BY EILEEN NG
DECEMBER 03, 2013
Pakatan Rakyat will roll out a nationwide anti-Goods and Services Tax (GST) campaign later this month, ahead of Putrajaya's move to implement the unpopular broad-based consumption tax in April 2015.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the "Faham GST, Tolak GST" (Understand GST, Reject GST) campaign will be launched on December 20 at the Kelab Sultan Selangor.
It will be attended by Pakatan leaders, including Anwar, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Anwar said a committee comprising PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli, DAP's publicity chief Tony Pua and Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad from PAS's Research Centre will come up with proposals on how the anti-consumption tax campaign will take off.
"A promise which is fundamentally flawed and cause hardship to the public must be rejected," he said in reference to the GST after chairing the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting.
In his budget speech, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced that GST will be implemented on April 1, 2015, at a rate of 6%.
Items that will be exempted from the GST are rice, flour, vegetable, sugar, fish, chicken, salt, cooking oil, eggs, beef, chicken, mutton, spices, cencaluk, budu and belacan.
Essential services such as public transport, financial services and education will also be exempted.
Putrajaya had come under fire from the opposition over the move to implement the consumption tax, with Pakatan lawmakers pointing out that Malaysia will still face bankruptcy if corruption and wastages are not addressed.
Anwar had previously criticised the move, describing it as a regressive tax which will contribute to income inequality and will widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
"GST can be the main cause of inflation," he had said, citing a study by CIMB Research that the implementation of the consumption tax will contribute to a 5% increase in inflation due to lack of stringent enforcement laws.
However, Putrajaya had defended its move to peg the GST at 6%, saying that not only will it strengthen the country's economy, but a slew of measures have been put in place to help the lower-income group.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said the lower-income group will not be burdened.
"The effect to this group is neutral," he had assured after the tabling of the Budget 2014 on October 25.
On another matter, Anwar said a committee comprising DAP's Dr Ong Kian Ming, PKR's Datuk Mansor Othman and PAS's Mohd Hatta Ramli will look into the country's electoral boundaries.
This followed a statement by former Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman who had said that three redelineation exercises were done to ensure Malays remained in power. - December 3, 2013.