The government is considering a proposal to include an additional letter ‘Z’ (signifying ‘zero-rated’) to the bar code on items from the pharmaceutical industry in order to facilitate the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said as the industry has over 3,000 zero-rated GST items, the Z in the bar code would identify whether an item is standard- or zero-rated.

Speaking at a press conference, he said the proposal was presented by the industry when he attended a roundtable discussion on Malaysia’s GST with the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Malaysian Customs here today.

On the RM1,000 e-Voucher for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to buy GST-compliant accounting software, Chua said some companies did not get the vouchers because the government’s allocation last year for the purpose had been fully used up.

“This year we are still in discussions over the provision of more e-Vouchers to encourage more companies to register as soon as possible, but it will still be on a first-come first-served basis.

“However, companies can still claim the RM1,000 that they have invested in the GST software through the Accelerated Capital Allowance,” he said.

Chua expressed hope that companies with annual turnover of RM500,000 or more that have not registered for the GST to do so before Feb 28 or face a minimum fine of RM15,000.

As of Feb 5, the number of GST-registered companies stood at 311,658.