Sorry happyhour-goers. It looks like you’ll need to cut back on drinks or fork out more for your after work sessions soon. Apparently, the alcohol tax on beer and stout is expected to go up by at least 10% this week.
MMO cited a source in the alcoholic beverage as saying, “We do not know by how much the government will increase the tax. It is now at 15% and we think it can go up by an additional 10%.”
“The manufacturers are now preparing a plan to raise their prices depending on the percentage announced by the ministry. Beer and stout will definitely cost more,” the source added.
As it stands, Malaysia has the 3rd highest tax on alcohol worldwide, behind Norway and Singapore. The increase may mean a several ringgit increase for consumers, which could be quite painful on the wallet, all things considered i.e. GST. Last year saw prices of alcohol shoot up by at least 15% post GST.
Currently, a 320ml can of regular Tiger and Carlsberg is priced at RM10.50, while a 500ml can of Guinness retails at RM15.40. The Carlsberg Special Brew costs RM14.70 per can.
MMO also spoke to Alcohol Consumer-Rights Group founder Deepak Gill, who said said that the tax hike would adversely affect an already struggling tourist industry.
“It is not possible to underestimate the role these beverages play in drawing tourists. Rather than a tax hike, the authorities should instead reduce the tax on beer and stout. We already have tourists complaining that our beer prices are ridiculously high and they are considering other destinations,” he said.
Malaysia has the 10th largest drinking population worldwide spending an estimated RM2 billion annually on alcoholic beverages.
The Finance Ministry is expected to announce the revised rate at a press conference tomorrow. The last tax revision was a decade ago.