KUALA LUMPUR Aug 28 Malaysia's government may
include a 4 percent goods and services tax (GST) in its upcoming
October budget to tackle a fiscal deficit that has widened to
14.9 billion ringgit ($4.5 billion), a local newspaper said on
The Malaysian Reserve newspaper quoted the Finance
Ministry's secretary general, Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah,
saying several economic reforms to bolster the country's fiscal
position were being discussed.
"I am not ruling out (GST), it is in the pipeline. But let
us wait for the budget. It is a whole package for everybody,"
Mohd Irwan was quoted as saying.
He added that the fiscal policy committee is exploring
several measures including rationalising subsidies and curbing
"These are some measures that are in the pipeline. The prime
minister will announce them in the coming days or in the
budget," he was quoted as saying.
The implementation of GST could help the country broaden its
tax base and reduce the government's reliance on dividends from
state oil company Petronas or Petroliam Nasional Bhd.
Malaysia runs relatively high government debt of 53 percent
of gross domestic product and one of Asia's highest household
Ratings agency Fitch cut its outlook on Malaysia's A-minus
sovereign debt to negative from stable in July, citing a lack of
reform to tackle rising debt.
($1 = 3.3285 Malaysian ringgit)
(Reporting By Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Eric Meijer)