Tax online businesses: Malaysia’s PM to ASEAN members

Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the 34th Asean Summit (Plenary) in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday. (Bernama pic). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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BANGKOK, Jun 23, 2019, FMT. Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposed that Asean member nations introduce taxes on online businesses to increase their revenues, reported the Free Malaysia Today.

Mahathir said online businesses had “swallowed” conventional businesses.

Citing Amazon.com as an example, he said the online bookstore had caused the folding up of conventional bookstores.

“The online businesses which deal directly (with customers) have affected conventional stores which, in turn, reduce collection of business taxes.

“With online businesses, we don’t know who gains the profits (from tax collection),” he told Malaysian reporters after attending the 34th Asean Summit gala dinner here last evening.

Mahathir said he made that suggestion during a plenary session of the summit earlier yesterday.

He said that at present, only the origin country of the online businesses gained profits through taxes.

“We didn’t get anything. Therefore, I have suggested a few things so other countries can also receive part of the profit tax,” he said.

Mahathir said the plenary session also discussed other issues on Asean cooperation, including intra-Asean trade, which was still small in size.

“Therefore, something specific needs to be done to increase intra-Asean trade,” he said.

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