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GST notches up death number one
Published:  Jun 1, 2015 5:53 AM
Updated: 8:54 AM

A 68-year-old sundry shop owner in Johor Baru has hanged himself after having complained, in the last two months, of having difficulty in dealing with the goods and services tax (GST) that was imposed on April 1.

This is the second such tragedy in the two months since GST was implemented, after that by a hardware shop owner who tried to kill himself three weeks ago after finding that he could not cope with the requirements of the new system that is operated online.

The newspaper China Press in its report today said Lim Tai Choon locked himself inside the shop before hanging himself.

The report said Lim had constantly complained to his family that he was not able to adapt with the GST system imposed on his sundry shop business and was very worried about his outlet being raided.

Lim was very stressed about his shop being closed down and despite advice from his family members, hanged himself. The shop has since been closed, his family members said.

Lim, they said, had met with a friend for a drink on Saturday and they lost contact with him later. The family discovered his body yesterday morning.

Lim, who started his sundry shop seven years ago, has been carrying a sullen face for the last two months and had told customers that he would soon end his business.

A fellow businessperson who knew him said Lim, who left behind a wife and three children, had claimed his wife's illness was the reason for his drastic decision.

No cash flow problems

Further, Lim did not look like having any cash flow problems for he only needed to pay a monthly rental of RM300, the businessperson said.

The suicide note left behind by Lim asked for his ashes to be scattered at sea, China Press reported.

The finance ministry has admitted that the implementation of GST has caused some businesses, especially those owned by the elderly, to close down.

"However, the GST is not the main reason why these businesses gulung tika r (close shop)," the ministry said in a written reply delivered to Parliament last Tuesday.

There have been reports of traditional businesses being forced to close down as the GST loomed, and some actually did during the two months of its implementation.

"These businesses were run by the elderly, by people who have no one to inherit their businesses and these were among the many factors that led to the closure of most of the businesses," the ministry said in reply to Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan), who asked how many business premises had closed down because of the GST.

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