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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ibrahim Ali says Perkasa will back pro-GST rally

MAY 3, 2014
UPDATED: MAY 03, 2014 01:52 PM
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali suggested that a pro-GST
rally should be held to counter the May Day protest held earlier this week.
― Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 ― Datuk Ibrahim Ali suggested today that a pro-GST rally be held to counter the May Day protest held earlier this week, which he complained was organised to “confuse” Malaysians about the new consumption tax system.

The Perkasa president said the Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) and other chambers of commerce should host a mega gathering to “explain and support the implementation of GST”, Malaysiakini reported.

Ibrahim offered Perkasa's support for such an event, saying it would be for “the good of the people and the country”, the report said.

Thousands took to the streets of the capital on May 1 in conjunction with Workers Day to protest Putrajaya's bid to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) next April, arguing that the broad-based tax is “regressive” and takes a larger percentage of income from those in the low-income groups than from high-income groups.

The event, themed “GST — Protest till it is dropped", was attended by some 15,000 demonstrators according to official police estimates, and stayed mostly peaceful, unlike previous protests against government policies held here.

Under the sweltering afternoon heat and the watchful eyes of enforcement officials, protestors poured into the city garbed mostly in red, chanting and holding up placards that said “Bantah GST” (No GST).

They streamed in from the National Mosque, Dataran Maybank and KLCC to converge into a spectacular crowd beside Dataran Merdeka, they chanted “Reformasi” (Reformation), “Bersih, bersih” (Clean), and “Hidup rakyat” (Long live the people).

The event was organised by a coalition of 89 non-government organisations, including workers rights group, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) and student activist group, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM).

It was supported by federal opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (PR), whose leaders had mounted a campaign against the new tax system in the run-up to Election 2013 last May, insisting that the implementation tax must coincide with an increase in disposable income.

Despite their opposition, however, the GST Bill was passed through the Dewan Rakyat on April 7.

Thousands of Malaysian protesters turn up to protest against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in front of Dataran Merdeka, on May 1, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Yesterday, a day after the May Day protest, independent pollster Merdeka Center released its findings on a survey that showed 62 per cent of Malaysians are against the implementation of the consumption tax.

The research house also noted that comprehension of the GST is still low, with more than half of the respondents admitting that they do not know the workings of the tax, with less than a year before it will be implemented starting April 1 next year.

“A survey carried among voters in Peninsular Malaysia found that a majority (53 per cent) of them did not understand how the GST will work at present,” the pollster said in a statement here.

“At the same time, 62 per cent of respondents did not agree to the implementation of the GST, which indicates that despite not knowing the finer points of the consumption tax, many members of the public did not support its rollout.”

Of concern to authorities will be the poll’s findings that rejection was highest among lower income earners, particularly those who earn between RM1,000 and RM5,000 per month, where opposition was at 63 per cent.

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