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With rumours of 0% GST, opposition questions rationale

 | October 24, 2017

Amanah's Dzulkefly Ahmad asks Prime Minister Najib Razak if it is temporary respite in Budget 2018 in view of the general election.

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PETALING JAYA: Amid rumours circulating that Budget 2018 to be tabled on Friday would see Prime Minister Najib Razak “zerorising” the GST, the opposition has questioned his motive should the rumour be true.

“May l ask you why you have decided to do it now, that is, for Budget 2018, which is the mandatory election year for the next general election?” Parti Amanah Negara’s Dzulkefly Ahmad asked Najib in a statement today.

The Amanah strategy director also questioned the government on why they were only “zerorising” and not abolishing the GST altogether.

“Do you intend to hoodwink the rakyat, that is the voters, to mandate you and the Barisan Nasional, and later reintroduce the GST, once you’re back in Putrajaya?”

Calling out Najib on previous comments made in support of the GST, Dzulkefly said it was hard to understand the rationale for any such move now.

“Didn’t you say the GST was the saviour of the economy? Didn’t you say we needed a broad-based tax, with global oil prices being erratic or unreliable?

“So, if you believe you’re able to manage the economy without the GST, why didn’t you think of it earlier?” he asked.

The current GST of 6% was implemented on April 1, 2015. The prime minister made the announcement about the GST in his Budget 2014 speech in October 2013, saying the authorities were giving businesses 15 months to prepare for the tax on goods and services.

Najib was previously reported to have declared that the GST would generate RM42 billion in revenue for the country this year alone.

“Why have you subjected the rakyat to this inflationary pressure of almost 3.7% for the full year and at its worst 5.1% in March this year?

“Were you oblivious to the burden and sufferings of the rakyat and in fact being aloof towards the rakyat you claimed to champion?” Dzulkefly asked.

He suggested that Najib, who is also finance minister, had been informed about Pakatan Harapan’s Budget 2018 that proposes to abolish the GST and reinstate the sales and services tax (SST).

Dzulkefly said the coalition’s budget proposal had however, been thought through taking into account the GST being abolished.

“While the Pakatan Harapan budget is clear and conscious of our revenue to cover for the shortfall once the GST is no longer in place, may we ask you as to how you could achieve that?” he challenged Najib.

Dzulkefly said any move to zerorise the GST would ultimately vindicate the opposition coalition, civil society organisations, NGOs and opposition supporters who had campaigned against the burden the consumption tax would be to the people.


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