PUTRAJAYA: The Customs Department has collected RM44 billion from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said this amount is RM3 billion higher than in 2016. "GST is a source of income where the government can continue to provide good initiatives for the people. "The BR1M (1Malaysia People's Aid) needs a sum of about RM6 billion a year, and if not because of the economic stability, we could not do this," Najib said during his speech at the 36th World Customs Day celebration held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here. Also present at the event was Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, Treasury Secretary General Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Customs Director General Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy. Najib said GST, which was first introduced on April 1, 2015 has balanced out the economic stability in Malaysia. Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said even if there is a drop in international oil prices, GST would help stabilise the economy. He said the government predicts that GST collection for 2018 will reach RM45 billion. "Although some labelled it as an unpopular move, but this is the step that the government has to take to ensure that we will not face an economic recession. "If there is no GST, I cannot guarantee that we can remain this way," Najib said. He also said the government has no plans to increase the current GST rate. Meanwhile, Najib also launched the Malaysia GST Compliance Assurance Program (MyGCAP) to enhance the risk management between businesses and Customs. Johari said a certified MyGCAP holder will enjoy special treatment in claims of refunds as well as renewal of schemes such as the Approved Trader Scheme (ATS). "MyGCAP aims to smoothen the transaction between Customs and companies when making claims. "Besides ensuring the company's good cash flow, it also enables the Customs to trace companies who manipulate their GST claims to make profit," Johari said.