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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pakatan to explain anti-GST rally to cops next week

(From left) Nurul Izzah Anwar, Fuziah Salleh, Chua Tian Chang,
Datuk Saifuddin Nasution and Rafizi Ramli during a press conference
at Dynasty Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, on April 10, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders will meet the police next week to explain their involvement in the coming May Day rally against the impending implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), PKR’s Chua Tian Chang said today.

The party vice-president told The Malay Mail Online that he was summoned to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters this afternoon but decided against going as the matter should be discussed together with his comrades in PAS and the DAP.

“I cannot make any decision on my own. I would need to go (to Dang Wangi) with Mat Sabu,” he said, referring to PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu by the latter’s moniker.

Chua said, however, that the police confirmed they were only being summoned to explain their involvement in the NGO-organised rally planned for May 1.

“Nothing to do with an investigation, just to discuss the proceedings of the May 1 rally,” the Batu MP said.

He stressed that PR did not organise the rally, which is set to take place at Dataran Merdeka, but will offer its assistance by mobilising supporters for the event.

Chua said PR representatives, including himself, Mat Sabu and a DAP leader will meet with the police at 2.30pm next Monday to explain their involvement.

The anti-GST rally, organised by the opposition-backed Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), is to protest the government’s plan to introduce the GST next year.

Chua said the rally will provide a platform for low-income earners to raise their grouses over the increase in living costs and Putrajaya’s recent slew of subsidy cuts.

Since the end of the third quarter last year, Putrajaya has embarked on a round of subsidy cuts including a 10 per cent hike in petrol pump prices, and since January 1, electricity prices has gone up by 15 per cent.

Beginning next April, the current sales and services tax will be replaced by the controversial GST at a flat rate of 6 per cent.

The GST is a consumption tax, meaning all Malaysians will be taxed according to their level of spending, regardless of income. This differs from income tax that is only applicable after a certain salary level is exceeded.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has insisted that the move is necessary to rein in the government’s ballooning debt that is hovering just below the 55 per cent ceiling mark.

Putrajaya is expected to reap an extra RM22 billion from its implementation.

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