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IMF Welcomes New GST For Malaysia

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has welcomed the imminent introduction of a goods and services tax in Malaysia but has urged authorities to gradually increase the rate.

The GST is due to come into effect on April 1, 2015, at a rate of six percent – the lowest rate in the region, followed by Singapore and Thailand, which levy seven percent GST rates. Gradually raising the rate would help Malaysia reduce its fiscal dependence on hydrocarbons and balance the budget, the IMF said in its 2014 Article IV consultation report for the country.

The Fund also said that the GST regime’s efficacy can be enhanced by gradually narrowing the list of exempt and zero-rated items. By providing fewer GST exemptions, authorities would also receive more information for use in cross-checking returns, which would support enforcement activities, the IMF said.

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