KUALA LUMPUR – The maintenance fees for residential stratified properties, namely people housing projects, apartments and condominiums will be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said.

He said the GST was supposed to be imposed on maintenance fees for residential stratified properties, but after deliberations, the government had decided that the charges should be exempted.

“The decision was made after taking into account that the maintenance services are not meant to make excessive profit,” he told reports after attending a briefing on the GST, the 2015 Budget and current issues for Lembah Pantai residents here today.

On restriction on businesses against raising profit margin for 15 months upon the GST implementation, Ahmad said manufacturers should reduce the consumption of imported goods in their products.

“They should give priority to local products. On the part of the government, we are striving to reduce imports of food such as rice, meat and fish,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced measures to intensify the promotions of ‘Buy Malaysia’ products and import substitution services to curtail price hike and ease the burden of the people.

Lembah Pantai Umno Division chief Datuk Seri Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin urged the government to be more considerate on businesses during the transition from the Sales and Services Tax to the GST for up to two years to enable them to adapt to the new accounting system.