KUALA LUMPUR, May 15, 2015:
The announcement by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry over the Goods and Services Tax (GST) charge on prepaid reloads, based on usage, has left both consumers and dealers baffled.
This came after Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said GST on prepaid top-ups would be usage-based.
The Cabinet had agreed to the proposal by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry that prepaid top-ups sold at RM10 will retain the amount upon activation and telcos had been given six months to introduce this.
In the meantime, Ahmad Shabery had stated that customers will be charged RM10.60 when buying RM10 reload.
However, a survey by The Rakyat Post around the city showed his message had not been clearly understood by most members of the public and even dealers for lack of written instructions.
One trader, Badrul Jamal, said the government would have to come up with a decision that does not cause confusion to both dealers or consumers.
“We are being scolded by customers due to the issue of GST on prepaid cards as some of the customers still do not clearly understand this tax. This affects our business.”
Badrul said he had decided to only sell prepaid cards issued by only one telecommunications company.
He said this company provided him with the paperwork to make it easier for him to explain the exact charges to customers.
A consumer, who wished to be known as Dhramen, said the decision to pose charges in line with usage was extreme.
“That is ridiculous and troublesome.”
However, another private sector worker, Hafis Othman, 36, said the GST charge on usage was much better. He said a person might buy RM10 reload but only use up a few ringgit before the expiry of the reload period validity.
“Only when one starts using the service should the GST charge kick in. This to me is the right way to go.”
A private sector worker, who only wished to be known as Nikki, said she had yet to feel the burden as she bought the reloads online.
She said at the moment, the rate remained the same as prior to the implementation of GST. She considered the proposal to charge GST charge on usage to be inconvenient.
“The government must not burden people with a minor issue like this and must let the prepaid rate be as before.”
Student Zhoriif Mustaza, 21, said the charge that would be imposed will not burden him as he used the Internet data plan.
“Now that WhatsApp has a call function, this will only incur data charges and not call charges.
“This will not be a problem to me because as a student, I use data more than I make calls.”
Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) president Datuk Nadzim Johan said he had received many complaints about the confusion among merchants and consumers.
He said the government and telecommunication companies should hold discussions and issue a final statement.
“They have to give examples so that people can understand very clearly.”
He said the issue of prepaid card reloads was a small matter that could be resolved easily.