Posted on October 31, 2013, Thursday
PartiARTI Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Azmin Ali said the opposition had never rejected the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which the government wanted to implement.
Contrary to the tones of his other comrades-in-arms including Opposition chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he said the opposition stand was that GST was a transparent and efficient taxation system and capable of bringing good to the national economic system in the long run.
However, the Gombak member of parliament said Malaysia was seen as not ready to implement the new tax because more than 40 per cent of the people had household income of less than RM2,500 a month, with 80 per cent being Malays and Bumiputras.
“Obviously, if implemented, GST will squeeze the low income earners and the poor,” he said when debating the 2014 Supply Bill at Dewan Rakyat here yesterday.
He said, in the implementation of GST, attention should not only be given to the hardcore poor, but also groups with high debt burden, including young workers, newly-weds and those with many dependents.
In fact, Azmin noted, Fomca (Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations) reported that 47 per cent of young workers were burdened with very high debts while a study by the Consumer Education and Research Centre indicated that more than 30 per cent of the salaries of the young were used to settle debts.
These, he said, confirmed the overall burden and hardship of the young generation and the people.
Azmin also suggested that a broadbased and comprehensive taxation system be quickly formulated to replace the Sales and Services Tax (SST) which contributed seven per cent to the national income.
He argued that in the implementation of GST, the government should correct its philosophy and aim towards spurring the people into boosting savings, and not being extravagant in their spending.
“In short, GST is aimed at re-distributing or diversifying, and not increasing the tax burden…not with the objective of obtaining an income of RM27 billion,” he said.
Azmin said the government must take a leaf from developed nations which only implemented GST after their tax infrastructures were strong and income taxes were reduced to avoid burdening the people. — Bernama