The new government needs ample time to re-strategise and implement policy measures which include the abolition of toll and the goods and services tax (GST), says former International Trade and Industry Minister, Rafidah Aziz.
“The least that we can do, right now, is to help the prime minister. Mahathir is on the right track as these are the first few steps, and it is a very long track,” she told Bernama in an interview in Kuala Lumpur today.
Rafidah, now the chairperson of AirAsia X Bhd, said Mahathir and the group of people who are advising him with inputs from people, including herself about the strategic way forward, would come up (with something) in the near-term.
“The plan will be immediate, (as well as) medium-term context such as the GST. It’s not going to be tomorrow.
“We waited for 10 years for this (new government) to happen and you want it (the abolition) tomorrow, be realistic.
“You can’t undo something that has gone rotten in two days or even two months,” said emphasised.
She pointed out that the GST formula was not right and that's why people reacted negatively across the board, almost uniformly.
Hence the government would have to re-look at the formula again.
The value-added tax (VAT) and sales services tax (SST) (introduced years ago) do not entail double counting of the tax at the end, as people would just pay a minimal charge.
“We have to go with a formula that people have no problem with,” stressed Rafidah.
She explained that Malaysians were not paying six percent pro rata during the period of VAT and SST and nobody bothered at that time, "so the government should go back to that".
However, she explained that in the last few years when the GST was in place, a big chunk of government’s revenue went to unnecessary things with an expenditure that was not productive, subsidies that did not add value but rather to placate people to garner their votes.
She reiterated that policy changes have to be done carefully and that it would be a mistake to announce and redo policies, without in-depth study.