Thursday, April 2, 2015


The implementation of Goods and Services Tax officially started yesterday, April 1 2015. I am yet to do any shopping so I am not sure if there is any obvious price hike or not although a few of my facebook friends have been posting on their walls about the unscrupulous acts of certain businesses who have been taking advantage of the newly-executed GST. I will not write about what others say since I do not want to spread anything that might not even be true. I will only start bitching if what is happening is totally different than what has been said. From what I know, not all businesses have to register with the Customs Department. If they want to impose the 6% GST, they will also need to have (and prove) an identification number which consumers can refer to. It is indeed ridiculous and unscrupulous for any traders (both big and small) to impose any tax when they are not registered with the Customs Department (some of them don't even have a licence to begin with). I was surfing the Internet yesterday looking for more information on GST when I came across a GST website. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore provides a website where consumers can check if a business is GST-registered or not. In this age of ICT when any information is just a click or a touch away, a website which enables consumers to check the identity of a business is undeniably necessary. Consumers can check if a business is GST-registered by keying in the name of the company or even the identification number provided by the authorities. In my opinion, consumers have to be more aware of their rights so as not to be exploited by unethical and dishonourable individuals and businesses who want to reap more profits than they should. In more developed countries where the rights of consumers are very much protected, those who are engaged in unscrupulous and exploitative business practices are punishable by law. In Malaysia, awareness of the rights of consumers is still low especially in certain areas and sometimes, consumers are much more willing to let themselves be taken advantage of rather than to fight for and defend their rights. All in all, I believe the GST is another way of educating consumers and ensuring transparency in our society. Its success (or even failure) very much depends on all of us and nobody else. Give it some time before we start judging, pointing fingers, blaming others and giving negative comments. As consumers, we have a lot of choices and it is up to us to exercise our rights. Below is a sample receipt to help those (and me, too) who are still not sure what to expect when certain items are purchased. Let us all become wise consumers and don't let anybody take advantage of us.