PUTRAJAYA: The government will consider bringing back the Goods and Services Tax (GST) if the people want it.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said a study would be made to find out if GST is really better than the current Sales and Services Tax (SST), as perceived by many.
"If that is what the people want, we will look into it," he told reporters after the launch of the Security and Public Order Policy (DKKA) here.
The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) had called for the government to re-introduce the GST in the 2020 Budget, but at a lower rate of three per cent.
Its chairman Tan Sri Kamal Salih was reported to have described the GST as a tax regime that was fair to all walks of life, adding that the system had kept the government afloat when the crude oil price declined to below US$36 per barrel in 2015.
He added that he was against the idea of abolishing the GST and replacing it with SST, when the Pakatan Harapan government took over last year.
Kamal justified that no matter how one expanded the SST to different sectors or how the enforcement was done, it would still not be enough to fill whatever (income) that had been produced by GST.
Asked if the 2020 Budget could include the GST should the government agree to bring it back, Dr Mahathir replied that it was very unlikely.
"For the upcoming budget, it is a bit difficult (to include it)," he added.
The 2020 Budget is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on Oct 11.