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Friday, November 1, 2013

Anwar makes about-turn, admits GST efficient

OCTOBER 30, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 ― Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today made an about-turn when he admitted the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a good and efficient taxation system.

The Permatang Pauh member of parliament acknowledged he was aware of the GST when he was deputy prime minister in 1993 (and also finance minister), via former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.

“I agree the GST system is efficient but I did not implement it...there was a reason why I did not implement it,” he said when delivering his keynote address at the 2014 Budget and GST Briefing in Parliament here.

According to Anwar, two aspects must be first looked at, before the taxation system ― which had long been in use in developed countries and neighbouring countries like Singapore and Indonesia ― could be implemented in this country. 

“We must ensure the income of the people is high and we must also ensure the nation has a good taxation structure,” he said clarifying that the two factors had resulted in the GST never being implemented when he was in the national administration.

During the briefing session organised by opposition members of parliament, two economists, namely, Dr Lim Kim-Hua from Penang Institute and Azrul Azwar Ahmad from Institute Rakyat were invited to explain the GST, and make a comparison between the 2014 Budget submitted by Barisan Nasional and the opposition’s shadow budget.

The GST, at a rate of six per cent, was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the tabling of the 2014 Budget last Friday, and will be implemented on April 1, 2015.

The tax will be exempted for basic items such as food, and its implementation will replace the sales and services tax which the people were currently paying. ― Bernama

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