Khalid, however, rapped Wong for the remark, by saying that under the SST, many traders had evaded taxes, while the implementation of the GST had enabled tax to be collected transparently and returned to the people
KUALA LUMPUR: No country has ever revoked the Goods and Services Tax after implementing it, hence proves that the implementation of the taxation system is relevant to the country’s economic development.
As such, Johor Bahru Member of Parliament (MP) Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said focus should be given to determine how the revenue from the GST could be returned to the people and how to maintain the rate for certain period of time.
“If the opposition wants to question about the GST, about the revenue and the numbers to the extent of rejecting the system in their Alternative Budget, then how come 160 other countries deemed to have more matured politics decided to maintain the GST.
“In fact, their opposition parties had never called for the revocation of the GST, but instead they keep debating on how the revenue collected should be distributed and the rate maintained,” he said when appearing as a panelist in the special ‘Bicara Bajet 2018’ programme on TV1 tonight.
The programme hosted by Datuk Dahlan Maamor also featured two other panelists, namely Bandar Tun Razak MP (Independent) Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, who is also former Selangor Menteri Besar, and Kelana Jaya MP of PKR, Wong Chen, who discussed the national Budget 2018 and the Pakatan Harapan’s Alternative Budget tabled recently.
Shahrir said unlike in other countries, the implementation of the GST in Malaysia was deemed fair and non-burdening as it also provided tax exemptions to certain goods and services.
He said the government had also improved the GST in the Budget 2018 by proposing tax exemption for services rendered by local authorities.
“This shows that the GST implemented in the country follows our own development mould and with the many exemptions given, it is not burdening the people,” he said.
Shahrir’s view was seconded by Khalid who described the implementation of the GST was reasonable as it was also implemented in over 100 other countries and that it was also a reasonable method to increase the national income.
He said this was because the GST was able to collect tax in a comprehensive manner as other taxes might have problems in terms of collection and would probably involve certain tax payers only.
“In Indonesia, for example, there are 260 million people but only 20 per cent are paying the income tax, so they lost a lot there. The same goes with Malaysia, there are companies that evade taxes, so the most suitable mechanism is by implementing the GST,” he said.
However, Khalid said the implementation of the GST was seen to have reduced the rate of income tax when the government decided to offer various perks for the low- and middle income earners.
“Although many people say that the GST is wrong and unfair to the poor, the truth is that the rich people are paying more because they buy more goods and services, while for the poor, the government had taken care of their welfare by returning the tax revenue to them through various methods. So, I think the GST should not be discussed again except on how the revenue should be spent,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wong repeated the opposition’s proposed budget to revive the Sales and Services Tax (SST), saying that it would not burden the people as a tax collection of RM17 billion was projected compared to RM43 billion under the GST.
“I disagree that the SST is worse (than GST) because according to data, the GST will take RM43 billion of the next year’s revenue, while the SST will take RM17 billion the most. And over the past three years of its implementation, there are no other tax exemptions given,” he said.
Khalid, however, rapped Wong for the remark, by saying that under the SST, many traders had evaded taxes, while the implementation of the GST had enabled tax to be collected transparently and returned to the people.
Shahrir also said that the SST was more complicated, and that the government would continue improving the GST from time to time.
“We are confident that the government will continue to ensure that the revenue from the GST will be returned to the people in the form of subsidies,” he added.