KUALA LUMPUR: The DAP strongly disagrees with Prime Minister Najib Razak that Malaysia’s economy would be paralysed without the GST, said its secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng.
“GST is not the saviour of the country as Najib claims,” Lim claimed.
The prime minister will not take the bold step to remove GST to revive the economy, he said, stressing that unless GST is removed, the 2017 Budget will not have any significant impact on ordinary Malaysians.
“How can GST be the saviour of the economy when the people and businesses are suffering?” asked Lim, also the Penang chief minister.
He said the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the GST were not indispensable.
“It’s the cause of the economic slowdown and wage earners not being able to make ends meet.”
The DAP leader was taking his cue from the removal of cooking oil subsidies, which will see a litre of cooking oil increase by 40 sen and a 5-litre bottle by RM1.90.
“This increase in prices for a basic commodity will only add to the financial burden of the people,” cautioned Lim. “They are already hard hit by rising prices and poor business, caused by the imposition of GST.”
If not for the imposition of GST, he continued, the removal of cooking oil subsidies will not pose such a big problem for poor families.
However, he warned, the removal of cooking oil subsidies without removing GST, will only widen income inequality and make the poor worse off.
The adverse effects that GST has on the economy can be seen by the 30 per cent drop in GST collections for the second quarter of 2016, said Lim.
During the first quarter of 2016, GST collected amounted to RM10.2 billion while for the 2nd quarter, collection amounted to only RM7.1 billion, a 30 per cent drop of RM3.1 billion. Clearly business has dropped by 30 per cent, argued Lim.
“The prime minister and BN can deny all they want but the 30 per cent drop in GST collection is a reflection of the troubled economic situation,” said Lim.
Malaysians will not agree that GST is the saviour of the country’s economy, he reiterated. “They will seek the removal of GST to save the country’s economy.”