An opposition MP has asked if Prime Minister Najib Razak will admit to being dishonest about prices not going up after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“Before GST came into place, our government always tried to convince the people that the perception that GST would increase the cost of living is not right […].
“Both Najib and (then deputy finance minister) Ahmad Maslan got a slap in the face as the parliamentary reply from Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Hamzah Zainudin said the complete opposite of what they claimed,” said Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching.
She said Hamzah’s reply dated October 21 stated out of 446 items, prices of 350 in the peninsula, 283 in Sarawak and 304 in Sabah have increased since the tax was implemented in April.
“In other words, in average 70 percent of goods and service have experienced price hike,” said Teo.
The DAP lawmaker asked if Najib will now admit to his mistake and that the opposition’s warnings of the inflationary effects of GST was correct after all.
Ahmad last year had claimed that there would be no increase, after the implementation of the GST, in 48 percent of the goods while prices on 42 percent of the goods will drop, leaving only 10 percent of goods which would be more expensive.
Najib in his Budget 2015 speech also mentioned that of the 944 goods and services in the basket of goods of the CPI, the prices of 532 items or 56 percent are expected to reduce up to 4.1 percent.
“Only about 354 goods and services may experience some price increase but less than 5.8 percent,” said Teo, citing Najib’s budget speech made last year.
Teo, meanwhile, also reminded how opposition MPs had, before the implementation of the tax system, repeatedly warned Najib and his ministers not to underestimate the negative impact of the GST on the daily life of ordinary Malaysians.
“Too bad, our advice was not heeded. Instead, we were accused of twisting the truth on GST.
“However, it is evident that the real liar is Najib, not us.
"(So) will Najib [...] adopt the proposal of Pakatan Harapan’s alternative budget, where he should reduce the GST from 6 percent to zero percent, in order to ease the burden of the rakyat, who is already sufficiently burdened by the massive depreciation of the ringgit and toll hike?” asked Teo.
The GST had come into effect on April 1, this year.
Najib, in his Budget 2016 speech, announced that the government had collected RM21 billion under the GST scheme.