KUCHING (Sept 17): There is a dire need for the government to broaden the base and source of generating revenue in light of the country’s deficit being expected to be on the rise, said Datuk Jonathan Chai.
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sarawak (ACCCIS) secretary-general opined that the reintroduction of goods and services tax (GST) would be a pragmatic measure.
“The government needs to address the need to broaden the base and source of generating revenue because the deficit is expected to be on the rise, if there is no additional source of revenue to fund the expenditure.
“One of the pragmatic measures would be the reintroduction of GST for it is deemed to be a fairer taxation system adopted by over 100 nations globally,” he told The Borneo Post today when prompted for suggestions for the Budget 2024.
Chai asserted that the government should reintroduce GST with a moderate rate of between three and four per cent.
He said this should help keep the inflationary pressure under control if the government decides to reintroduce and reimplement GST.
“In addition, the mechanism or process of refund must be efficient and effective so that the cash flow of the businesses will not be unduly affected,” he said.
The business leader believed that an expansionary budget would be expected to be tabled next month.
He hoped to see an increased allocation for development expenditure under the coming Budget since more funds are needed for rural infrastructure and regional development.
“Unfortunately, emoluments will still take up a huge share of the government’s operational spending, so the question we have been asking year after year is whether it is possible to rationalise the size of our public sector.
“Intentional efforts and stern commitments from the government are required to address this long-standing issue so that our bloated civil service sector could be downsized to avoid unnecessary expenditure,” he said.
According to Chai, there has been speculation that the government would further review the minimum wage rate to RM1,800 or even RM2,000 per month.
“Whatever the revised rate may be, it is hoped that the government should come up with a one-to-one matching subsidy to the businesses for at least a year in order to mitigate the impacts on the rising costs of operation especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” he said.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is expected to table Budget 2024 in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 13.