GST – A ‘Back-Door Listing’ to a Developed Nation Status!

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad

The implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) is a means of placing the country’s economy at a level that is at par with those of developed nations, said Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.

A colleague of mine almost fell off his chair laughing when I told him that yesterday. He couldn’t believe it that it came from the second Finance Minister. Yes indeed, one of the darnest thing said of Malaysian Ministers but it is true nonetheless.

In all fairness, the minister delivered an “Earth-Shaking” speech weeks ago on the occasion of the “National Economic Outlook Conference 2010-2011” organized by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).

He cogently talked of the stagnation of the last decade and the lost of competitiveness blaming it all to the economy being trapped in a low-income, low wage and low productivity structure. Just as we were about to believe that he may be the only star still shining in the BN’s darkness moment, our hope were rudely dashed.

His argument of placing us at par with those of developed nations with the introduction of GST was disturbingly shallow and completely misplaced. He cited that only three countries in the South-East Asian region do not practise this taxation system that is Malaysia, Brunei and Myanmar. “We need to change to ensure we stay in the best grouping”. What grouping Sir are we talking about now?

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) anti-GST taskforce, of which the writer is a member, claimed that Malaysians will have to bear an additional RM6.4 billion in taxes if the proposed new tax system comes into force.