On 31st March 2016, Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation "celebrated" its first anniversary in Malaysia. There were a lot of write ups on GST implementations. Wong and Partners, a Member Firm of Baker & McKenzie International, for example highlighted some key facts and figures which it had "gleaned" from recent press statements by the Royal Malaysian Customs and Ministry of Finance:
(i) 406,000 companies have registered for GST as at March 2016 , (ii) GST collection for 2015 is said to have exceeded the initial target of RM 27 billion (total amount not finalised yet due to expected refunds); (iii) RM800 million GST refunds are still pending or being processed; (iv) Customs expects to raise RM39 billion from GST for 2016; and (v) 1,190 GST-related cases are being investigated by Customs as at 31 January 2016. In view of these interesting findings, the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) organizes a half day GST forum with the Royal Malaysian Customs (RMC), SME Corp and thirty representatives from the industries who were directly affected by the GST system. The main objectives of the forum was firstly to provide a useful platform for both regulators and practitioners to exchange ideas about GST implementation and to propose ideas for improvements. Since today's group has mainly involved SME companies, the forum also hopes to obtain first-hand feedback from manufacturing and service firms on prospects, challenges and issues related to GST Implementation by the SME industry. ARI plans to organise similar forums in all the states in Malaysia within the next three months. ARI thanks speakers Ms Annie Thomas from RMC and Mr Nik Mohd Zainul Kamarun from SME Corp.