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Water & Sanitation

Malaysia Finally Lifts 'Tampon Tax' on Menstrual Hygiene Products

Why Global Citizens Should Care

Taxing menstrual products makes them less affordable and accessible, especially for low-income consumers. Girls all around the world are dropping out of school because they lack the ability to manage their periods. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.


At last, Malaysia has officially said goodbye to the tax on menstrual hygiene products. 

Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy, deputy director-general of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, shared the good news Thursday in a media briefing, according to the Star

More than 15 million women living in the country have reason to celebrate the lift, which was first announced on June 1. Despite being necessities, menstrual products were treated as luxury items in the country and fell in the “beauty and health products” category, making them subject to the goods and services tax at 6%. 

The Customs Department site confirms tampons, sanitary pads, and panty liners will no longer be taxed the standard sales and service tax of 5% or 10% either. Now, they’re classified as “miscellaneous manufactured articles.” 

Take Action: Prioritizing Menstrual Hygiene Management is Key to Ensuring Girls Can Stay in School

Previously, only 545 general goods were exempted from the sales and service tax. Sanitary products will join a much larger list of 5,443 tax-free general goods in the country, including pantry staples like bread and transportation vehicles.

Read More: Scotland Is the First Country to Offer Free Sanitary Products to All Students

When the Malaysian government first mandated the goods and services tax in 2015, it sparked outrage. As a result, an online petition emerged and gathered 14,000 signatures to put pressure on the Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry to exempt menstrual products. 

Malaysia was far from the only country plagued by the tampon tax, which falls under a form of gender-based discrimination often known as the “pink tax,” named for the marketing of the color pink toward women. 

India, for example, only lost its high tampon tax back in June, and Australia’s Senate passed a bill to get rid of the tax that same month (though it still needs to pass the House). On Aug. 24, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer sanitary products to all students. 

Keep the menstrual product victories coming.