KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Bernama) — The level of understanding on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has risen ahead of its implementation on April 1, says SME Corporation Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Datuk Hafsah Hashim.
“From a survey that we have conducted, we observed that the level of understanding among the SMEs has increased from just a single digit in early 2014 to 60 per cent,” she told Bernama.
Hafsah said the positive response implied the number of programmes conducted by the government agency to educate the SMEs on the six per cent tax that would replace the current sales and services tax would bearing fruit.
She said SME Corp has carried out many training and workshops to alert the SMEs. Last year alone, it conducted about 92 programmes with more than 2,000 participations.
SME Corp has also worked hand-in-hand with other government agencies including the Inland Revenue Board and Royal Customs Department to get people to understand what GST is all about, Hafsah added.
She noted that the government agency began its journey to educate SMEs back in 2011 when the government announced that it would implement the GST after the 2013 general election.
“From our database, there are about 160,000 of companies that achieved sales above RM500,000 and SMEs accounted for 98 per cent.
“And to ease the burden of the SMEs in transforming their current system to the GST scheme, the government has provided an allocation of RM150 million for them to purchase and upgrade their accounting system and the assistance is available in the form of a GST e-voucher worth RM1,000,” she said.
However, Hafsah expressed frustration, as the number of SMEs, which have downloaded the e-voucher, did not tally with those who have redeemed the e-voucher.
“All the vouchers have been disbursed but my disappointment is the rate of redemption among the SMEs is still poor. I urge them to redeem theirs vouchers before the implementation of the GST,” she said, adding that companies can redeem their e-voucher at 181 vendors that have been appointed by the government.
As at March 20, a total of 151,623 e-vouchers have been issued by the government to SMEs but only 89,525 have been redeemed.