for RM10 cards from next year but tax to
include messages and data
May 14 2015
mobile users will get air time of RM10 for
every RM10 top-up, but they will have to pay
Goods and Services Tax (GST) for calls, text
messages and data usage.
This will be implemented from 2016 to give
telcos time to prepare ahead.
The current RM10.60 charge (inclusive of 6%
GST) for a RM10 top-up will stay until the
end of the year.
Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk
Seri Ahmad Shabery Chik, who disclosed this
at a press conference yesterday, said the
Government decided that the new method of
incorporating GST on prepaid usage was
suitable and fair.
“The GST is collected only when consumers
use the service and not before.
“This, however, could not be done now
because the GST-included prepaid cards are
still in the market,” he said.
Ahmad Shabery said the decision had been
conveyed to telco operators, who said they
needed about six months to reconfigure their
systems and produce new cards.
The re-configuration, he added, was a
difficult process which involved many
distribution strata and agents as well as
various inputs for the prepaid top-up values
such as the physical card, online added
value, the Internet and mobile banking, and
the automated teller machine.
“To balance the effects of the GST, the
Government has asked the telco operators to
reduce the rates of their services and offer
more affordable packages to targeted groups
such as students,” he said.
Prepaid mobile phone users are not
particularly thrilled with the decision.
Undergraduate Annie Grace Pravena Peter, 19,
“At first they wanted us to pay RM10.60.
Now, it’s GST for every call.
“It is the same thing. Either way, we will
have to fork out more.”
Annie hoped the Government would consider
that students were the majority of those
using prepaid cards and they were living on
a tight budget.
“I top up RM50 a month and every ringgit
counts,” she said while suggesting rebates
be offered to students.
Wong Khai Wern, 22, a second-year
undergraduate at Universiti Malaya, said the
change would placate users because “they
won’t be conscious of how it (GST) is being
Nurse S. Santhakumari, 58, was, however,
indifferent to the change.
“Either way, I am paying the GST,” she said.
Federation of Malaysian Consumer
Associations (Fomca) secretary-general Datuk
Paul Selvaraj approved the Cabinet’s
decision of not imposing the GST on
When asked how the change would affect
consumers, Paul said it would depend on
users’ call consumption.
“They will have to manage their calls to
optimise cost,” he added.
The Star Online, Thursday 14, 2015