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GST: Shabery Cheek Tackles Top-Up Issue

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PETALING JAYA: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek has been charged with settling once and for all the furore over GST on prepaid top-ups.

In an uncharacteristic, tersely-worded directive to the minister on Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “Please take charge of the top-up issue.”

He then added that only the minister may make any announcement on the matter.

Previously, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan was embroiled in an argument with the telecommunication companies and the opposition over the matter. Shabery quickly swung into action.

He tweeted a reply to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak: “Yes sir. I will meet with all parties to get the best (decision) for the rakyat and country.”

He then lived up to his word, scheduling a meeting last night with the telcos to thrash out the matter.

The outcome of the meeting is not known.

The Prime Minister’s directive came up after much conflicting announcements by the different agencies involved in the matter.

At a meeting early last month, the Customs Department had told the telcos to go back to the previous pricing of RM10 for the RM10 cards from May 1. The telcos had been charging RM10.60.

On Thursday, Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad issued a directive telling all telco companies to obey the directive and start charging the prepaid rates from yesterday as agreed.

However, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Datuk Seri Dr Halim Shafie said that they could not follow the directive.

He said it was “almost impossible“ for service providers to revert to the old pricing in two days because of complexities in reconfiguring the GST systems already in place.

Subsequently, Khazali insisted that telcos “must” comply with the directive, sparking the confusion over whether rates would fall on May 1. – The Star

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