Surprisingly, Johor branch students hurled a barrage of unexpected questions focusing on sale of goods over the internet and the GST implications thereon. Another popular topic was the GST impact on goods brought back to Malaysia from overseas holiday / shopping trips, and the difference between service charge and service tax charged by restaurants.
This was a group photo shot of the speakers, the organizing committee (seated on the first row) and some of the students. It was not possible to capture the full turnout of students in a single photo.
As can be seen from these cursory photo shots, the hall was packed full with an audience crowd running into hundreds.
The GST session at the Sabah campus drew questions which posed challenges for speaker: Is GST good for us? A tough question to address, given the multi-faceted impact of GST on the populace.
Other interesting questions included: Will GST be chargeable on rental of houses / apartments and on food consumed in restaurants? These are all practical questions impacting day-to-day livelihoods of students and Malaysians alike. Also, questions were raised on the GST treatment of petrol. This was very timely given that the prime minister had recently announced zero-rated status for RON95 petrol (but not RON97) during Budget 2015.
Our GST-awareness talks of over 28 sessions exposed thousands of students to the basics of GST, giving them a glimpse of how GST would affect them as consumers.
Many students from the KL Campus asked if GST would cause the prices of goods to increase – a question whose only answer is: we will have to wait and see. Nonetheless, we introduced the concept of the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act.
Students with parents running businesses in smaller towns also raised concerns on whether their family-run businesses would need to register for GST – a very relevant question given that GST information and facilities are less easily available in rural areas.
We conducted a special GST session aimed at the lecturers of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.
The session focused on the mechanism of GST on a micro and macro level, impact on consumers as well as businesses, and the general scope of GST.
The session drew a very lively discussion from the audience whereby lecturers raised may intelligent (and often challenging) questions. Example:
How does GST enable the government to increase revenue collections?
How would the government ensure GST is only charged and collected by restaurants and outlets who are registered for GST, and not charged by unauthorized operators?