Prime Minister Najib Razak has 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 Customs was 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 on Monday night.
Najib said it would be a gift to all Customs staff and Customs director-general Khazali Ahmad who will be retiring soon.
The Prime Minister hailed the Customs Department as the saviour of the country since the implementation of the GST had rescued the country’s economy.
He said though the implementation of GST had received harsh criticism, the government had taken a bold step to implement the GST to ensure the welfare of the people.
Najib said Malaysia needed a modern and progressive tax system to ensure the transformation of the country and 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 started implementing GST at a rate of 6% since April 1, 2015 and the amount collected for nine months of 2015 was RM21.9 billion while RM41.2 billion was collected last year.
Before introducing GST, Customs managed to collect RM35.1 billion in 2014.
Najib said during a briefing today, the Governor of Bank Negara, Muhammad Ibrahim had said that the implementation of GST can prevent Malaysia from facing difficult times.
According to the governor, without GST, the current deficit of 3.1% might jump to 6% or 7% and the value of our currency can drop 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 lack of revenue or insufficient revenue to administer and develop the country. We might end up borrowing more,” he said.– Bernama