Date of publication: Nov 1, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 019
Byline / Author: By Adie Suri Zulkefli; Adib Povera; Zahratulhayat Mat Arif
YAN: PAS will never agree to the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), says the party, contradicting opposition pact de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who acknowledged that it is an efficient taxation system.
Pas vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the pary would never agree to its implementation as it would cause "leakage", which runs counter to Anwar's remarks that GST could contribute greatly to economic growth.
Mahfuz, who is also state Pas commissioner and the party's election machinery director for the Sungai Limau by-election, said: "If the leakage is not addressed, it will create an ever bigger leakage. The government will collect between RM25 billion and RM27 billion and this a huge amount," he said at Pas' operation centre here yesterday.
However, when asked about Anwar's stand on GST, Mahfuz refused to comment, saying he had not yet discussed the issue with him.
Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, during a rally in Sungai Daun on Wednesday, criticised the tax, saying it would lead to high prices of goods.
But like Anwar, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali acknowledged that GST was a comprehensive tax system to encourage people to save.
Both Anwar and Azmin, however, insisted that the system should only be enforced after certain conditions had been met.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal urged voters to judge the opposition's ability to rule based on their disagreements on the issue.
"In Parliament, they (PKR leaders) said GST was good for the economy, but in Sungai Limau, Pas leaders said GST would squeeze the rakyat.
"This is the opposition for you. They are confusing the rakyat to fish for votes," he said after handing over RM5,000 in aid for house repairs from the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabitation Authority (Felcra) to 20 recipients at the Simpang Tiga Barisan Nasional operation room here yesterday.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said Anwar's acknowledgement that he agreed on the implementation of GST when he was finance minister in 1998, proved that opposition leaders were manipulating the issue.
"This also proves that the opposition claims that GST will burden the rakyat is nothing but a tactic to scare Sungai Limau voters from supporting Barisan Nasional."
Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang said the differences between PKR and Pas proved their inability to govern.
"They are sending conflicting messages to the people, especially voters in Sungai Limau, and this reflects contradicting policies in the opposition pact."