MWTA wants timepiece exempted from SST


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Watch Trade Association (MWTA) urged the government to include timepieces (all types of wrist watches and clocks) in the proposed list of goods exempted from Sales and Services Tax (SST), which will be reintroduced on Sept 1.

MWTA president Mark Seng said timepieces have been left out in the 292-page exemption list which was released by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department recently, and that this meant the local watch industry will lose its duty-free status which has been around since 1981.

“In 1981, the prime minister back then Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had announced tax-free status for timepieces and since then the industry has grown rapidly and Malaysia has become one of the shopping heavens for foreign tourists.

“If timepieces are not exempted from SST, it will have a very negative impact on the competitiveness of the goods’ traders in the country and within three to four months after the SST implementation, it will affect the industry,” he told a press conference after the chairing an MWTA meeting here yesterday.

The MWTA consists of over 400 timepiece retailers and suppliers with over 10,000 workers nationwide.

Seng said, he had already contacted the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and Finance Ministry to discuss the issue but yet to receive positive feedback.

Meanwhile, MWTA honorary president and advisor Bernard Yong said the timepiece market revenue in this country is worth approximately RM3 billion a year and without exemption from SST, 40 per cent of the revenue will be gone.

He said, the main contributors to the timepiece industry in this country were foreign tourists and without the attractive price due of the SST, they would go to other countries such as Singapore and Thailand.

On July 20, the Customs Department released a long list of proposed exemptions of consumer goods which will not be subject to the proposed five per cent to ten per cent tax when the SST starts on Sept 1 to replace the GST, which will be scrapped. — Bernama