BY HASBULLAH AWANG CHIK
NOVEMBER 01, 2013
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is being discussed in mosques too, with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) "promoting" the new tax in its Friday sermons, stressing that it will not burden the people and Muslims should support it.
The preacher also reminded Muslims that the duty to strengthen the economy of the community was entrusted by Allah and would be taken into account in the afterlife.
In his sermon titled "strengthening the community's economy", the faithful were also told that Budget 2014 would be implemented based on the Islamic spirit and the "al-adl wal ihsan" (justice and goodness) principle.
"Practice based on this principle will remind us that those who commit offences like monopolising wealth, misappropriations, injustice, and causing harm to others will face Allah's retribution.
"Be sure that mastering the Muslim economy is a priority in Islam and this is championed by leaders of this nation. Remember that neglecting the need to strengthen the economy will weaken the economic standing and dignity of Muslims and make it easy for others to exploit and colonise us," he said.
The preacher said the GST would enable the tax system to be administered more efficiently, effectively and fairly to avoid taxpayers from paying "hidden" and overlapping taxes while overcoming leakages and misappropriations, and urged the people to give their cooperation.
"This is all in-line with the country aiming to be a developed and high-income nation," he said, adding that GST was already implemented in a number of countries.
Prudent money management, he said, could save the people from blasphemy and infidelity, expressing confidence that the leaders would observe moderation to balance the short-term and long-term needs of the people to ensure continuous prosperity.
"Now is the time for Muslims to strengthern our economy.
"Do not wish for the moon and stars to fall on your laps and be enthralled by the false visions created by the enemy. Do not mock the genuine efforts of the government to champion the dignity of the community," he said.
Last Friday Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when announcing Budget 2014, said the 6% GST would be enforced starting April 2015, replacing the Sales and Services Tax, as a move to further strengthen the country's fiscal management and financial position.
To cushion the impact of the GST on low-income groups, Putrajaya announced that 7.9 million recipients were expected to benefit from the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) payments.
Households with a monthly income of RM3,000 and below would receive RM650, an increase of RM150 from the previous aid of RM500, while singles aged 21 and above who earn less than RM2,000 will get RM300, a RM50 increase from the previous RM250.
Meanwhile, individual income tax rates will be reduced by 1% to 3% to increase the disposable income of all taxpayers.
Basic food items like rice, sugar and flour; water supply, and government services, transport, tolls, education and medical services will be exempted from the GST.
The first 200 units of electricity supply for the domestic user is also GST-free each month. - November 1, 2013.