BY MELISSA CHI
DECEMBER 20, 2013
UPDATED: DECEMBER 21, 2013 07:05 AM
|Datuk Seri Anwar and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang arriving at a meeting with |
other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders before the 'Faham GST, Tolak GST'
rally at the Sultan Sulaiman Club, Kg Baru today. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders called on Datuk Seri Najib Razak today to convene an emergency Parliament sitting in January so lawmakers could discuss the purported sale of the country’s assets by Putrajaya to cut Malaysia’s growing deficit.
The three-party opposition bloc’s de facto chief, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said the issue was important but had not been raised during the Budget debate at the Dewan Rakyat session that ended earlier this month.
“What are the country’s assets that were sold?” he asked.
He quickly added: “And the excuse given was to reduce deficit just by selling the country’s asset. This is a very worrying and dangerous revelation in the context of our country’s economy.”
The Permatang Pauh MP also said that the opposition lawmakers wanted a chance to debate Malaysia’s sliding standard of education, as shown in the deteriorating global test results for math and science subjects of the country’s 15-year-olds, that was also supported by a recent World Bank report.
“We hope the prime minister will give parliamentarians the chance to debate on these issues as well as on the sudden price hike in petrol, sugar, electric [sic] tariff, toll, assessment rates, public transportation, as well as school bus fees and these issues that would impact the people should be debated,” he told reporters after chairing a meeting here with his PR allies, before moving on to speak at the “Faham GST, Tolak GST [Understand GST, Reject GST]” rally on the grounds of the Sultan Sulaiman Club.
The DAP’s adviser Lim Kit Siang, who was also present, stressed the importance of having the emergency session, saying the country is facing “double crises”.
“We are facing double crises — [an] economic crisis and an educational crisis, and this must be courageously faced, which the government has failed to do,” the Gelang Patah MP said.
At the ensuing rally to protest the government’s plan to roll out a consumption tax in April 2015, turnout was low with only some 200 people showing up.
|A Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporter at the 'Faham GST, |
Tolak GST' rally at the Sulaiman Club, Kampung Baru.
PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang, played down the small attendance score, saying the crowd size did not necessarily reflect on the seriousness of the issue.
“I’m sure the people are slowly feeling the impact.
“Today is the launching, it is not a mass rally, it is also an opportunity for us to introduce the issues, leading toward a whole year of mobilisation in the coming year leading to the eventual implementation of the GST,” the Batu MP said.
PKR’s strategic director Rafizi Ramli, chipped in and said there will be briefing sessions on the new tax system as well as rallies throughout the country.