Last Saturday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared that he was not making any promises in his bid for the Langkawi parliamentary seat.
At first glance, it seems crazy that a man who went all around the peninsula promising to do away with GST has nothing to offer the people of Langkawi.
But it stops sounding weird the minute you consider that Langkawi is exempt from the taxation system.
That, in a nutshell, is among the reasons why Mahathir refuses to promise anything – he simply does not have anything to offer that people in Langkawi don’t already enjoy!
THE THIRD FORCE
Last Saturday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad gallantly declared that he was not making any promises in his bid for the Langkawi parliamentary seat. According to him, his past contributions in developing the archipelago district was a track record that could speak for itself. Had that been someone else doing the talking, the journo guys would probably have given him (or her) the miss as the nomination-day clutter was already thick with incidents.
But it was Mahathir.
Yes Mahathir, the man who’s been going on and on about the burdens of GST and why it needed abolishing. Yes Mahathir, the guy who stood from the gutter criticizing Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak for “selling the country to China.” At first glance, it seems crazy that a man who went all around the peninsula promising heaven and earth has zilch to offer the people of Langkawi. But then, when you think about it, there is absolutely nothing – and I mean nothing – that the grand old man could possibly offer that Langkawi folk don’t already enjoy.
A simple review of the “Guide on Designated Area” by the Royal Malaysian Customs (follow link below) will reveal special provisions under Part XIV of the GST Act 2014, provisions designed to “maintain the duty free status” of Langkawi. In simple terms, people in the archipelago district are in no way affected by the government’s decision to implement GST, meaning, the opposition-pact’s rallying cries on the taxation system simply do not have any impact on them.
That, in a nutshell, is why Mahathir decided not to promise anything during his campaign trails. He knows that people in Langkawi have no quarrel with the current administration and are quite pleased with Najib’s leadership. As far as they can tell, the Prime Minister’s willingness to open the country’s doors wider to China triggered a mass influx of tourists seeking duty free shopping. Business owners are extremely skeptical that Mahathir is willing to leave those doors open in the event he’s brought back to power.
These remarks and others like them are scaring the bejeezus out of them. They’re wary that a change in the country’s leadership may result in a mass exodus of Chinese tourists given Mahathir’s distaste for China. If intel from the ground is anything to go by, a majority of islanders are convinced that the former premier will set the archipelago district some years back as tourist arrivals see a sharp decline.
Now do you understand why Mahathir is unlikely to win the Langkawi contest?