Oh, it looks like we’ll have to start spending a little bit more on groceries next month.

From 1st July 2017 onwards, more than 60 types of food items, including certain seafood, vegetables, fruits, tea, coffee, spices, and noodles, will have the Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed on them. The news was confirmed by Customs Department director-general Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy, who said that a full statement would be issued later today (19th June 2017, Monday).

Source: AFP

Note: The single largest and divisive issue in the Malaysia Budget 2014 announcement was the introduction of the GST and abolishment of the 10% Sales Tax and 6% Service Tax (SST) starting 1st April 2015. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) currently has its rate fixed at 6%.


Previously, basic food/essential items such as rice, sugar, salt, flour, noodles, coffee, tea, cooking oil, all types of imported and local fruits, were exempted from GST. However, from 1st July 2017 onwards, the new items that will be levied with GST include eel, swordfish and imported fruits like avocados, figs, grapes, nectarines, cherries, and berries. Vegetables such as potatoes, long beans, peas, spinach, and sweet corn would also be taken off the GST zero-rated list.

Other items include bihun, kuey teow, laksa mee, and coconut oil.

“It’s only a few items not consumed by the masses,” The Star Online quoted Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy as saying.

UPDATE (19th June 2017, 1:52pm):

It’s not happening.

The Customs Department has now cancelled the order which would have seen more than 60 types of food items levied with GST. In a statement, Customs Department director-general Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy said that the decision was made after the matter was referred to the finance ministry.

Source: Customs Department

We can all heave a huge sigh of relief for now.


Sources: The Star Online, FMT.

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