PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Dental Association (MDA) has urged Putrajaya to exempt dental equipments and materials from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), or risk having more Malaysians suffering from oral diseases.
Its president Dr Teh Tat Beng said that this is because the implementation of the tax on the dental equipments meant there is an increase in the cost of dental checkups and healthcare on the patients.
“This could be more reason and possibility now for patients to shy away from visiting the dentists, which is already a concern even before the tax was implemented in April.
“The worrying part is that a lot of Malaysians actually have oral diseases, and the fact that GST actually increases the cost of visiting a dentist just makes matters worse,” he told theSun.
Dr Teh said that since the implementation of the tax, there has been a decrease in the numbers of patients paying a visit to dental clinics.
“I think this is not only for this industry but other industries and businesses as well,” he said.
He added that a GST Task Force Committee has been formed by MDA to deal with issues pertaining to the tax which was introduced in April.
“We have been working closely with the Oral Health Division, Health Ministry and Dental Traders to produce one single list of dental equipment and materials for GST exemption.
“The list had been submitted to the Tax Division of the Ministry of Finance at the end of March,” he said.
“MDA has also met with the Deputy Finance Minister to seek the government to zero rate all dental equipment and materials to keep dental healthcare affordable to the rakyat,” he added.
According to him, a data released by the Ministry of Health in 2013 showed that there are a total of 5,235 active dental practitioners in Malaysia, a considerably high figure compared to many other countries.