Minimal rise in cost of living

SST bite mitigated by zero rating of basic necessities like vegetables, meat and eggs

A printscreen of Page 8 of the 121-page guide.

KUCHING: Malaysian consumers may not see any increase in basic cost of living since live animals, noodles and pasta, coffee, tea, eggs and cereals are exempted from the Sales and Services Tax (SST), which will come into effect this Sept 1.

Most vegetables, meat and edible meat offal, fish and sea harvests, as well as fruits and nuts are zero-rated as well, according to the ‘Guide on Proposed Sales Tax Rates for Various Goods’ released by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department recently.

Pickles, dried mushrooms, preserved vegetables, frozen vegetables, frozen sweet corn and dried white fungus are among the vegetable items that are subject to the five-per cent tax.

Under the cereals category, the tax-exempted items include glutinous rice, black glutinous rice, barley, brown rice, fragrant rice, rice, wheat, buckwheat, grains, oats, corn and rye.

Apart from these essential items, all spices are also exempted from SST – flour and starches are mostly zero-rated.

The 121-page guide, dated Aug 16, states that all milk and dairy products are tax-rated at five per cent – except for buttermilk, plain yogurt and fresh milk.

Natural honey and bird’s nest are subject to five per cent tax.

All items listed under the beverages, spirits and vinegar category are subject to either five or 10 per cent tax – the only few items under this list that are tax-rated at five per cent include apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar and wine vinegar.

Consumers have to fork up 10 per cent more for nearly all tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes, except tobacco which is exempted from SST.

Under the miscellaneous edible preparations category, almost all types of paste and seasonings are tax-rated at five per cent, while sauces including fish sauce, tomato and chilli sauces, plum sauce and soy sauce are SST-exempted.

The guide merely serves as information – the public should refer to Sales Tax (Goods Exempted from Tax) Order 2018 and Sales Tax (Rates of Tax) Order 2018 for further clarification.

Further enquiries can be made by calling the Customs Call Centre at 1300-88-8500 – Mondays to Fridays, between 8.30am and 7pm; or send emails to [email protected]

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