KUCHING: Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing justifies the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“Prior to the introduction of GST, only 10 per cent of Malaysians paid tax. In short, it means only 10 people worked to feed the other 90.
“GST is based, in simple language, on the concept of ‘users pay principle’. You consume, you pay. But all basic food items which the poor need are GST-exempted.
“In this sense, the Malaysian government considers those in need. Therefore, I can’t understand why the opposition opposes the GST, unless they have a hidden political agenda of protecting the rich and the well-to-do,” he said in a texted message yesterday.
He was responding to political scientist Asso Prof Dr Jeniri Amir, who recently said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem could not run away from the impact of GST, given that the state BN government is part of the federal government.
Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak president and Minister of Land Development, said GST “broadens our tax base.”
“All those who earn pay tax. Tax-earned revenue is to develop this country. What’s wrong with that?”
He suggested that people should ask whether the government used the money wisely. “We shouldn’t question the system. We can question the implementers or the government. I’m disappointed that institutions of higher learning question GST.
“They should know better. The so-called anti-GST sentiment in rural areas is based on wrong perception expanded by the opposition and implemented by unscrupulous traders.”
According to Masing, when rural folk buys goods, the (rogue) trader lumps everything inclusive of GST-exempted goods and apply GST under one bill.
“If the buyer asks why the goods are so expensive, the unscrupulous trader says ‘GST lah’. So who do you blame – the government or the trader?
“I have seen and witnessed the happenings in rural towns where rural folks are cheated in the name of GST,” he said.
However, what Jeniri pointed out on Thursday was that the state government could not run away from what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had done in Putrajaya.
“Whatever Najib did at the federal level, you (Adenan) need to be accountable for it, because you have seven (full cabinet) ministers from Sarawak. What are they (the seven ministers) doing? What did they do? If they disagree with that (GST), they have to counter the course,” said the Dean of Social Science Faculty of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
Jeniri said this after being asked for his take on Adenan’s open statement that his hands were tied when it came to GST.