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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

GST – Gasak Sampai Tumbang

Selena Tay | April 9, 2014

GST should not be implemented because we are not ready for it.

The 6% Goods & Services Tax (GST) will come into force on April 1, 2015, as the GST Bill has just been passed into law in Parliament. We the ordinary rakyat are really fools if we agree to this form of taxation which will burn a hole in our pockets.

The Pakatan Rakyat MPs had protested vehemently against the passing of this bill but all to no avail.

Under the current system of SST (Sales & Service Tax), only a few items are being taxed. Mostly the taxes are incurred during hotel stays and certain restaurants. Under GST however, almost everything you can think of will be taxed whereas these things were tax-free previously.

Whatever you can put your thought to will be taxed, for instance, clothes, shoes, toothpaste, umbrella, bags, watches, furniture, spectacles, kitchenware, in short almost everything and anything under the sun will be taxed.

And GST is a consumption tax which does not differentiate between the rich and the poor. Everyone including the paupers will be taxed. And the rate of 6% is not small either. Why can’t the initial figure be 3% or 4% the most?

What makes it worst is that our GST is unlike the GST in UK. For example if a bag costs RM100, with GST it becomes RM106 here.

In UK however, if a bag costs 100 pounds sterling, it will still be 100 pounds sterling as the GST (in UK it is called VAT – Value Added Tax) is already incorporated into the 100 pounds sterling price which will then be the total price. This simply means that in Malaysia we need to pay more when GST is implemented.

And GST coming on top of the constant price hikes (due to the increase in petrol price and electricity tariffs), the poor will certainly become paupers while the low-income earner will become poor.

As it is now, our nation is undergoing a crisis. With the missing plane, kidnappings off the coast of Sabah and the current water ration, the confidence of the foreign tourists and the foreign investors may be shaken.

Even this columnist’s Australian businessman uncle who is staying in Desa Park City will be going back to Australia next year.

With less foreign tourists and less foreign investors, our people will have less job opportunities. So how will the poor cope with GST then?

The government has announced that GST will contribute RM27 billion into the nation’s coffers.

Now we would not mind contributing if the government spends wisely. But as those who are informed knows, the government is well-known to be spendthrift, not to mention wasting money through leakages and purchasing mark-ups as detailed in the annual Audit Report.

And that is the reason why those who are informed are against paying GST. It is because we know that the government is spending unwisely our hard-earned money.

May Day rally

It is also a sad but true fact that the government is not listening to the people.

The slogan of ‘People First’ has now been discarded because it has served its purpose.

The government will not listen to the people nor put the people’s priorities first as the next general election is only in four years time. Therefore the government is sitting pretty on the seat of power.

And that too is the reason why Pakatan Rakyat will be organising an anti-GST rally on Thursday, May 1 which is the Workers’ Day national holiday. The rally is planned to be held in the city centre but so far no concrete details as yet (although it is planned to be held at Dataran Merdeka).

Former Kuala Selangor PAS MP Dzulkefly Ahmad has referred to GST as ‘Gasak Sampai Tumbang’ meaning that the rakyat should oppose it until it is deferred indefinitely, saying that it is a regressive tax that will burden the poor and the low-income group.

He added that as Malaysia has yet to achieve the status of high-income nation, GST should not be implemented because we are not ready for it.

We the rakyat need to oppose policies that will burden us. Unless of course we like to carry burdens that come about due to the government’s mismanagement.

“To sum up, the government needs money and they want to dig into our pockets for funds. Therefore shouldn’t we stop them? Don’t forget that they have been spending the nation’s wealth recklessly by enriching cronies and a select few,” remarked Khalid Samad, the PAS Shah Alam MP.

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

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