What else to tax if not luxury goods, Anwar asks critics
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has defended his decision to propose a tax on luxury goods in Budget 2023 by pointedly asking critics where else the government should look to generate revenue.
Anwar then said some lawmakers appeared to be criticising the proposal just for the sake of doing so.
“I didn’t hear any of the MPs ask for stern action be taken against those who are ultra-rich. They just know how to ridicule us.
“Some MPs commented, why tax luxury goods. If (we) don’t tax the poor; don’t want the capital gains tax for the rich; don’t want to tax flour, wheat, and rice; don’t want to tax luxury begs and diamonds; then where do we collect (tax)?
“So, I suggested to tax luxury goods. Even that is disagreeable. I don’t know where they want to collect taxes and revenue if they become government,” Anwar told Parliament today during his winding up speech for Budget 2023.
On Tuesday, former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had urged the government to reconsider its plan to introduce a luxury goods tax.
Ismail Sabri, who is also Umno’s Bera MP, said the implementation of the tax could discourage foreign tourists who prefer to shop from coming to the country.
“I went to LHDN (Inland Revenue Board) I told them to collect tax from the mega rich, I don’t care if he is a Tun, or Tan Sri, if he needs to pay tax, he must pay tax,” Anwar added.
Under the revised Budget 2023, the government has proposed to introduce a luxury goods tax starting this year which covers, among others, luxury watches and luxury fashion items.