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PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Najib Razak today announced that the government would go ahead with the decision to corporatise the Customs Department with a better service scheme.
Najib who is also the Finance Minister said the move to corporatise the department had been delayed following the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1, 2015.
“Looking at the excellent performance of the Customs Department in carrying out their duties, the government will corporatise the department with a better service scheme,” he said in his speech at the Customs Appreciation Night here tonight.
Najib said it would be a gift to all customs staff as well as the customs director-general Khazali Ahmad who will be retiring soon.
The Prime Minister hailed the Customs Department as the saviour of the country as the implementation of the GST helped rescue the country’s economy.
He said that although the implementation of the GST had received harsh criticism, the government had taken a bold step to implement the tax to ensure the welfare of the people was safeguarded.
Najib said Malaysia needed a modern and progressive tax system to ensure the transformation of the country and in order for Malaysia to become a developed nation.
“This is a fundamental issue. If you want to see Malaysia transform into a developed nation, we have to implement the GST because it has proven to be the best tax system in the world.
“The government’s aspiration is only to see a transformation in the structure of tax collection in the country,” he said.
The government implemented the GST at a rate of 6% in April 1, 2015 and the revenue collected for the first nine months of 2015 was RM21.9 billion while RM41.2 billion was collected last year.
Before introducing the GST, the Customs managed to collect RM35.1 billion in 2014.
Najib said during a briefing today that the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Muhammad Ibrahim had said the implementation of the GST could prevent Malaysia from facing difficult times.
According to the governor, without the GST, the current deficit of 3.1% might have jumped to 6% or 7% while the value of the ringgit could have dropped to RM6 or RM7 against the US Dollar compared to the current rate of RM4.45.
“Our rating will drop at the international rating due to the lack of revenue or insufficient revenue to administer and develop the country. We might have ended-up borrowing even more,” he said.
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