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Anwar: I agree with GST but…

October 31, 2013

Anwar said the inadequate taxation system and the rakyat's low income were the reasons why he did not implement the GST when he was the finance minister in 1993.

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has made an about-turn when he admitted the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a good and efficient taxation system.

The Permatang Pauh MP acknowledged he was aware of the GST when he was deputy prime minister in 1993 (and also finance minister), via former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.

“I agree the GST system is efficient but I did not implement it…there was a reason why I did not implement it,” he said when delivering his keynote address at the 2014 Budget and GST Briefing in Parliament here.

According to Anwar, two aspects must be first looked at before the taxation system – which had long been in use in developed countries and neighbouring countries like Singapore and Indonesia – could be implemented in this country.

“We must ensure the income of the people is high and we must also ensure the nation has a good taxation structure,” he said.

He said it was these two factors that had resulted in the GST never being implemented when he was in the national administration.

During the briefing session organised by opposition members of parliament, two economists, namely, Dr Lim Kim-Hwa from Penang Institute and Azrul Azwar Ahmad from Institute Rakyat were invited to explain the GST, and make a comparison between the 2014 Budget submitted by Barisan Nasional and the opposition’s shadow budget.

The GST, at a rate of six per cent, was announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak during the tabling of the 2014 Budget last Friday, and will be implemented on April 1, 2015.

The tax will be exempted for basic items such as food, and its implementation will replace the sales and services tax which the people were currently paying.

-Bernama


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