Malaysians set to enjoy extra RM22 bln disposable income

Chong (centre, front row) and others pose with participants of the workshop.

KUCHING: Malaysians are set to enjoy an extra disposable income of RM22 billion as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government restored the Sales and Services Tax (SST) last month.

Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said this yesterday after having noted that the federal government of the day had been criticised for the implementation of SST.

He said Malaysians paid about RM43 billion worth of Goods and Services Tax (GST) every year but SST is estimated to collect about RM21 billion from the people.

“If you compare after the shift from GST to SST, there will be a sum of RM22 billion in the hands of consumers.

“This is additional purchasing power.

“This is money put in the people’s hands for them to spend. The previous government taxed RM43 billion and we (PH) tax RM21 billion, it is up to the businesses to attract these additional capital,” he said after opening an e-commerce workshop held at the i-CATS campus here yesterday.

Chong revealed that 80 per cent of Malaysia’s population or about 24 million people use social media while half of the country’s population or about 15 million purchase goods through the Internet.

Currently, he said, e-commerce constituted about 17.8 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He added that the figure is expected to rise to 20 per cent by the year 2020.

“Conservatively speaking, the estimated 20 per cent of our GDP is worth about RM200 billion.”

As of last Sept 30, he said some 106,000 companies across Malaysia had registered as online business entities.

Following the increasing number of online companies his ministry had also received more complaints from consumers with regard to online trading since 2016.

In 2016, the ministry received 2,279 complaints but the number went up by 50 per cent to 3,372 cases last year.

“As at Sept 30 this year, we have already received 3,410 complaints,” he said.

According to Chong, most of these complaints have been resolved because quite a number of consumers had high expectation of goods from online traders.

He said there were cases where the authorities could not identify a person to take action against since the trade was virtually done.

“There are also cases where money was paid but the goods not delivered. The majority of these complaints were solved but there are still challenges.”

He admitted that the authorities might not have the means to tackle such cheating at times, a situation which may hamper the development of e-commerce.

The ministry is thus looking into certain laws and regulations to protect consumers, he added.

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