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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Budget 2014: Consumer NGO hails GST and sugar subsidy removal

Published: Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM 
Updated: Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 7:48:37 AM

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Consumer Pro­tection Association president K. Koris Atan welcomes the Government’s move to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to replace the current 10% sales tax and 6% service tax.

“With its implementation on April 1, 2015, we will have a preparation period of about two years,” he said.

“It also means that we do not have to pay the 10% and 6% taxes anymore, which actually counts as a lot,” Koris said.

“However, we do not know when the Government will do away with the sales and service taxes.”

The Government has announced the implementation of the GST at a rate of 6%, the lowest in Asean.

Koris hoped that manufacturers and traders would exercise their social responsibility by not raising the prices of their products after the sales and service taxes had been abolished.

“At the end of the day, consumers should not be burdened,” he said.

Koris also praised the Government’s initiative to appoint a special committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary, to take stern action against errant civil servants cited in the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report.

“All the investigations should be done and dusted within six months, and those responsible for the mismanagement of funds should be punished or brought to justice by then,” he said.

Koris also welcomed the Government’s decision to abolish the 34-sen sugar subsidy from today.

“I personally think that sugar is poison,” he said. “Hopefully through this subsidy, people will be more aware of their health and the number of diabetic patients will decrease.”

However, he was surprised that no pay adjustment was given to civil servants, especially those in critical positions like police, firemen and doctors.

“If the Government wants to retain the services of doctors in general hospitals, they should at least be paid on the same par, if not more, than those in the private sector,” he said.

“The same applies to the police because if they want to combat corruption, they must at least pay the police well,” he said.

Koris also said there should be more allocation for reforestation efforts throughout the country in view of the excessive logging being carried out.

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