Muar, Malaysia | Asia Samachar | 12 June 2015
Gurdwara Sahib Muar has urged the Malaysian Federal government to exempt places of worship of all faiths from being levied the Goods and Service Tax (GST) which was rolled out on 1 April 2015.
GS Muar committee president Baldev Singh Randhawa made the request to Razali Ibrahim, the second-term Member of Parliament for Muar and a deputy minister in the Malaysian Federal government, who visited the gurdwara on 14 June.
“Right now, gurdwaras have to pay GST for utility bills like electricity and water. The bigger gurdwaras also have other services like telephone,” he told Asia Samachar.
Malaysia began implementing the GST in April 2015 after a prolonged debate and numerous delays due to the generally negative response from the public. The GST replaces the sales and service tax which has been used in the country for several decades.
Baldev said he would bring up the matter at the next meeting later this month of the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC), an umbrella body for gurdwaras in Malaysia.
“Perhaps they can consider bringing up this matter through the interfaith movement,” he said.
He was referring to the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), which is at the moment chaired by Jagir Singh from MGC.
In neighbouring state of Malacca, the GST for water bills for 760 places or worship and welfare homes, estimated at RM360,000 annually, will be absorbed by the Syarikat Air Melaka Berhad (SAMB), according to Melaka Chief Minister Idris Haron in May.
During the visit, Razali, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, presented a RM5,000 donation to the gurdwara.
Razali was wearing the songkok, a traditional headgear worn by Malays and Muslim males in the Southeast Asia region.
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