Guan Eng: Seafood now exempt from SST

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Seafood; no SST
No SST on seafood

KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 4 – There should be no increase in the price of nasi kandar and char kuay teow (CKT) with the ingredients – including prawns, cockles, squid and crabs – now being exempt from the Sales and Services Tax (SST), says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said this following outcry over the SST, which was introduced on September 1, being applied to these basic seafood favorites.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the exemption of SST on a list of crustaceans and molluscs would be done immediately, The Star reported.

Lim added that he did not realise taxing regular seafood and other produce would affect the prices of meals at restaurants.

He also warned traders against imposing the tax on consumers purchasing these fresh seafood items.

Interestingly, the move also means that seafood such as rock lobsters, normal lobsters, Norway lobsters, cold water shrimps, oysters, scallops, abalones and ark shells would also be exempt from the SST.

According to the daily, Lim explained that because all these types of seafood were placed under one category – crustaceans and molluscs – therefore the cheaper seafood items were taxed together with the luxury seafood items.

“Because of this, all other seafood items such as cockles and prawns were also imposed 10% SST.

“So as not to create confusion and to allow seafood to be enjoyed by those in the low and middle income bracket, I have directed the Customs Department to exempt all seafood that is on the list from being taxed,” he told reporters yesterday.

Luxury seafood previously exempt from GST

The issue of lobster and other luxury seafood items being exempt from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) under the Barisan Nasional (BN) government was criticised by politicians from Pakatan Harapan parties as well as several activists.

Most of the critics had alleged that BN was catering to the taste of their “rich friends”.

Lim added however, that the customs will conduct a review in future to consider how luxury seafood items such as oysters, abalone and lobster could be made subject to some form of taxation.

He also admitted that adding more items to the SST-exempt list would affect the government’s revenue.

The Customs Department had previously said that it was targeting a collection of RM22 billon from SST.

-NMT

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