MALAYSIANS have been flocking to car showrooms expecting to save thousands of ringgit on new buys, with the goods and services tax (GST) zero-rated starting today.

Several dealerships said there has been a steady build-up of people making enquiries since the Pakatan Harapan government, a week after coming to power, announced that it would zero-rate the tax.

“Many have been coming in to make enquiries and bookings.

“They are waiting for GST to be zero-rated before buying the cars,” said Cheah Yen Nee, a sales manager at a dealership in Petaling Jaya.

“We are giving them a 6% rebate now, but insurance companies are not. So, they are waiting.”

She expects customers to make a rush for new cars from today until August 31 to save thousands of ringgit.

There is a three-month “tax holiday” as the sales and services tax (SST) will be reintroduced only on September 1.

Cheah said with GST, a Toyota Camry would cost RM8,000 more, and if SST is implemented at a rate of 10%, it would cost RM12,000 more.

“People will definitely grab this opportunity. It is a difference of thousands of ringgit, “she told The Malaysian Insight.

She added that without GST, accounting work will be easier for the business.

“It’s auto debit for us. When we sell a car, we generate an invoice to pay GST accordingly every month.

“We didn’t have to do that with SST previously. The government referred to the excise (tax) and knew how much to charge.

“So, personally, I think calculations are easier without GST.”

Veena Soh, a sales manager at another dealership, said some clients were confused about the zero-rating of GST, thinking that they would not enjoy any more discounts.

“But, people mainly wanted to know if prices would drop. This is a new scenario for many.”

At another dealership, sales adviser Ibrahim Razip said its RM600 discount has attracted many buyers.

Sales of reconditioned imported cars could also experience a spike from today.

A dealership in Juru’s Auto-City, which sells recon luxury vehicles from Japan, has put up signs announcing rebates of between RM5,000 and RM50,000, depending on the model and duty paid.

Jason Tan, 40, a salesman at a recon car showroom in Seberang Prai, said while sales could pick up this month, recon car dealers’ business depends on stock availability.

“We have been getting many calls. People are interested because they will get to save RM7,000 to RM8,000. They want to buy and register the cars from June 1.

“But, our business is not the same as those selling brand-new cars that come out of the plant.

“Our business depends on whether we have the cars. If we have the supply, then we will enjoy a boom.”

The Finance Ministry recently said GST accounted for 20% of the government’s total revenue last year.

SST, before it was replaced, accounted for only 7.8% of the government’s revenue in 2014.