Malaysians taking advantage of sales tax holiday

Auto sector deemed main beneficiary of zero-rated GST as it offers buyers the largest savings

BY RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

Sales of big-ticket items such as cars, furniture and electronics have surged by as much as 30% as consumers take the opportunity to buy expensive items which have become a little cheaper after the zero-rating of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on June 1.

The public are taking advantage of the three-month sales tax holiday ahead of the implementation of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) in September.

Arturo Home Furnishing director Brendan Ho told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) sales of its furniture have jumped around 30% in June.

Ho said footfall traffic to the store increased between 30% and 50%, indicating consumers are getting more eager to spend.

“We anticipate our sales to increase around 50% during the tax- break period,” he said.

The tax holiday period, commencing from June to end-August before the SST is introduced, is also boosting car sales in the country.

In a recent report, Proton Holdings Bhd sales and marketing VP Abdul Rashid Musa told TMR car bookings and dealership visitations have risen 50% in the early weeks of June, attributing it to the new tax rate and Hari Raya Aidilfitri promotional campaign.

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia Sdn Bhd MD Erik Winter also projects sales to increase by 50%, taking cues from encouraging sales and bookings numbers since June 1.

Malaysia Retail Chain Association president Datuk Seri Garry Chua said the auto sector is the main beneficiary of the 6% reduction in consumption tax as it offers buyers the largest savings.

Auto companies have cut their vehicles’ prices by up to RM30,000.

Retail Group Malaysia MD Tan Hai Hsin said sales for the seasonal Hari Raya soared 30% higher following the GST cut.

He said big-ticket items like cars and white goods saw significant sales increases com- pared to daily necessities. “Even Singaporeans are buying more than usual,” Tan told TMR recently.

In the electronics and high-tech segment, Asus Malaysia country manager Leo Tseng told TMR the company’s sales have also increased by 30%, which is consistent with the current market trend.

“Users who were holding back purchases in May have started buying in June. Those who are thinking to buy in the fourth quarter (4Q) may decide to buy in 3Q, under the impression that prices could go up after the SST is introduced,” Tseng said.

Asus’ sales were boosted by its laptops such as A510 and UX331 series; FX504 models for gaming laptops; and ZenFone Max Pro (M1) in the smartphone range.

Canon Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd head of consumer imaging and information division Jeffrey Kung told TMR its sales climbed between 10% and 20% during the initial weeks of June.

“It was pretty good at the beginning of June, and then it cooled during Hari Raya and the school holidays. As we go along, we expect sales to improve 20%-30% during this period,” Kung said.

He said consumers have shown greater interest in its latest camera EOS M50 and G-Series printers.