KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Traders who fail to pay the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be blacklisted from going abroad, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department has said.
Customs director-general Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy said 7,143 traders are currently blacklisted for failing to pass on the consumption tax collected from consumers to his department, adding that the Immigration Department has barred them from travel at all exit points of the country.
Traders who have yet to clear off the GST amount owed should visit Customs offices before going abroad to check if they have been blacklisted, he said.
"If the trader has cleared off the GST, the Customs Department will immediately request for the Immigration Department to remove the particular trader's name from the blacklist," he was quoted saying by local daily Sin Chew Daily in its evening edition yesterday.
According to Sin Chew Daily, the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah had complained that the government's travel ban on traders suspected of defaulting on GST without prior notice had prompted disapproval from traders.
On Sunday, a Sarawakian businessman had reportedly said that he only found out an hour before his flight about the travel ban on him over overdue GST, adding that the Customs officers at the airport were however unable to tell him the amount owed for him to immediately clear it.
Despite paying the outstanding amount of RM2,739.04 on the same day after checking with his company directors, he said he was still disallowed from flying as the travel ban could allegedly only be lifted if clearance from Putrajaya has been obtained.
Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said his department will follow instructions from other agencies and even court orders when imposing the travel ban on Malaysians.
"The Immigration Department does not differentiate what tax it is, if someone defaults on national tax revenue, whether it is personal income tax, corporate tax or GST, as long as the relevant body requests Immigration Department to impose restrictions, Immigration Department will implement according to instructions," he was quoted saying by Sin Chew Daily.
He said those currently barred from exiting the country were mostly those who were bankrupt, who have yet to settle their taxes owed to the Inland Revenue Board or had defaulted on the federal government's higher education study loan.
In a written parliamentary reply on April 3 to Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, the Home Ministry said 622,768 individuals have been blacklisted from going abroad during the 2010 to 2017 period.
The ministry had then said the blacklisted cases involved various government agencies such as the Inland Revenue Board, the Malaysia Department of Insolvency, Employees' Provident Fund, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police, the Customs Department and Bank Negara Malaysia.
Under the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014's Section 49, the Customs and Excise director-general may issue a notice to the Immigration director to ask that a person be barred from leaving the country, if he believes the person will leave without paying taxes due.
While the same Section 49 states that the Customs director-general shall cause the notice to be served personally on or to be sent via registered post to the affected person, it said all actions taken under this provision would still remain valid even if the affected person did not receive notice.
Among other things, the provision said that a written statement by the Customs director-general stating that the overdue tax has been paid would be "sufficient authority" to allow the affected individual to leave Malaysia.