Telcos and GST

Malaysian prepaid users to get GST rebates starting 1 January 2016

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If you’re a mobile prepaid customer and are a Malaysian national, you can breathe a little sigh of relief. Declared as part of the Government’s Budget 2016 announcement in October, our telcos will be delivering rebates to you individually, starting 1 January till 31 December 2016.

The prepaid rebate was one of the (few) key highlights in the tech segment as part of the much-talked about Budget 2016. The rebate mechanism wasn’t revealed then, although it was clear that prepaid cards themselves would revert to the original price. This means that if you’re buying a MYR10 prepaid reload, it will cost you MYR10. No more, no less. There is no 6% surcharge.

6% more or less

So here’s how it actually works now. When you top up MYR10, you will get MYR9.43, after a 6% GST deduction. However, you will receive a rebate of MYR0.57 within 24 hours.

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It is a little silly, I know. The GST that you’ve paid is then remitted to Customs according to GST Law and guidelines for all goods and services consumed. A slight about turn but you stand to lose nothing.

The only requirement is that you’re a Malaysian citizen with a valid NRIC or police/army identification, registered to the prepaid number.

Although a technicality, it can be a little tricky if you subscribe to value-added services, e.g. data plan. For instance, if you reload MYR30 and a particular data plan costs MYR30, you will not be able to subscribe to this immediately since the prepaid value will be 6% less. Instead, you will need to either reload an additional MYR10 or wait 24 hours before you subscribe.

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It’s inconvenient, and will take a little planning on your part to workaround this.

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Telcos cooperate

The telcos have been caught in the middle of the GST uncertainty but have gracefully thrown in goodies and bonuses to its customers to ‘soften the blow.’ Digi, Celcom’s Xpax and Tune Talk offer bonus airtime and data for every reload (valid till 31 December 2015).

In a nutshell, telco services like phone calls, SMS, mobile service and data are GST chargeable, while international roaming including data usage charges are zero-rated.

Postpaid mobile services are not exempted from GST.

In October, the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA) is still adamant that GST on mobile prepaid cards should be abolished completely. National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) also thinks that all ICT product and services should be zero-rated.

Need more info on the GST implementation for prepaid? Head over to



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