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Friday, November 1, 2013

Mixed reviews on GST

Published: Friday November 1, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM 
Updated: Friday November 1, 2013 MYT 8:34:57 AM

Rahimah: The Government is like a large corporation where it needs
money for operating expenditure.
JOHOR BARU: StarMetro took to the streets of Johor to get some reaction and feedback on Budget 2014.

Many interviewed expressed their worries especially on the government’s plans to introduce the goods and services tax (GST) and also the drastic increase in sugar prices.

Businessman David Chong, 59, said that the Government should study the far reaching implication of the GST before starting it at 6%.

“When I was in Singapore in the 1990s, they had introduced the GST at 3%, there was an immediate increase in food prices and services.

“My mixed rice jumped from S$2.50 (RM6.25) to S$3.50 (RM8.75) while even haircuts increase S$7 (RM17.50) to S$9 (RM22.50),” he said.

Chan: The building 223,000 affordable houses was good news for
people who are looking to buy.
Chong added that the government should be mindful that people would take advantage and hike up prices of everything.

“The government should also take heed of the Auditor-General’s report and reduce wastages of public funds and use the savings to bring down the GST to 3%,” he suggested.

An executive with a regulatory authority Muhamad Saidan Sanib, 29, said that the removal of sugar subsidy of 35 sen was unlikely to reduce the number of diabetics in the country.

He said that it was up to individuals to reduce sugar intake in their diet and no matter how hard the Government want Malaysians to take less sugar; those with sweet tooth would not really heed the advice.

“It is like asking hardcore smokers to quit smoking. They will still smoke even if the prices of cigarettes go up,’’ said Muhamad Saidan.

Mohamed Salleh: The budget was fair and just as it takes into consideration
of the needs of the whole community.
He said the removal of the sugar subsidy would have the multiplier effect as this would increase prices of food because sugar was used in many items.

Muhamad welcomed the reduction of the individual income tax rates by 1% to 3% for all taxpayers as it would result in surplus income for them.

“The rate might be small to some people, but to taxpayers like me, it is something to cheer on,’’ he said.

Legal firm clerk Noorshahilah Mohd Shari, 28, said the Government must make sure that only those eligible for the affordable houses would get them.

The Federal Government had announced that it would build 223,000 units of affordable houses nationwide next year under Budget 2014.

Muhamad Saidan: The removal of sugar subsidy is unlikely to reduce
the number of diabetics in Malaysia.
“The allocation of the affordable houses must be done in a transparent manner to avoid those already owning houses to get them,” she said.

Noorshahilah said most of the time, eligible affordable house buyers were deprived from owning the houses as the units went to others, and in return they lease the units to generate income.

She said implementation of the higher Real Property Gains Tax was also a good move as it would help to stabilise house prices and assist young adults like her to own their first house.

Catering company proprietor Rahimah Paker Mohd, 57, said it was not easy to please everybody when it comes to tabling the national budget.

She said the Government had done its best over the years to provide the best for the rakyat, including infrastructure, healthcare and education.

“If it is good for us why not accept it ... do not politicise the issue such as GST for your own political mileage,’’ said Rahimah.

Noorshah ilah: Hopes only eligible house buyers will get the affordable houses.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who is also the Finance Minister said the GST has been fixed at 6% and will take place effective April 1, 2015.

She said running a Government was like running a big company, it needed revenue for operating expenditure and also money to be channelled back to the rakyat as a social responsibility.

Store supervisor S. Perumal, 40, said that the abolishing of sugar subsidy would surely add burden to the people especially the poorer families.

“Middle-income earners have no problems paying more for their drinks at coffee shops but for those who cannot afford, will surely feel the pinch in the long run.

“Some coffee shops and even mamak restaurants have already started taking advantage of the situation and charging 30 sen more for each glass of drink,” he said.

Businessman Lok Jong Chuan, 29, said that he feels worried that the people’s spending power might decrease due to the rising cost of living.

“I’m afraid that there might be a domino effect and slowly companies will resort to retrenchment and the unemployment rate might go up,” he said.

Lok added that it was not healthy for the country’s finance to lower the income tax rate according to the Budget 2014 and offer a higher Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia to the people as it might increase the country’s debts.

Self-employed Chan Keng Fai, 25, said that the Prime Minister’s announcement of building 223,000 of affordable houses was good news for people who are looking to buy.

“However, I am worried that developers will hike up the price to attract foreign buyers and the locals are left out again,” he said.

Meanwhile in Batu Pahat, Mohamed Salleh Pandak gave a thumb’s up to the budget saying that it was a fair and just budget as it took into consideration of the needs of the whole community.

The Chieftan of Mukim 8 Sri Gading said a new tax system such as Good and Services Tax (GST) was needed to help the country to generate income, as it was moving towards a high-income nation.

“It will help the middle and lower income group people and I believe it is a good system that will stabilise the country’s economy,” he said during an interview.

Mohamed Salleh said it was important for a country to have enough reserve funds to ensure the country’s ability to cope with any economic recession.

He also praised the government on emphasising in the aspects of national security, education and welfare of the people.

“This will enhance the harmony of society and improve the human capital in the country,” he said, adding that financial aid such as 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) should continue as it helps to reduce the people’s burden.

Meanwhile, R. Rajam, 48, a mother of two teenage children, said the reduce of sugar subsidy would not affect the household expenditure much, she was more worried about the GST implementation.

“We are unsure how the GST will affect us especially those from the middle and low income group, however, reducing income tax is a good and positive move towards us,” she said.

Rajam, who is working with a private company in town, said due to the recent petrol price increased, she was hoping to see a reduction in toll charges.

Retired soldier Azraai Md Amin, 65, said he has confident with the Prime Minister and the government handling the country’s economy with its newly tabled budget.

“Although there are some concern about the price increase, we have to look at the government’s plan more objectively and openly.

“We feel we are not getting the best, but there are many countries who are suffering and struggling,” he said.

Another retired soldier Baharom Sinar, 67, said he was happy to see BR1M and school cash aid included in the budget.

“It will definitely helps a lot especially those from the poor family,” he added.

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