Brisk sales ex­pected

Mom and pop shops ea­gerly wait­ing for busi­nesses to pick up from June 1.

The Star Malaysia - - News - By MEI MEI CHU meime­ichu@thes­tar.com.my

PETAL­ING JAYA: It’s about two weeks away but small busi­nesses are ea­gerly await­ing June 1 when the Goods and Ser­vices Tax will be zero-rated. They are keep­ing their fin­gers crossed that their busi­nesses will pick up again.

The Fi­nance Min­istry, which made the an­nounce­ment on Wed­nes­day, has ap­par­ently not sent out of­fi­cial no­tices to busi­nesses, many of whom are un­sure how to up­date their op­er­a­tions.

At Kedai Peng Soon, the fa­therand-son team is scratch­ing their heads on how to up­date the prices of 1,000 prod­ucts in their small gro­cery store.

“I feel very good about GST be­ing at zero per cent but now we don’t know where to start,” Lee Peng Soon, 78, said.

“We have paid GST for our ex­ist­ing stock but we’re un­cer­tain whether we can claim our money back from our sup­plier be­cause we won’t be able to sell the prod­ucts at the GST-in­clu­sive prices.”

A work­shop man­ager claimed that busi­ness slowed down fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of GST.

“Our cus­tomers re­duced by at least 30% af­ter GST was im­posed in April 2015,” said Goh Li May, man­ager at Eastern Goh Auto Works Sdn Bhd.

“The sup­pli­ers charge us GST so we have no choice but to trans­fer the cost to our cus­tomers.”

To re­tain their cus­tomers, other traders de­cided to ab­sorb the tax, a move that greatly re­duced their profit mar­gins.

“Af­ter the im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST, busi­ness had be­come very, very slow,” said Wan Esha Wan Long, who runs Esha Batik Col­lec­tion.

“Cus­tomers used to buy up to four items, but they had be­come care­ful with spend­ing and only buy one item,” the 53-year-old added.

Raja Ku­mar Am­math­alli, man­ager of Aunty Manju’s Banana Leaf, said it had been dif­fi­cult to ex­plain to din­ers about the price in­crease in the menu as the cost of raw ma­te­ri­als had gone up as well.

While most traders feel the pinch of the 6% tax, Restoran Xing Loong owner Ng Chun Keat felt that it was a small price to pay for the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try.

“What mat­ters is how the Gov­ern­ment uses the tax rev­enue to de­velop the coun­try,” he said, adding that he would not mind the tax if it boosted the econ­omy.

Ng is pes­simistic sup­pli­ers will re­duce their prices af­ter June 1.

“It’s im­pos­si­ble. Prices only go up. They never go down,” he said.

The sooner the bet­ter: Lee wav­ing to re­porters at his shop in Petal­ing Jaya.

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