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.”
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.
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.