By Nicolaos Giannopoulos
In 2000, Australia introduced a goods and services tax (GST) and didn't look back. Their experiences will shed some light on what we can expect when GST is introduced in Malaysia, and why it's not such a bad thing after all.
Australia introduced GST primarily to improve on a tax system which people viewed as unfair, outdated and opaque for consumers. Many might say the same sort of problems exists with our current tax system.
For example, it is difficult to interpret when some services, such as management services, are subject to service tax.
Also, Malaysian consumers aren't aware of how much sales tax they pay in the price of goods they purchase. Nor can they see when they are taxed twice on the same purchase. For instance, when you have a soft drink at dinner, you're paying the restaurant a service tax for your drink. This is on top of a hidden' charge of sales tax on the soft drink from the manufacturer. If we had a GST, this wouldn't happen.