Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Finance Minister Who Can't Count

The 2nd Finance Minister tabled the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill yesterday. To justify the implementation of the Goods & Services Tax, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had claimed that “the rakyat will not be burdened under GST”:
  1. The household expenditure for the lowest income group will see savings of RM14.52 per year

  2. The highest income group will have RM346.92 savings.
At the same time for businesses, the Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni also stated that:
  1. Exporters would end up having tax savings of RM1.4 billion under the “zero-rated” system

  2. Impact studies showed that businesses overallstood to save RM4 billion in taxes under GST as professional services would be exempted.
However, despite the savings by the rakyat as well as businesses, the Government will still be able to increase its receipts from GST by more than RM1 billion compared to under the previous regime of Sales and Services Tax, which collected nearly RM12 billion from businesses alone.

The Minister's statements does not make sense just as money does not grow on trees.

If businesses will reduce tax contribution by RM5.4 billion as stated by the 2nd Finance Minister, while at the same time increase the collection of GST to more than RM13 billion, it can only mean that the additional RM6.4 billion must be collected from the rakyat!

The question then is, how is it that the Minister can come up with figures whereby both the lowest income group as well as the highest income group will enjoy savings?! The savings which will exceed RM6.4 billion for businesses is inevitably shifted to consumers, regardless of whether they are low wage workers, retirees, students or your average man in the street.

As such, the Pakatan Rakyat Anti-GST Taskforce will over the months of January to March when the parliament is not in session, undertake various measures to increase the awareness of the rakyat and receive feedback from various academics, industry experts as well as the public at large with regards to the Goods & Services Tax bill proposed by the Minister of Finance.

These measures will include:
  • convening Parliamentary Roundtable discussions with industry experts
  • convening a Parliamentary Caucus of Members of Parliament on GST
  • conduct nationwide forums at all state capitals and major cities nationwide
  • print information leaflets on GST for the public
  • setting up an information web site on the impact of the GST
  • setting up a public feedback email: NOtoGST@gmail.com
We seek public participation and assistance to carry out the above programmes and we look forward to hearing from the rakyat.
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