have also urged consumers to be vigilant in checking that traders are adhering to the 0% GST rate.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said consumers partly shared the responsibility in ensuring prices were not hiked up unnecessarily.
“Consumers need to be educated about this and the new Government needs to enforce it well,” he said, adding that he has received complaints about restaurants and parking sites.
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations CEO Datuk Dr Paul Selvaraj said it was hard to attribute price movements solely to GST.
“We have to look at the overall picture. Oil prices have gone up and there is also the effect of the weak ringgit,” he said.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris also said a survey on prices was still in progress.
The public can lodge their complaints with KPDNKK at 03-8000 8000, the toll-free Information and Strategic Operations Movement Centre at 03-8882 6088/ 6245, the smartphone application Ez ADU or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.