REASONABLE: It replaces sales and services tax and will be lowest in the region, says Wahid
PUTRAJAYA: MINISTER in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar dismissed the idea that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would burden the people because it would be replacing the sales and service tax and was not an additional tax as assumed by many.
"The rate, at six per cent, is reasonable and is the lowest among Asean countries, whereas the rates for countries like Thailand and Singapore are seven per cent."
He added Malaysians should not fear the implementation of the new tax structure as the impact on prices of goods was minimised, with some goods such as flour, sugar and rice as well as public transport services like bus and train fares, exempted from it.
In Kota Baru, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the GST was much needed to ensure the future stability of the country's economy.
"We have to look at the long term. We have to build the country's economic strength. If no action is taken now, it will be difficult for the government to introduce new things," he said, adding it was a fairer form of taxation that would also broaden the scope of the country's tax base.
"We cannot depend on Petronas alone. At present about 40 per cent of our income comes from oil and gas, which will deplete one day."
In Shah Alam, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said government leaders must be able to convincingly explain to the people what the GST was to ensure it was understood by everyone.
"The GST was implemented in other countries without any problem.
"What is important is the proper implementation and it must be properly explained to the people," said Abdullah, adding that acceptance of the new taxation scheme would be gradual.
He also congratulated his successor, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the 2014 Budget, saying he believed it would serve to reassure the people and steer the country towards a better and more stable economy.
Universiti Teknologi Mara Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Prof Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar described the 2014 Budget as an "intelligent" one, as it benefited everyone, with good allocations for education. Additional reporting by Koi Kye Lee