Malaysiakini News

Gov't mulls soda tax, Pua says low-income group need not drink Coke

Published:  |  Modified:

The government is mulling the implementation of new taxes, including a soda tax, according to DAP lawmaker Tony Pua.

However, Pua, who is the finance minister's special officer, said the move would not burden the low-income earners in the B40 group.

"For example, if we want to implement a soda tax, like a tax on Coca-Cola, it has two components.

"Firstly, it can generate some revenue for the government. It also does not burden the B40 group as they don't need to drink Coca-Cola.

"At the same time, we can also encourage a more healthy living," he was quoted as saying by TV3's Buletin Utama. 

Pua added that the government was studying various proposals of taxation to ensure that the most suitable one is implemented.

According to the report, the government is exploring the possibility of new taxes in order to cover the RM19.4 billion shortfall in GST refund.

"All (suggestions on taxation) is being scrutinised and reviewed to ensure we can implement the best proposal for the people," Pua was quoted as saying.

Previously, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had accused the Najib Abdul Razak administration of spending the money instead of refunding them to businesses within the statutory 14-day limit.

Putrajaya is expected to see a shortfall of RM21 billion in tax revenue following the abolition of the GST.

Lim had said the government can cope with the revenue shortfall due to higher oil prices as well as collecting more dividends from government-linked companies and cutbacks to government operational expenditure.

However, the Finance Ministry is now facing new challenges as it must also resolve the GST refund shortfall which the government has committed to repay to businesses next year.

Commenting on the issue, Umno lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin said he supported the implementation of a soda tax.

“I support a soda tax. But I don't think we should say who can or cannot consume soft drinks. Preferably everyone should minimise consumption of soft drinks,” he tweeted.

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