In a joint statement by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (right), Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong and Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, they described Najib's speech on the 2013 Budget as perfecting “lying into an art form”.
“On one hand, Najib desires to assure the financial sector that the federal government has the means to continue to finance wastage and corruption without having to reform the crony-infested economic structure. On the other, he is fully aware that imposing a new and blanket consumption tax on a relatively poor population is a path full of challenges,” they said.
Referring to Najib's budget speech on Friday, the opposition MPs claimed it was riddled with coded signals over the impending GST's implementation.
Najib was quoted to have said a review of Malaysia's taxation system will continue to ensure the taxation system better reflects the household's financial position.
Pointing to paragraph 145 of the PM's speech, they said the government had indicated that the one per cent tax cut to those having an income of RM50,000 and below would eventually be paid back through the GST.
“In the transition process from the current tax system, based on income to a tax system that is fairer, the government proposes that individual income tax rate be reduced by one percentage point for each grouped annual income tax exceeding RM2,500 to RM50,000,” Najib was quoted saying in that paragraph.
Hence, the three Pakatan parliamentarians described the PM's tabling of the budget as a clear case of misleading the Parliament and hence the people it represents.
‘Double-speak bordering on lying’
Despite Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Deputy Minister Tan Lian Hoe having denied that the Small Retailer Transformation Programme (Tukar) is related to GST during the April parliamentary session, the three parliamentarians however pointed out the other side of the story.
They pointed out that on the ministry’s website, one of the Tukar’s objectives is to prepare retailers in implementing GST, hence they accused the ministry of “double-speak bordering on lying” and misleading the Parliament and people.
In rebuttal to the GST, they listed down the following three reasons:
- Without addressing systemic corruption and cronyism, the dovernment has no moral right to impose any new tax, whether it is GST or something else;
- By applying the GST, the middle class and poor disposable income will further be eroded.
- By imposing GST, the 60 percent of households with a monthly income of less than RM3,000 will get lesser than RM500 BRIM cash assistance.
It was originally expected to have been implemented by the middle of last year and to replace the sales and service tax.
In July, Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had said the government intended to educate the public first before proceeding with the second reading.