PETALING JAYA: The government should look into excluding dates from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a consumer group said today.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) chief activist Nadzim Johan said the food item played an important role in the lives of Muslims, who made up the majority of the country’s population.
It was reported earlier today that Asia Kitchen Industries Sdn Bhd, a dates distributor, was taking the Customs Department and the government to court for including dates on the list of foods taxed under the GST. The company said in doing so, the government had failed to consider that dates were a must for Muslims during the fasting month.
Speaking to FMT, Nadzim echoed the company’s stance, saying more groups should come forward to push for dates to be made GST-exempt, as it was about “the rights and privileges of a large group in the country.”
“This is about a group looking after their rights and privileges which are things that everyone, regardless of race or religion, care about,” he said.
According to Washington-based pollster the Pew Research Centre, Muslims made up 63.7% of the Malaysian population as of the year 2010 – a percentage that was likely to increase over time.
Therefore, Nadzim said, calls to make dates GST-free was acceptable as “it would not affect the government’s coffers that much.”
He also called on Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani to look into the possibility of exempting dates from the GST.