KUCHING: Sarawakians are watching the performance of Pakatan Harapan (PH) which took over Putrajaya on May 9 and the fufillment of its election manifesto.
The first item in the coalition’s 100-day promise list is ‘Abolish the GST and take steps to reduce cost of living’.
Although the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been repealed, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth chief Michael Tiang said “it is not equivalent to reducing costs of living”.
“In PH’s manifesto and their election campaign, GST was propagated as the root of all evils that caused our cost of living to skyrocket.
“Thus the panacea PH offered to solve the people’s challenging costs of living was to abolish GST within the first 100 days of their new administration.
“This is a typical election propaganda that was made to mislead people as abolishing GST is not equivalent to reducing costs of living,” he said when asked to comment whether the PH government had fulfilled its 100-day promises since it was elected three months ago.
Tiang, who is a political secretary to the chief minister, said even when GST was pegged at zero, the costs of living are as challenging as before due to minimum wages, power tariffs, transportation costs, petrol prices, foreign currencies and other factors.
“The best indicator of the above is the prices in coffee shops which show no sign of dropping at all.”
With the reintroduction of Sales and Services Tax (SST), he said Sarawakians ‘are once again being gravely discriminated in respect of power tariffs’.
He said under the newly announced Service Tax Act, power consumption over RM180 in Sarawak is subject to six per cent service tax while in Peninsular Malaysia, the six per cent service tax will only be triggered when power consumption exceeds RM231.
He asked why Sarawakians are subjected to pay more service tax compared to their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia.
“What justifies such a difference in the service tax threshold? With the power tariffs now subject to the new service tax, there will surely be chain effects in costs of living with expected price hike in all fields.
“I used to say that Sarawak suffers the greatest loss with PH becoming the new federal government of the day.
“My above statement was proven even more accurate when we are approaching the 100th day of PH in power.”
On the PH’s 100-day promise to set up a special cabinet committee to enforce the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Tiang asked, “What is the point of setting up such a cabinet committee when both prime minister and the economic affairs minister are unilaterally altering the definition of oil royalty to oil profits?”
He said Sarawak government had been receiving its oil royalty in its 100 years of oil exploration but PH was attempting to change the definition of oil royalty in its first 100 days of ruling.
Tiang also pointed out that Sarawak has only four percent representation in the PH cabinet which shows that the new PH government has little respect for Sarawak as one of the three founding partners for the Federation of Malaysia.
“This is not an oversight, but a clear intent not to fulfill their promises for Sarawak people.
This also poses a question to Sarawak people on why PH government could have all the determination to abolish GST but they have none for recognising and enforcing Sarawak’s position in Malaysia,” he added.